When Do We Need to Decide if We're Going with Our Rain Plan?

Updated 10/20/16

Izzy Hudgins Photography

The last thing any bride wants is rain on her wedding day, but a well-prepared bride is a happy bride, which is why creating a rain plan with your vendors (and making sure you actually like your backup options!) is a key detail for any outdoor affair. If the clouds do start to roll in, you and your team will need to make a call and decide if you're going to risk it, or if the chance of a storm is high enough to push you indoors. But when, exactly? Here are a few expert tips to determine when you need to decide if you'll be going with your rain plan.

While you can't control the weather, there are a number of apps and services that will help give you a better idea of what the weather might look like throughout your wedding day. Of course, if there's an 80-100% chance of rain (especially right when you'll be outside), your best bet is to make the change early. This will give your vendors ample time to set up indoors and make sure that Plan B is just as fabulous as it would have been if the sun had been shining. You'll also have time to get used to the idea, so you'll be ready to get married instead of focusing on how much you wish you were outside.

For a smaller chance of rain, check with your venue to see when they need you to make the call. For some, that's 10 a.m. the morning of your wedding, while others (especially for a more simple change, such as moving cocktail tables indoors when you're already planning to have the reception inside) may be able to wait until the early afternoon. Familiarize yourself with their policy as you're making the backup plan, and trust that your team has you and your guests' best interests at heart. Yes, it would be great to pop back outside after the clouds clear, but if that fall rainstorm is going to drop the temperatures into the 40s, you'll be shivering instead of enjoying your time with your guests — doesn't being inside sound so much more fun?

And of course, if you have a tent reserved in case of rain, that's another schedule entirely. Yes, those tents can be assembled in a few hours, but remember that the tent needs to be up before any of the furniture or décor items are set up. This is a call you'll need to make either the night before your wedding or first thing in the morning. Our recommendation? If it looks like rain, bring in the tent. You'll be happy to have dry seats and tables when it's time for the party to start, as well as a means of holding in some heat should it cool off. And if the drizzle passes quickly? Have your team open up all the sides of the tent so your guests still get the fresh air and the views — even if the skies stay ominous.

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