Rain and Your Wedding Day (Part 1)

You can’t ever really trust the Midwest when it comes to weather.

More than likely, you’ve been planning your wedding day for 12-18 months!   You’ve selected your dream ceremony and reception location(s) and let’s be honest, you have dreamt about this day for your entire life.  Rain wasn’t part of that dream, but girl, don’t you let it crush you!
The past two weekends have been filled with the craziest rainy days, and I photographed two beautiful weddings. Each one brought it’s own weather related challenges and unique situations! Both Saturday’s I approached my brides with the “what can I do to help” attitude. They hired me to photograph their wedding day, rain or not, so it was up to me to make sure things happened and I was able to do my job. Flexibility, forward thinking and just having fun were three of the main factors that played a role in both scenarios, but in different ways. Because of this, I thought it may be best to break of this post into 2 parts. Check back later in the week for Part 2 of Rain and your wedding day.

outdoor bridal party on a rainy wedding day

A Little Back Story

Abby and Spencer had planned a beautiful outdoor ceremony to take place at The Haseltine Estate in Springfield Missouri. The seating was to be around the pool and the vows exchanged under the poolside arbor. Earlier in the week, the forecast was not looking the greatest, so discussions began taking place for backup plans.  When the day arrived, the sky was dark and gloomy but there was no rain.
As I left my house that morning, heading to the venue a slow and steady drizzle began, you know the kind that’s just annoying enough to not need your wipers on, but you can’t not have them on either? As I pulled into Haseltine, the beautiful green of the grass was amazing. The rain had done it’s job as far as giving some moisture to the grounds and it was beyond beautiful.
The rain continued as the day progressed. Sometimes this type of rain is referred to as “spitting” but things were looking ok(ish). One of my favorite things about this venue is the variety of portrait locations, obviously the outdoor grounds are beyond stunning, but inside the estate, you’ll find tons and tons of natural light, white walls (that act as natural reflectors) and a beautiful staircase too.  The estate has, in my opinion the absolute best bridal suite for lighting in SWMO.  This was a definite plus on this rainy day!  You can find out more information on the bridal loft here.

Haseltine Estate Bridal Suite


A First Look may be a much needed game changer

Abby and Spencer had previously decided to have a private first look, which of course I love on any wedding day, but especially on a rainy one. Things just take a bit longer when it’s raining, what could take just a few minutes to walk out of a door, now involved different shoes, additional people to help carry the train of the dress and umbrellas. It’s ok, not a problem, just something to keep in mind! Making sure there is adequate additional time in each phase of the photo timeline on a rainy wedding day can be a life saver and help make things run smoothly!!! I can’t express how important it is think really consider this option for a rainy wedding day. Most professional photographers are so great at designing timelines, that even deciding to add this (if not previously planned) up until the day before the wedding would be no problem at all! Don’t get me wrong, I get tradition, but let’s be honest, your portraits are the visuals that will be shared with your family for generations, by choosing to add a first look on a rainy day, you are ensuring great portraits and a bit of additional time.


Dress care on a rainy day

This is one of the best tips I learned on my wedding day (circa 2002)
1- Grad a flat bed sheet, cut a hole large enough to step into in the center.
2- Have your bridesmaids carry the corners of the bed sheet.
This is great to keep the bottom of your dress clean from the wet dirt, but also works great on any wedding day. I used it to keep my dress clean from doorways and traveling on the party bus.

rainboots are great for a rainy wedding day

I’ve always heard it’s good luck for there to be rain on your wedding day but never knew why. Thanks to Andrea with Gracie’s Bridal for letting me know! They say it’s good luck to rain because it’s harder to break a wet knot. I wonder if Abby and Spencer knew of this as they tied their unity knot in the rain. (that’s kind of swoon worthy).

knot tying unity ceremony

Rain Rain and More Rain….be decisive.

