You’re getting married outdoors. All is sunny and grand, and your guests are smiling and happy when suddenly a rolling dark cloud comes in and starts pouring on your friends and family. What happens next? Are you prepared for potential rain or have you thought this through? Many couples want to be confident in the weather, which in most cases works out – but WEATHER you like it or not (ha!) it’s always best to be prepared for the unpredictability of mother nature, especially if you plan on having a live band. April showers bring May flowers, but with a day this important you should plan for every weather possibility in whatever season you choose. After being a part of so many wonderful events, we’re here to give some pointers on how to throw an incredible outdoor wedding, rain or shine.
Some of the best advice we’ve heard is to not check on the weather the week of your wedding. Weather can change at any time and, as we all know, weather apps are rarely accurate until the day before. If you’re constantly refreshing a weather app, it could create a lot of unnecessary stress. Instead, have a plan in place for sun or storms and designate a friend or family member to follow the weather and implement your alternate plan if needed. Things usually work out and your wedding is going to be the best day of your life no matter what the weather is. Walking down the aisle surrounded by family and friends, you’ll realize there was no reason to stress about it beforehand!
Move your wedding indoors
This is the easiest option if your venue has an indoor space. In the NYC area we have no shortage of gorgeous indoor venues, and even more with fantastic indoor and outdoor spaces at the same venue. Moving your wedding indoors eliminates pretty much all of the issues you’d face weather-wise with having your wedding outdoors.
This isn’t to say either that you can’t take photos or have memories outside! Running out with your new spouse in the rain or getting a photo with your bridal party in fur stoles is a great way to bring the outdoors into your wedding day without subjecting your guests to sitting uncomfortably for an hour during your ceremony.
Look into renting a tent. Tents are great for shade coverage from the heat and sun as well as being sturdy enough to withhold rain and winds. They’re an essential backup plan and still offer an outside feel. While we love a rom-com kiss in the rain, seeing your guests run for cover isn’t as romantic. Your older guests will especially appreciate the gesture even on a sunny day. Tents are also great for your live entertainers to perform under. Anything that needs to be plugged in, including our instruments and sound gear, is not equipped for rainy conditions; so we do appreciate when couples plan and have coverage of some sort ready to go.
Make sure that your venue, planner, caterer, florist, photographer, and band are on the same page with a backup plan that everyone agrees on, whether it’s to move under a tent or a nearby indoor space. If the sky decides to open, we’ll know where to relocate to keep the event running smoothly.
If the weather is looking iffy, let your guests know about your plan B so they can prepare ahead of time on what to bring to feel comfortable throughout the celebration. Sunscreen is great if you plan on having your ceremony in an open area where all of your guests are seated in direct sunlight. If there is a chance of rain, providing ponchos and umbrellas could also be extremely useful. Save money by renting these items or get fancy with monogrammed goodies your guests can take home! Also, keep in mind that when the ground is wet, it could get slippery! Provide alternative shoes like flip-flops for your guests so they can keep dancing the night away while avoiding any slips or falls.
A longer cocktail hour, live getting-ready music, or brunch the next day (if your musician is available of course!) are all options to still use your booked time with a musician, but indoors or when the weather is more suitable. I’ve done all of these options depending on the event, and it’s a great way to still bring some of the magic of hiring a live musician to your special day.
Use custom-recorded tracks
We’ve done this option too in a pinch when the weather was just too cold for me to be outside for the ceremony. The bride and groom both walked down the aisle to their original song selections, only played through a speaker than me “live”. The tracks were custom-recorded for them the day before and they were able to have their ceremony outside still. Then guests rushed inside after the ceremony to warm up and I was ready to go for their cocktail hour.
Wirelessly connect to outdoor speakers
If the indoor and outdoor spaces are relatively close, another option is to have a wireless microphone set up on the harp indoors and the speakers outdoors. This way you’re still getting the experience of live music, only in a way that’s more comfortable for your performer to play.
When it comes to your wedding day, your vendors are on your side. We not only want to protect the investment in my instruments (whose up-front and maintenance costs are similar to a car, but with no financing available) but your investment in your wedding! Planning a party as big as a wedding isn’t cheap, so having backup plans and hiring professional vendors are just two ways to protect your investment. I would much rather opt for a backup plan for one of my couples than stick through it and be worried about my strings or soundboard breaking during the middle of your ceremony. A distracted, stressed-out vendor isn’t going to perform as well as one who isn’t battling the elements, which ultimately means a better outcome for you too!
Don’t forget to enjoy the moment and make the most of it if it does rain! Rain is considered good luck for a lasting marriage AND it makes for super cute photos! Get transparent umbrellas and take a stroll with your photographer. Or if you’re feeling daring, splash around in a puddle. You will look back on these photos and have fun memories knowing that you were prepared but willing to have fun with it regardless.
Weather can be unpredictable but just remember, whether it’s rain or shine, always be prepared and commit to enjoying your special day and making the best memories with your loved ones and friends