They say it's lucky for it to rain on your wedding day. Legend has it, you'll be cleansed from sadness and turmoil and be washed anew as you venture into your newly-wed life. And as such, you'll be blessed with children and a marriage that lasts the long haul. Who doesn't want that?
However, rain seems less like a blessing and more like a curse on the day itself. All the guests, the cake, the flowers, the food, the dress, the sun-kissed magic hour photographs you'd pinned to your boards for months . . . washed away.
There's no greater stress from day one of planning your wedding all the way up to the morning of than the prospect of foul weather on your big day.
I've photographed couples for 18 + years. Every single clients asks me how we'll handle rain. I remind them that no matter what the weather, I'm ready. As long as they're ready, we'll have a magical day.
What your wedding photographer probably won't tell you is that inclement weather makes for the best and most dramatic photographs. A gentle wind, a spritz of rain, a dreamy snowscape all set for an amazing scene. A torrential downpour, ice / sleet storm, or gale force winds . . . maybe not so much.
So, how do you approach a rainy / snowy wedding day? With humor. With grace. With flexibility. And by planning a few important things in advance.
We'll work with your wedding planner and the venue coordinator to scout out a location within the venue itself . . . doorways, vestibules, atriums, breezeways, tunnels, bridges, etc. that make great portrait spots. We can hide under canopies, duck beneath trees, cozy up along a "drier" wall. All I need to create stunning natural light photos is access to natural light. During our optional venue walkthrough before the wedding day, we'll identify "safe spaces" in case this should come to pass.
Umbrellas make great props and can really save the day! Even on a perfectly sunny day, they're great for framing faces and diffusing light. The best first choice is a simple oversized clear umbrella. Also, consider buying a BULK SET of umbrellas for the entire wedding party (and guests) to share. Colorful or "personalized" umbrellas may be cute but really distract from the subjects' face(s), though I do like the clear ones with "Just Married" or "Mr. & Mrs." or "Love is in the Air." If you don't have a clear umbrella, white works well as it diffuses but allows light to pass through. If all else fails, a black portable umbrella will do the job.
What better way to say "winter wedding" than with a beautiful white fur stole? I'm "faux fur" in principal, but I wore on my great grandmother's mink stole that she purchased (and monogramed) from J.L. Hudson in 1925 on my own October wedding day. It's a beautiful way to glam up when the temperature drops down. Anything that covers up your dress, shoulders, and potentially your hair is a good choice. Even if it doesn't rain, we can drape fabrics over elbows and upper arms to beautifully frame your shoulders and neck. Even for a warmer weather day, consider investing in an inexpensive jacquard shawl for a rainy day and make it your "something blue."
I have a special pair of "shoot boots" that I wear on every rainy day shoot. They're waterproof yet stylish and I'm not heartbroken if they get a little muddy or scuffed. Consider investing in a pair of shoot boots of your own for your rainy (or snowy) wedding day. Either invest in a super cool stylish pair (as seen by my bride below for her winter wedding at Kirkbride Hall) or go the opposite direction and consider a pair of cheap throw-away ballet flats. Practicality matters when your in the rain. As amazing as those Jimmy Choo Silver Romy 100 stilettos look, no one looks awesome after slipping and falling fin the mud.
For that matter, consider a whole second wardrobe for your rainy wedding day shoot. It's a guarantee that if you venture out in the rain, your dress will be a mud and rain-spattered mess. Honestly, as long as your portraits are after the ceremony, this won't really matter in the end. But be prepared that it may turn into a "trash the dress" shoot whether you intend for it to or not.
Consider arranging for a limo, golf carts, or a trolley to be available in event of a rainy day, especially if your bridal party or guests have to walk long distances or travel between venues. If you need to be more nimble or don't have access to other modes, consider asking a friend (not part of the wedding party) to escort you around for a bit. This allows quick stops and reduces time spent in the rain. Plus, having transportation right after the ceremony alleviates the need for a "DD" and lets the party get underway!
Whatever comes your way on your wedding day, remember that life is an adventure! Your wedding will be beautiful and memorable as much as for the things that don't go as planned as for the details that fall perfectly in place. Live and laugh.
Having the right outlook is far more important than the right forecast. As a seasoned professional, I'm used to working in all types of weather conditions. Nothing fazes me. My heavy-duty professional gear can handle whatever comes our way and I'm ready to brave the day. With a willing spirit and "go-with-the-flow" attitude, you're love will show through no matter what.
All content Copyright © Karen Lippowiths