Abby and Spencer were lucky enough to have a great day of coordinator for their wedding. Sarah, at Branson Party Rentals did a great job in keeping things running smoothly while doing a ton of little things behind the scenes in prepping for the ceremony and reception. About an hour and a half before the ceremony was to start, a decision had to be made about the ceremony taking place outdoor or indoor. Abby, the bride, decided to stick with the plan of an outdoor ceremony. The only direct change to plans was the ceremony spot needed to be moved from the pool area to a green space on the front lawn, which looked absolutely enchanting when finished!!!  The reception was planned to take place on the grounds in the back of the estate property.  More on the tent later, but it began transforming into magic too!

outdoor wedding ceremony in the rain

outdoor wedding reception tent


Make use of the spaces around you

haseltine estate wedding portraits

Use different locations at the wedding venue to provide different options for portraits on a rainy wedding day

Taking advantage of the venue, and it’s different options is even more critical on a rainy day!  As we moved through the first look, couples portraits, and bridal party, the rain continued. It varied from just a mist to a strong drizzle. I decided to make use of all of the different spaces available on the property, to look at things with “new eyes” so to speak. The front porch, the covered arbor, the indoor area. I used as much of the covered area as I could first and then finished up the portraits in the grass under the cover of trees and lastly in the open areas. This enabled us to have a varied look as far as settings and still capture the landscape of the estate. By having buffer time in there, we were able to finish up portraits a little earlier than planned, get all of the bridal party back inside to freshen up (and warm up) in plenty of time to be hidden from early arriving guests. As you can see, even after 45-60 minutes outside in the rain, Abby and her girls still looked amazing! Abby invested in airbrush make up on her wedding day. The benefits to airbrush make up are numerous, but even more so on a rainy day. “Airbrush is amazing in any climate, because of it’s stay-power….but especially great on rainy days because of it’s ability to practically “repel” rain drops. It’s water resistant and you’ll look flawless all night.” – Andie, Airbrush by Andie

rainy day wedding photos

It was actually raining in this moment, but the ladies looked so lovely!


Keep towels handy and good people around.

The thing about chairs….they take a while to set up, so keeping them dry when it is continuously drizzling outside is well, just not an option. By placing some towels around for guests to use before sitting down on their chairs is a great idea. Also, make sure to give the duty of wiping off the immediate families chairs to an usher or another person, as they will all be seated last at the beginning of the processional.
Upon arrival, mosts guests will be prepared by bringing a sweater or umbrella, but ensuring a dry chair will be a great addition to their comfort.  If it’s not clear to guests upon arrival, it may also be a great idea to have someone let them know as they are greeted, this will also give them some extra time to run back to their car if needed and not be disruptive to the ceremony.

Outdoor rainy wedding ceremonywhen it rains on your outdoor wedding ceremony

At this point in the day, I had that “You Go Girl” mantra going through my head. I was just so proud of Abby and Spencer! They wanted an outdoor wedding and so that is what they had! About half way through their ceremony…that drizzle we had been working with all day turned into a steady rain. Just as expected, hoods were pulled up from jackets, a few guests walked under the porch, but the majority just smiled and giggled, no big deal. Everyone was really “present” in what was happening in front of them. This is one of my favorite photos of Spencer and Abby’s ceremony. It’s literally RAINING, you can see the drops in the background, but this moment……it’s perfect.

outdoor rainy wedding ceremony
Abby and Spencer still looked AMAZING as there ceremony wrapped up and their guests were invited to the reception.

raining during outdoor wedding ceremony

A tent is a given, but portable heaters is genius!

Haseltine is WINNING the tent game! I’m sure this is a beauty for any evening reception, but on this rainy wedding day it not only provided cover from the rain, but much needed light! After the rain that came down during the ceremony, it was so wonderful to slip into te tent that included portable heaters. We were all dry and warmed back up within minutes! Great forward thinking on this issue!!!

clear outdoor tent for weddings

and one more thought on a rainy wedding day.

Just do it! If you want that sparkler exit, do it! If you’ve planned an outdoor ceremony, go with it! At the end of the day, you’ll have an amazing story to tell and YOU WILL BE MARRIED which is what it’s really all about!

take a look at this post about how to rock a sparkler exit!!!

you can still have a sparkler exit on a rainy wedding day

Some advice to think about

Umbrella and rainboots can often be used in that “cliche” picture found online somewhere, use this opportunity for your photographer to stretch his or herself as an artist and be confident that it’s taken care of!!    If you’ve seen it on pinterest, so have a million other people.  Stay away from those images and let something be created  for others to be inspired by instead of copying someone else’s work.  Also, photographers!  Be prepared to hand off your rain boots to your bride if needed ……which calls for purchasing an additional pair of hunter boots to keep on hand so you aren’t running around barefoot  🙂

rainy day tips for wedding photographers

Keep an eye out for Part 2 which will feature a whole new rainy situation to work with, brainstorming, being told NO and working with a supportive community.