Planning for Inclement Weather: What to Do if Your Wedding Venue Doesn’t Have an Indoor Space

A bride and groom under an umbrella on a rainy wedding day

Having rain on your wedding day may be ironic (thanks Alanis), but it doesn’t have to mean that the day is ruined. In fact, many people think it’s good luck for it to rain on your wedding day, and some cultures associate rain with fertility, cleansing, or a sense of renewal. However, if you’ve planned for an outdoor wedding at a venue that has no indoor space, it can be kind of a bummer when you’re starting to see storm clouds on your wedding day forecast.

Although it can be easy to do—don’t panic. Here’s everything you need to do to plan for inclement weather on your wedding day.

Talk to Your Venue

If your venue is completely outdoors, then they probably have contingency plans in place for inclement weather. Consult your contract to see if there’s any guidance on what to do in case it rains, or call your venue coordinator to check in and see what your Plan B should entail.

They may have an indoor space that’s available for an extra fee, or have a tent available for rental just in case the weather doesn’t let up.

A bride and groom under a clear umbrella while looking at a lake

Stock Up on Rainy Day Gear

If it’s going to rain on the day of your wedding, you might as well be prepared with some cute gear. Stock up on umbrellas, rain boots, and jackets for you and the wedding party to keep your dresses and suits as dry as possible. This can also be an opportunity to introduce a pop of color into your wedding day look (plus, it will look adorable in photographs).

Try to search for a clear umbrella for you and your fiancé(e) so that you can still see your faces in photographs, even when you’re outside.

Have a Plan for Photographs

Unless it’s a full-on storm of the century, you’re probably going to have opportunities throughout the day when the rain will stop temporarily. You may not have planned to see each other before the ceremony, but if it’s your only opportunity to take photographs then your plans may need to change accordingly.

Talk to your photographer to come up with a contingency plan in case it turns out to be rainy all day long. If they’ve worked your venue before then they’ll likely have some ideas that will work in case of bad weather.

If the weather doesn’t seem to let up for most of the day, it’s also wise to just embrace it. There’s really nothing cuter than a rainy wedding day shoot with sweet couples sharing an umbrella, cuddling to keep warm, and kissing under a gray sky. It might not have been what you imagined, but it may be even better than you expected.

Evening outdoor wedding reception under a tent

Rent a Tent for the Reception

You may have had a vision of your guests dancing underneath the stars during your reception, but cloudy skies and heavy rains can change those plans pretty quick. The best way to still have your reception outside but stay dry is to go with the tried and true method of an outdoor tent rental.

Before you call the tent rental company, check with your venue to see if they allow it on their grounds (or if they have a tent available on site for an extra fee). Once you find out you have permission, call as soon as possible to secure the rental. In fact, if you’re planning an outdoor-only ceremony and reception, it’s usually best to have a tent on standby just for peace of mind. If you don’t end up using it, you may get a portion of your money back on the rental.

Stall the Wedding Time

Weddings rarely run on time, so it wouldn’t be the end of the world if you had to wait the storm out for an hour or two. Watch the weather and see if stalling the ceremony and reception would be a possibility. Be sure, however, that you’re checking in with your vendors to keep them informed of any time changes.

It also might be a good idea to swap the order of things if it makes sense. If you had planned to have an outdoor cocktail hour after the wedding but the forecasts are showing rain until morning, you should have the cocktail hour first and then the reception underneath a tent.

The important thing to remember is to be flexible. Your plans can be altered and you can still have a great, memorable day.

A dog holding an umbrella and wearing rain boots

Keep Guests Informed if You Need to Postpone or Move the Venue

On the rare occasion that the weather is so bad you need to postpone or move the venue, you should keep your guests informed of any changes. Update your website to reflect the changes or have family members and friends spread the word through a series of texts.

Work with your venue and vendors on coordinating any postponement or venue moves. Be sure to consult your vendor contracts to see what kind of policies are in place for cancellations or postponements.

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