What if it rains on my wedding day?

A smiling bride walking to the church in pouring rain with umbrellas held over her

A WET WEATHER WEDDING DAY?

What is one of the things that couples worry about most when planning their wedding? That ultimate British weather issue: what if it rains? Nobody wants a wet weather wedding day. But you’ll still have the best day ever, whatever the weather throws at you! You just need to put a few plans in place.

Wet weather is often something that couples dread. With the unpredictability of the weather, it’s definitely something to put some thought into. But a rainy wedding day really isn’t a disaster. In 2017, Jenny and Dave’s River Cottage wedding turned out to be one of my most memorable ever. This was thanks to some rather extreme weather, and it wouldn’t have been the same without it. It’s the most wonderful story, and you can read all about it below.

I’ve had rainy weddings in July and August, and I’ve had beautiful dry and sunny days in February and November. You never really know what sort of day you are going to get. So it does make sense to have a think through what the weather could throw at you. If you make sure that you have some back up plans in place, then you can relax and not worry.

Bride and groom laughing in the rain together at night

Firstly, and most importantly! I have photographed numerous wet and rainy weddings, and it has never remotely spoiled things. They have all been the most wonderful celebrations, filled with all the love and happiness that you would expect. The main point of the day will remain the same. You are marrying the person that you love more than anything else. You are celebrating this with all the people that matter most to you in the whole world. Trust me – a little bit of wet weather can’t touch this!

A flower girl frowning at the rain on a wet weather wedding day.

It obviously makes sense to have some plans in place for bad weather. Having a plan in place, in case it rains on your wedding day, means that you can relax. This is something that you can talk through with your wedding venue, and think about yourselves. It could be anything from alternative indoor spaces, to piles of umbrellas and warm rugs for your guests. I’ve photographed outdoor ceremonies in the rain before, with guests bravely watching from under their brollies! And I’ve had couples decide to ditch the outdoors and move everything inside instead.

It’s your day, and you can decide how best to make it all work. It might not be the weather that you were hoping for, but honestly, it’s still going to be a completely amazing day.

Bride and flower girls getting ready for wedding, watching the rain outside

PHOTOGRAPHY IN THE RAIN

The question that I get asked the most is, of course, what will happen with my photography on the day? If the weather is bad, then how will this affect the photographs? This is what I really want to chat through here. And basically, for most of the day it really won’t make any difference at all. My photography is very documentary based. I’ll still just capture everything that is taking place in exactly the same way as I usually would. If you do have rain on your wedding day, then it will be a brilliant part of your wedding story, and I will photograph this. You’ll still have all the laughs, all the emotional moments, all the wonderful celebrations. Your photographs will still be an incredible record of the best day of your life.

Usher waiting under an umbrella in the pouring rain
A bride arriving for her rainy day wedding, smiling in the wedding car.

PLANNING FOR GROUP PHOTOS

There are a couple of things that are worth thinking through in terms of wet weather. Planning for any group photos, and for your couple portraits.

For group photos, it’s always good to have an indoor back up if at all possible. I’ll always talk this all through with you before the wedding day. That way, we know that even in the worst case scenario, we have a plan. There is almost always somewhere indoors that will work. This could be in the marquee, or a different building, or in a corner of the area you are using for drinks. Or maybe a sheltered outdoor area. We can be creative with the available space.

One of the wettest weddings I have ever photographed was in one long barn. All the guests were squashed into the bottom of the barn having drinks, and there was absolutely no possibility of getting outside in the torrential downpour. The only space we had available was between the long reception tables. They were already laid for the wedding breakfast! But we squeezed the lines of people between them and made it work.

At Thomas and Leonora’s day, we were battling with Storm Brian. We had to keep stopping and starting group photos to avoid the fast moving showers. You can see the beginnings of the next rain starting in the photo below. At this point, we all popped inside for a while and waited until it had passed before resuming the group shots!

A wedding group photograph at a wet weather wedding

The reality is that it rarely rains non-stop all day. Most wet weather weddings have a mixture of drier spells between showers. I’m always happy to be flexible with timings, and we can usually get those group photos outside at some point. At Lucy and Scott’s wedding (below), it was still drizzling during the drinks reception. They all decided to get the wellies on and just go for it anyway, with much laughter. It’s still one of my favourite wedding group shots ever, and I’m sure they love it too.

A group photo with the bride and groom with their wedding party all wearing wellies and laughing.

COUPLE PORTRAITS

When it comes to creating some relaxed portraits of you both as a couple, we have lots of options. There are usually breaks in the rain, and it’s often just worth being patient and waiting for the best moment to get outside. Wet weather isn’t all bad: I absolutely love the quality of the light just after the rain. Everything is glistening and saturated with colour, and the skies can be really spectacular. It can all elevate your wedding photos to some really incredible portraits.

A bride and groom together in a kitchen garden surrounded by flowers and plants.
A bride and groom smiling in a garden with champagne in their hands
Bride and groom walking down a hill in a sunset after a wet weather wedding.

It also might be a good time to find an alternative option. We can look at creating some indoor portraits instead, which will have a very different feel to them. It’s always nice to make the most of the inside of your venue as well as outdoors anyway. I’ll always have a think through the spaces in advance so that I know what options we have if it’s too wet outside.

Bride and groom walking down a grand staircase
Indoor portraits of a bride and groom and their dog, with rain outside

If you are feeling brave, then it’s always worth just grabbing an umbrella, and embracing the weather for your photographs! If you’ve had a wet weather wedding then it’s actually really lovely to see this reflected in your images. A rainy wedding day can make for some unusual and really special wedding portraits.

