Wedding Wednesday: How to Prepare for Inclement Weather Conditions

Fingers crossed that your wedding day is sunny and 75 (and with 300 days of sunshine here in Colorado, there's a good chance!), but it's important to have a plan if inclement weather sneaks into the picture. Here are some of the weather conditions I see most frequently and the most important things you need to do to make sure you're ready should these conditions arise.

Cold- Even in the warm summer months, temperatures can drop at night. Additionally, without the sun to keep you warm, temperatures can feel colder. If you are hosting your reception outdoors, plan on having some portable heaters and/or fire pits for guests to get cozy around once the sunsets. Also, make sure to make a note of the fact that your wedding will be outdoors on your wedding website and encourage guests to bring a light jacket for the evening hours.

If an unexpected cold spell sweeps through and drops the temperature, even before the sun goes down, heaters might not be the best option. While they will heat up the area around them if your wedding is out in the open (i.e. not in a tent). Guests who aren’t seated near the heaters might get chilly. Providing shawls or throw blankets can be a sweet way to keep guests warm. Also, think about providing hot drinks before the ceremony and during the cocktail hour. Setting-up a little coffee bar can be a great way to keep people warm from the inside.

Hot- If the weather swings the other directions (too warm), make sure to provide guests with lots of water. Have a cooler of water bottles for guests to grab as they make their way to their seats in the ceremony and after as they head to cocktail hour. Dehydration can sneak up on people, especially if they are drinking a lot of alcohol in the heat. Additionally, make sure to provide shade. If your ceremony location is in direct sunlight, consider having guests congregate in a nearby shady spot until a few minutes before the ceremony. If your venue doesn’t have a lot of shade consider bringing in some big umbrella or small tents to provide options for guests to hang out in during cocktail hour or before your ceremony.

Rain- Rain is always a scary threat for any wedding, but especially a wedding with an outdoor ceremony or reception. Many venues will have inclement weather plans or locations, so make sure you check with venues when you are doing your initial venue tours. If your venue doesn’t provide an inclement weather plan, you will need to have one ready to go! Check with your rental company and see if you can reserve a tent in the event of rain. Some rental companies will allow you to reserve one for a percent of the full price and only charge the full price if you end up needing the tent. If you are having a reception at a separate indoor location, see if you could possibly hold your ceremony in the same place (in case of a weather emergency).

Even if you are having an entirely indoor wedding, rain can have a huge impact on your photography. If you have a good chance of rain on your wedding day, check with your photographer and see if you’ll need to rearrange your schedule. Because it is likely to be darker outside and you’ll have to do more of your pictures indoors, you may need to rearrange things to account for an earlier sunset.

Snow- Most of the same things apply for rain, as for snow. But there are a few additional things you’ll want to consider. If you are having an outdoor wedding and there is any possibility of snow (which in Colorado is pretty much always except probably July & August), you’ll not only want to have a tent on standby, but also several heaters.

Also, be aware of any travel difficulties that may be posed because of the snow. Will it be easy to get from your wedding ceremony to reception for people who aren’t used to driving in the snow? Will someone at your venue make sure paths are shoveled and salted to prevent slipping on ice? Snow tends to slow everyone down a bit, so you should add in a little extra cushion to your timeline if snowy weather is anticipated.

Wind- People often forget about wind, but it is the weather element that typically causes the most issues at outdoor weddings. Windy conditions can strike almost anywhere outdoors, but we most frequently see this issue in parks (where things tend to be flat and exposed) and on rooftops. One of the biggest issues with windy conditions is candles. Open flames on candles (those without glass surrounding the flame) will blow out almost immediately with the wind. We see this issue with tabletop candles, and also with unity candles. If you are having an outdoor wedding, consider selecting candles like votives that are surrounded by glass. Also, make sure to have lots of extra lighters on hand to relight candles that may get blown out.

Another major issue for windy weather anything lightweight. There is no avoiding flower petals blowing around in the wind, so try adding them at the very last second or if you are really set on the look you could consider using faux petals and some glue. For lightweight tabletop items (like napkins, menus, and place cards), you’ll want to arrange your place settings, so something heavy, like a clear charger, a heavy name card holder, or a substantial napkin ring sit on top of the items and prevent them from blowing around. Make sure to thoroughly secure draped fabric to prevent it from blowing away during a sudden gust or hanging florals. For your bridesmaids’ skirts, if you are worried about wind making for an embarrassing moment, you can use skirt weights to help hold the skirts in place.

Unfortunately, no one can control or perfectly predict what weather will look like on your wedding day, but with a little extra planning, inclement weather should have no impact on your big day.

Planning a Colorado wedding? I'd love to work with you!