5 Things to do when RAIN threatens your wedding day
OK, there aren't too many little girls who dream of growing up, meeting a prince and having their perfect wedding in a howling, rain-swept scene from THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW. But we live in the UK. Let's be pragmatic. Maybe back in the day when your parents were married you could guarantee a balmy, sunny day in July; but in 2018 the polar ice caps are melting, extreme weather is on the increase, evil corporations rule the world and we're all doom...hang on...I'm getting ahead of myself.
It’s not the end of the world – bad weather – no matter how disappointing it may seem. As a wedding photographer in the beautiful country of Scotland, over the past 10 years I’ve seen my fair share of dramatic weather. Here are a few tips, mainly from a photography perspective, to get you through relatively unscathed.
1. Prepare for war
Have a backup plan: So, seeing as this is a non-sugar-coated guide for a realistic wedding day situation, then let’s first take a look at the worst case scenario – ‘The Total Washout’. Sometimes it’s just not going to go your way and you’ll need a plan B. Speak to your venue about the possibility of taking photographs inside, in particular check that there is enough space for any group photos you may want. If you do venture outside you’re probably going to need RAIN TOOLS. By this I mean:
. flat/ waterproof footwear - wellies are absolutely fine and if you so desire, can be decorated to taste ;-)
. umbrellas – likewise, customisable if you wish
. waterproof and easily donned overcoat/ poncho/ leather jacket/ cagoule/ etc etc.
And don’t forget your guests and bridal party. Anything you can do to provide a nice comfortable day for them will result in them singing your praises!
Hamilton-based specialists Brolly Bucket may be a good starting point in your search...
2. Hire professionals
Vendors who have been in the wedding industry for a long time tend to glean a thing or two about making things run smoothly. From a photography perspective, I really never count my chickens . I’m more than happy to blast through sloppy fields or gale-force beaches, stealing moment after moment of drenched laughter and vibrant photos, but let’s face it – most couples won’t be!
What tends to happen in Scotland is some really bad weather, followed by fleeting moments of absolutely glorious, sun-pierced backdrops. This is why you should listen to your photographer if they tap you on the shoulder and say, “NOW is the time – we may not get another chance – let’s GO!” It will be worth it.
Of course, your photographer should be able to make nice photographs in the most challenging of situations – that’s what you’re paying them for! But the best way to help them to help you is to listen to their advice - their powers of weather and light prediction are sometimes inhuman… ;-) They should have years of experience in working difficult situations and their goal is the same as yours: to achieve you some awesome images, with the minimum of fuss and maximum possible dryness!
Another worry of brides in particular is the effect the weather will have on your carefully crafted wedding hair. Well, being a guy who doesn’t have hair and doesn’t (usually!) wear makeup, I checked in with Laura Gray, a successful, West-End-of-Glasgow-based hair and makeup artist on her experience:
"First of all, be realistic! If bad weather is predicted on your wedding day. Discuss these concerns with your stylist and they should talk over options.
Hair Up is always a safer option for weather proofing. If you are having your hair done by a wedding specialist stylist this hair should and will last you from day to night perfectly. Having some touch up hair spray for after the ceremony or before the first dance is a good idea incase you have been going in and out of cars or it’s been blustery!
Veils are tricky things... especially if it’s really windy. If you are travelling in a car to a church or venue. I would ask your stylist to show your 'most responsible' bridesmaids to place the veil at the ceremony. As this will be one less thing to stress about blowing away of becoming wet or dirty in transit.
A really good tip for adverse weather like heavy snow, strong winds is a light weight pashmina to place over Hair to protect again in transit."
3. Think about Transport
Scotland has some of the most beautiful, scenic, rugged and rustic locations in the world and many wedding venues take full advantage of that splendour. However, many of those wedding venues can be well off the beaten track. The last thing you want to happen is to be stuck and unable to reach your own wedding on the day, because rain has caused a mudslide or snow has closed a country road. Think carefully about where you and your guests will be staying before the wedding and how they are travelling - because a wedding without guests is also not much fun! ;-)
Long distances between venues (bridal prep to ceremony to reception venue) only increase the risk and in my humble opinion are best avoided unless absolutely necessary. Not worth the grey hairs! If the weather in the run up is looking precarious then give your wedding vendors and venue a call (if they haven't contacted you already) to thrash out a plan of action in case things go awry.
4. Embrace it
This is the main thrust of why I wanted to write this article in the first place, and possibly my most useful piece of advice. You only get one shot at this. When you wake up in the morning and it looks like King Poseidon is taking an in-land holiday, take a deep breath, relax those tensing shoulder muscles and smile. Let’s face it; there are much worse things that could happen. A little inclement weather is all part of the wonderful tapestry of exciting life in the UK.
Do you really want to regret anything when it comes to the best (or at least most expensive! ;-D ) day of your life? Roll with the punches, soak in all the emotion of the day and treat it like the full blow out party (or alternatively the intimate, heartfelt celebration) that it is. Your dress and shoes are as important to me as they are to you, but they’re not going to dissolve in a little water. Even if you stay inside a pristine wedding venue all day, the bottom of your dress is going to be filthy by the end of it no matter what you do, trust me, it’s virtually unavoidable. Your mum may spot a small blemish on your dress from a hundred yards, but no one else will, and it certainly won’t show in the photographs/ wedding film. And wet beach sand falls out of a wedding dress like it was never there once it’s dry.
Have a blast, trust the experience of your suppliers and don’t hold back anything!
And if the worst does come to the worst for your dress...give these guys a look. Word on the street is they are excellent! Harrods Dry Cleaners
5. Maybe be a little kinder to the planet
It can’t hurt with the extreme weather :-)