Whether it’s a little sprinkle or a Category 5 Hurricane, there’s truly no right or wrong way to do a rainy wedding day—especially when your entire day-of checklist gets turned upside down. I spoke to four different Zola couples and got their own unique stories, sage advice, and creative ways of dealing with (and celebrating) the forecast. Spoiler alert: they all have the BEST, most romantic photos ever.
1. Alyssa & Dan, Albany, NY
About a week before the wedding, Hurricane Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm and heading toward Upstate New York, where our wedding venue was located. My parents live near the venue, and I’m so grateful for it—they were quickly able to put our rain plan into action. They worked with the rental company to not only confirm the tent, but also add tented walkways from the cocktail hour and ceremony tent to the main barn. Of course I was worried, but we just felt so fortunate that we weren’t one of the weddings completely devastated by the hurricane.
On the big day, our photographer was amazing. I’m so glad that we took the risk to venture outside the tent for photos (and that my hairdresser gave me a helmet of hairspray). It was worth it for the priceless, beautifully-lit photos. Even if it meant stepping through wet grass and mud.
The rain really brought a sense of closeness and community to our ceremony. Maybe our guests weren’t expecting to be huddled under the tent during the ceremony, but standing under the chuppah Dan and I felt surrounded by everyone’s love and support.
My thought is, it can rain on any day. Don’t let that stop you from having the wedding you want. Talk through rain plans with all vendors (venue, photographer, hairdresser, florist, etc.) because they will all be impacted. You will probably ruin your shoes. But I’m completely honest when I say, we wouldn’t have changed anything.
2. Barbara & Mandy, Boston, MA
Everyone reassured us it wasn’t going to rain, but my partner and I were pretty sure it would. About 10 minutes before the ceremony, it started to downpour.
Our venue has a great porch outside of the function room which is where they moved the ceremony. Our hair stayed in perfect place because we ended up inside and it was the perfect temperature. Our photographer was amazing, and the cloudy sky right before the rain was actually was the perfect lighting!
It ended up being an unbelievably intimate ceremony. Everyone gathered closely around us and our officiant instead of sitting back in chairs as we had planned. The rain in the background was beautiful, and a steeple of a little church rose up behind us.
A rainy wedding just makes for a memorable and unique time. We really think that our rain was lucky. My parents had rain for their wedding, and they have been together forever now.
3. Marissa & Donato, Asheville, NC
We got married at the end of a very bad hurricane season, and already had to change a bunch of other plans (bridal shower, dress fittings, etc.) because of Hurricanes Irma and Maria. I thought the season was over until we found out about Hurricane Nate a few days before our wedding. I thought, oh, it will never hit this area. But 48 hours before the wedding, we realized we needed to move everything indoors.
The best advice came from my little cousin who was hearing me lament about how beautiful the scenery “would have been” on a nice day. It was a destination wedding and I was so upset that the reality was going to be so different from my vision. But she made me realize that the only one who had that idealized picture in my head was me. No one else was coming in with the same expectations. And I thought of all the people who were impacted by Irma and Maria whose weddings were completely cancelled. Homes were lost. A little rain isn’t so bad.
At the venue, we had to bring the whole ceremony indoors. There was a nice fireplace in the reception barn that we were able to use as the backdrop. After the ceremony, we put everyone under a tent, flipped the ceremony into the reception, and brought everyone back inside. Our florist also did a great job decorating the tent—she hung suspended flowers from the inside peaks of the tent and gave it some romantic lighting.
Everyone was forced to be together in a small space, instead of spread out, so it really brought everyone closer. The ladies weren’t afraid to pick up their dresses and get a little wet. Donato and I went out there in the rain for pictures and everyone was cheering us on. If you’re happy, laughing, and loving your day, your guests will too!
4. Emily & David, New York, NY
Some of our closest friends and family (who had the best intentions!), checked the weather report every day leading up to our wedding. I wish I had done a better job of tuning that out, because that was as stressful as the impending storm itself.
My husband was the calm during the storm, literally. He reminded me every day that our wedding was going to be beautiful in the sun, rain, or snow. I also had an amazing photographer who convinced me that wedding photos are even more dreamy in the rain, and he was totally right! We did have to make a ton of changes for our big day, though. We had to rent extra heat lamps, procure an extra tent to cover the outdoor space during our cocktail hour, and move the location where we were going to have our first look.
When I woke up on our wedding day I couldn't have cared less if it was 80 degrees or below 30 (it was below 30). I woke up smiling and happy because it was our wedding day. Nothing could get me down. I would say to all of the wedding guests out there that the most annoying thing you can ever say to a rainy-day couple is that it's good luck to have rain on your wedding day. It’s not good luck. Every couple hopes to get married on a radiant, sunny day. But my advice to other couples is that the weather is going to be what it is going to be—the show must go on!
Jennifer Spector is the Director of Brand Strategy and Newlywed-At-Large at Zola, the wedding company that will do anything for love