Tips for Rainy Day Outdoor Events

'It's like raaa-aaa-aaainnn on your wedding day…'

Article by Julie Brown Patton

Photography by Crystal Schroppe/Jenna Grace Photography

Originally published in Lake Murray Lifestyle

Dance in the rain and claim those special outdoor events. And, oh...get epic photos! 

Beautiful events, especially weddings, can be blessed with rain. Why not leverage the situation to an advantage? Lake Murray Lifestyle asked recent new bride Alex how she handled preparing for and managing an outdoor wedding on her way to becoming Mrs. Brian Hill. Following are her recommendations. 

You just planned an outdoor wedding. What tips do you have for preparing ahead for outdoor/weather-related events? 
Although easier said than done, it's all about being flexible, going with the flow, and having a lot of faith. Choosing a venue that has indoor and outdoor options is definitely an advantage. That way if Plan A doesn't work out, you at least have options for a Plan B. If going for an outdoor event, a tent is a must, at least have one on standby if the weather isn't looking promising. Having a great vendor team is what made all the difference for us. We had a day-of coordinator who made quick decisions on the fly and kept our best interest in mind. Our photographers were also super flexible and creative with finding good light and photo locations.

What can hosts/hostesses do to encourage guests to make the most of surprise weather aspects? 
Just keeping in mind the meaning of the day and trusting that it will work out. We met with our planner the week of, went through different "if" scenarios, and we fully trusted her to handle whatever came our way on the day of. 

How important is it to check the weather forecast? And how often? 
Well, we checked it more than we want to admit, but the hard thing is that it constantly changes. I know our vendors kept a close eye on the forecast as well. It eventually came to the point where we stopped looking, and just hoped for the best. Either way, we were getting married, rain or shine! 

What can people do to work with their vendors to stay flexible/adaptable when weather changes one's plans? 
Communication and planning are key. Voice your opinions, plans, etc. Make sure vendors know what may be "deal breakers" or "must-haves" during your event. Certain things may need to be sacrificed due to inclement weather, but if there are certain details that you can't go without, make sure a key person knows.

Did you have a plan B ahead of time with the location you chose and how detailed were those plans? 
We had a Plan B. It wasn't a perfect plan but it at least gave us options if we needed to execute them. Having a tent was a lifesaver. We also had very kind vendors, family and friends who were willing to wipe down ceremony chairs before the start of the ceremony. Our officiant and day-of coordinator were checking the radar, and we had a slight delay for the ceremony. Once they saw a brief clearing on the radar, they decided it was "go time" and we were able to have *most* of the ceremony without rain. Some of the reception was moved inside, but overall, it went according to plan.

How can you use rain to get creative photos? 
Our photographers were fantastic. They braved the rain to help us get some memorable photos including the ones with the cute, clear umbrellas.

What type of playful techniques can be incorporated when weather changes the course of special events? 
Communicating with vendors and getting them on board to help is key. Our DJ was amazing. Because we were supposed to have an outdoor reception, he set up his station under a tent (just in case), speakers, etc., as if the day was going to be clear. But once the rain came in, it worked out better than we imagined because he had already set up additional speakers inside just in case. He truly was an MVP because he was DJ-ing outside under the tent, while we were dry inside....all because of the extra speakers he had set up in advance. Thankfully, the weather later subsided and we got to join him and dance outside on the patio. 

Other tips from Alex:

If you're set on an outdoor venue space, ask a lot of questions. Make sure you know what your indoor options are. Be sure to ask about tent placement as well. Some venues only allow tents of certain sizes or only allow them in certain areas. For instance, our venue would not let us use stakes in the area we wanted the tent, so instead, we had to use the weighted water barrels. Not a big deal, but something we learned along the way. In the end, it's all about celebrating with your special family and friends, so it's important to remind yourself to live in the moment. Enjoy every part of the day because it goes by so fast!!!

Tips for Rainy Day Outdoor Events

  • Rent clear-top tent for open-air events in the rain. 
  • Secure boots to wear as part of the 'I got this' uniform.
  • Enlist the help of close friends with towels to stay dry. 
  • Keep guests comfortable, and they will follow the leads to still have fun. 
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