A bride and groom in high winds and rain on Dartmoor
A bride and groom by a stormy sea front at Sidmouth
A bride and groom portrait when there is rain on your wedding day
A bride and groom walking through muddy puddles holding hands at a wet weather wedding
A rainy wedding day portrait, with a couple kissing in the dark, in heavy rain, with two large trees lit up behind them.

JENNY & DAVE’S WET WEATHER OUTDOOR CEREMONY

So, to go back to Jenny and Dave, and their July wedding at River Cottage. It was one of the most memorable ceremonies I have ever photographed, and it was all down to some spectacular weather on the day.

I knew how massively excited Jenny and Dave were about their outdoor ceremony, because they’d talked so much about it. Jenny was particularly looking forward to walking through the sweet peas in full bloom to arrive at her ceremony in the kitchen garden. She talked to me about how important this was to them both. They had actually picked their wedding date especially to coincide with the best blooming time for the flowers.

Except that when the wedding day arrived, it happened to be a particularly showery July day. In fact, there were more showers than sunshine. So suddenly this left a great big question mark over the feasibility of the outdoor ceremony.

As I arrived for the ceremony, I was really delighted to see them setting up outside. Dave was being brave, if a little worried, watching the sky and just hoping that they would get away with it.

Jenny arrived, absolutely delighted to see that they were going to be outside. She walked through the kitchen garden with her father as planned. They headed through the beautiful sweet pea archway to where Dave was waiting, and it was utterly beautiful. I think I probably cried a bit at this point.

Bride and her father walking through the kitchen garden at River Cottage.
Bride walking through sweet peas to her outdoor wedding ceremony
Bride and groom smiling at each other during an outdoor wedding ceremony

Halfway through the ceremony, I stepped back to take a wide shot of the whole scene. I remember thinking that it looked a bit ominously cloudy. In fact, sort of hazy and wet looking across the valley.

An outdoor humanist ceremony in the kitchen garden with rain clouds in the sky.
An outdoor wedding ceremony with rain starting to fall

There was a moment where I think the celebrant was suggesting the weather was closing in. And then a wall of rain hit us. All etiquette went out of the window, as guests just ran for cover. There might even have been screaming.

Wedding guests running away from an outdoor ceremony in the pouring rain
A wet weather wedding with guests running away from the ceremony in the pouring rain
A wet weather wedding with guests running away from the ceremony in the pouring rain
Rain on your wedding day with the celebrant running for cover through rain

I had to grab my camera bag and run with everyone else, whilst also trying to catch a bit of the chaos. The rain was so powerful that I couldn’t even see through the viewfinder. I remember the feel of my fingers slipping on all the camera buttons. But I’m so pleased that I carried on taking photos at this point, despite the difficulties. These images make me smile every time I look at them.

This image of Jenny and Dave making a run for it is completely out of focus, as I simply couldn’t get a grip on the camera. I totally love it, as it really gives you an idea of just how frantic that moment was!

Bride and groom running for shelter in the pouring rain at a wet weather wedding ceremony

AFTER THE RAIN

There was just a huge and confused scramble. All the guests ended up sheltering in different buildings, and there was half an hour of hilarious chaos. Meanwhile the wonderful celebrant whizzed around and reorganised everyone. All the while Jenny just kept on smiling.

Bride and wedding guests laughing indoors

Eventually, everyone was retrieved from the different buildings, and finally reorganised into the barn. It was already half set up for the wedding meal, but guests perched along the sides of the dining tables. Jenny and Dave made their way across from the farmhouse to continue their ceremony.

Wedding guests under umbrellas on a rainy wedding day
Bride and groom smiling under an umbrella on a rainy wedding day

Everybody cheered and clapped them into the room, and I cried, because it was such an wonderful moment. Jenny and Dave finished their ceremony inside, and didn’t stop smiling throughout the whole thing. It was utterly amazing, and one of the most memorable wedding ceremonies I have had the pleasure of photographing. The wet weather just made everything more special.

Wedding guests clapping and cheering
A bride and groom smiling and walking through cheering guests
Bride and groom smiling at each other during their wedding ceremony
A wedding ceremony with guests sitting on long tables
Bride and groom with huge smiles during their wedding ceremony
A bride and groom amongst sweet peas in a kitchen garden

Their day was always going to be wonderful, but the rain and the interruption to the ceremony gave them something extra special. It added to an event that they will never forget, and I’m sure everyone was talking about for months afterwards. Here I am, years later, still smiling at the memories. That was the thing that really stood out for me. Jenny and Dave just kept on smiling the whole way through it, and that made all the difference. Wet weather wedding or not, it was utterly perfect.

So just remember – it’s your wedding day, it’s going to be completely epic, whatever the weather does. Even if you imagined and planned for a perfect sunny day… but the weather throws something completely unexpected at you. It will still be utterly amazing. You are marrying your favourite person and that genuinely is all that matters. So don’t worry what the weather will do – your day will be completely wonderful no matter what the sky delivers.

It’s entirely possible that you might have a wet weather wedding; there isn’t anything you can do to prevent it. But it really doesn’t matter if it rains on your wedding day. So embrace it, keep smiling and carry on having the best day of your life. And don’t forget – where there is rain, there are often rainbows too…

A bride and groom walking through a rose garden with a rainbow above them on a wet weather wedding day.

If you have booked me for your wedding then we will certainly have a chat through wet weather options. We’ll make sure that we all know what we are doing if it does rain on your wedding day. But please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any concerns about it. I’d love to hear from you!

I’ve also rounded up a few other useful links for you here to have a look at:

Devon Wed Magazine: Planning for a Wet Wedding

The Knot: How to Prepare for Rain on Your Wedding Day

Matthew Oliver Weddings: Preparing for Rain On Your Wedding Day

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HELEN LISK PHOTOGRAPHY

 

01392 927646

 

Exeter, Devon

 

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