Thursday, December 10, 2009

Real Wedding Inspiration: Rain on Your Big Day?

While I’m a summer girl at heart, I love the richness and beauty of fall weddings. A couple months ago, Stephen and I headed to what should have been a lovely outdoor reception at a country farm in Maryland. Sadly, the fall beauty I love so much was totally washed out by pouring rain and freezing temperatures!

But thanks to some quick thinking by the groom’s family, everyone still managed to stay warm and dry while having a good time. Here, their tips for salvaging an outdoor wedding when rain and cold put a damper on things, plus a few photos of fun ideas for any country reception – rain or shine.

· Put together a backup plan in advance. It may sound obvious, but to avoid any hang-ups the day of the celebration, our friend’s family made just-in-case arrangements with a tenting company well ahead of time. That way, when the weather didn’t cooperate the morning of the event, all they had to do was make one quick call.

The pros came right over, set up a spacious tent on a cemented (not muddy) surface, and even outfitted it with plenty of heaters and cute twinkle lights. Had the bride and groom waited until that morning, or even the day before, to research shelter options, things might not have worked out as easily.

For simple, casual favors, the groom’s parents had yellow tumblers printed with Jamie and Laura’s names, along with a message of love from family and friends.

· Avoid a waterlogged parking area. One way to quickly ruin everyone’s fun is for guests to show up with wet, mud-covered feet. Since parking in the middle of soggy fields wouldn’t have been pleasant, the family instead asked guests to park at a nearby train station. They rented a van, stuck a (waterproof) “Wedding Taxi” sign on the door, and graciously shuttled guests to and from the farm.

Vine-adorned tiers of desserts, including red velvet, white chocolate and pumpkin cupcakes, added a homey touch.

· Rethink the menu. The couple’s cocktail hour lineup of sangrias and veggie appetizers was quickly reworked to feature hot chocolate with peppermint and marshmallows, plus creamy, warm crab dips. And when the supply of insulated paper cups ran out, the family improvised with sets of mugs they planned to get rid of anyway. The mismatched mugs were cute and colorful against the backdrop of such a gray day, and guests got to take them home as extra wedding favors.

Lantern centerpieces and LED candles created a soft glow against the yellow table linen.

· Keep people moving! The DJ’s fun mixes of high-energy country and rock music helped us warm up, or at least forget how cold we really were. In the end, I guess we still enjoyed a great fall wedding – even if the weather felt more like winter!

A wedding ceremony slideshow played in the background as guests danced the night away in the barn.

Do you have any rainy day rescue ideas or stories to share? Are you worried it will rain on your wedding day?

(Photo Credits: Stephen Walrath & Heather Warren)


  1. Great tips! I am worried about rain as well, so this post is wonderful in terms of thinking about how to prepare for it. It even rained at a wedding I attended last June in Northern California (almost a 0 percent chance of rain during the summer months). So these are actually tips that everyone can use!

  2. Thanks for sharing all those great tips! We need to talk to our venue about a back up incase it rains (slim but you never know right!). So helpful!

  3. While I think every bride fears the possibility of inclement weather on their wedding day, my hope is that the almanac will hold true to history and we won't have to worry about it. Our venue manager told us that even the few times they have gotten rain in April at their site it was only for a brief shower that didn't interrupt the wedding festivities for long if at all. Many prayers, but also some thoughts on a backup plan.

  4. We have an interior area for the ceremony, and the reception is inside, so happily, we don't have to worry about rain too much. That said, I think rain can still be really annoying in terms of not being able to take pictures outside, trouble driving, getting from home to wedding without ruining the dress, etc, so I am really hoping that we'll have a sunny, warm labor day weekend next year!

  5. Thanks for the tips! Unfortunately, we don't have much of a back up plan in case of rain (I'm keeping my fingers crossed). There is no interior space for us to move into, so the ceremony would have to take place under the reception tent instead of in the sunken garden. And then they would have to do a switcheroo during the cocktail hour in order to have things set up for dinner and dancing. Quite a hassle if you ask me!

  6. I am trying not to think about rain, although it's more likely to be heat wave for our wedding. Crossing my fingers for blue skies...