The time has come for you to start planning the most special and hopefully epic day of your life. There are so many things to consider, from venue, to food, to music, to people. The last thing you want to worry about is the weather! But, it is unavoidable. Especially if you are planning an outdoor ceremony, reception or even pictures, weather has to be considered at the beginning of any wedding planning checklist.
Venues want you to do the exact opposite. There is no controlling Mother Nature, so just forget about it, right? Wrong! Of course venues say that. They just want to fill up the booking sheet and maximize profits. Most will charge the same amount all year long even though some dates (depending on your location) are 5 or even 10 times more likely to have rain than others! If weather is important to your big day, it sure does not seem fair that you pay the same amount for a statistically crummy date.
For many of us, that perfect wedding day coincides with the perfect weather as a backdrop. For some, maybe that is sunny and 70 degrees. Some more daring couples may even want a snowy winterscape for the occasion. While wedding planners are generally great at preparing engaged couples for "whatever" weather is to come, very few provide a long term weather outlook to help with date and venue selection. This is likely due to a belief that it is not possible. We're here to tell you that it is in fact very possible. Don't take our word for it; see how we helped Christina have perfect weather for the wedding day of her dreams!
Some might take on this task solo via the interwebs… “how can I predict the weather for my wedding.” All kinds of shenanigans are in your search results now. You will see cheap looking weather predictors created by people with minimal training in weather. The Farmer’s Almanac (don’t get us started) will end up in a lot of search results. There are also countless blogs from trusted wedding planners, vendors and magazines. Many sources tell you a combination of things from, “Try This: (insert bad source from above)” to “it’s not possible.” None of this advice is particularly helpful.
What Is The Chance of Rain on My Wedding Day?
It is helpful to consider past weather patterns when selecting the best date and location for your wedding. "So how do I pick the best date to avoid rain on my wedding day?" While it is not possible to know the exact weather on a date months to years in advance, it is possible to get a probability-based outlook.
How do you come up with this without being a math whiz? Like anything, you have options. In this case, there are only two good ones. You can do it yourself or ask an expert. If you are confident that you can put the data into context in the same way that a professional can, the choice comes down to picking between time and money. Is your time and effort worth the savings? Or, would you rather pay someone less than one percent of the cost of an average wedding to guide the decision?
Before we break down both options and explain how you can do either, here is a simple table comparing the two:
Do It Yourself
Ask An Expert
A Few Hours
A Few Days
Dozens of Pages, Filled with Jargon
Short and User-Friendly
DO IT YOURSELF LONG RANGE WEATHER FORECAST
Go to NOAA’s National Centers for Environmental Information. Select the “normal monthly” from the type/data set drop down menu, followed by the city and date range of your choosing and await a report to your inbox. The report will provide the average daily high and low by month, the standard deviation from those temperatures, the average number of days below freezing, above 50, 90 and 100, the average total precipitation by month and the number of days certain amounts of rain occur per month. Once you have the report, you will need to sort out what is important to you to guide your decision. Plan for it to take a few hours from the time you submit the request, to when you receive the report, to then comb through the data.
Pros: It is a good amount of data and you can do a lot with it. The information is particularly helpful if you need broad statistics to get a general idea about weather trends over the course of a year.
Cons: The database is not user friendly. You might have to do some Googling to understand the technical lingo and jargon on the site. The reports provide data grouped by full months, not exact dates. There are a limited number of weather variables (only what you see in the example images).
ASK AN EXPERT
Head on over to our submission page. Fill out the request with what city/s and dates you are considering. Give some details about the type of wedding or event you are planning. Explain what type of weather you are hoping to experience (and/or avoid). For example, you may want to know the chance temperatures will be over 70 degrees or the level of humidity. You could ask about the chance that more than 2 inches of snow will fall. You could even get information on the risk for severe thunderstorms on your dates. The entry form takes less than two minutes! Then, a meteorologist will sort through the data and give you all the relevant information and make recommendations on what to do. Basically, you tell us about you and what you want and we’ll do the rest!
Pros: You get a report with data that is relevant and specific to your needs along with a video explanation from a meteorologist. You get expert advice on exact dates versus having to make your own assumptions based on monthly data. You can choose an unlimited number of weather variables. Call, text or email with any follow-up questions.
Cons: You will have to wait a few days for the report. You will also have to pay a small fee.
WHICH SHOULD YOU PICK?
Sorting through the data alone could leave you with “what ifs” or lingering questions. If you ask an expert, you will have confidence that you made the best decision possible.
For instance, if you are considering a late March wedding, you have to decide if March or April data is more useful. In some parts of the country, the average monthly high for April is much closer to the average high on March 26 than the average monthly high for the entire month of March.
When you ask an expert, you will likely even get useful information you had not even thought about. For example, while summer may be the driest time of year in some parts of the country, it may also be prone to flooding monsoons on the rare occasions it does rain!
What?! It is a lot to consider and a lot that you don’t need to stress about while planning your wedding day. Hey, you might not care about any of this. You may be indifferent about the weather on your wedding day, but if you have read this far, you probably care at least a little!
Always check your source and make sure you know from whom you are getting data. Read the “about” sections of webpages. Many free weather calculator websites were not even created by meteorologists. They are simple clickbait money grabs that prey on your needs. As you wouldn’t consult with a meteorologist to build a bridge, why would you consult with an engineer to get the weather? Choose a source like NOAA, that has clear meteorological or climatological credentials.
The bottom line is this. One thing that bloggers nail is that you should ALWAYS have an indoor backup plan when it comes to weather. Yet, they are wrong in downplaying it as a planning item. You should most definitely consider it when making of one of the biggest and most expensive decisions of your life! Meteorology has evolved. There is enough data available to know probabilities for certain weather variables years in advance.
Have a Backup Plan
Of course, few plans involving weather are foolproof. Remember maximizing your chances and eliminating risks are two different things. Even if you chose a day that has a 90 percent likelihood of being dry, there is still a 10 percent chance that it could rain. You need to be ready.
Experienced wedding planners will help you come up with a Plan B. Don’t hesitate to ask them for the best advice in case of rain. If you are throwing the party on your own, write down a detailed backup plan. Do this months in advance so that all organizers and vendors are on the same page as you. Some obvious things to consider include:
1) Talk to your venue about indoor options. According to event insurance provider, Markel, asking basic questions will help you know the possibility and ease of moving to a dry space. If rain is a major concern, limit your choices to options that have a compatible inside alternative.
2) Rent or buy an open air canopy or clear tent. As long as there is no lightning in the area, the pitter patter of rain on a roof is a relaxing sound and a pretty neat visual.
3) Protect your guests and set expectations from the get go. Make sure to advertise the event as rain or shine. If you are using a website or social media to communicate with guests, make ongoing weather updates a part of the conversation. Your personal meteorologist can assist you with direct, easy to understand information. You might even suggest umbrellas or rain jackets as the forecast unfolds ahead of the wedding.
4) Be sure to select alternate photo locations ahead of time so that the itinerary can go on, either way.
5) Protect your dress with a bridal petticoat to keep it from dragging on the ground. Another options is to have a professional shield it with a special treatment like Scotchguard. You could always go with a short dress, too!
If you are dead set on keeping things outside, there is another option if you have some flexibility. Wait! Often, showers are very short lived. If your venue and vendors are agreeable to a 30 to 60 minute delay, rain may completely stop or slow down enough to tie the knot! Of course, this would be another advantage to adding a personal meteorologist to your wedding team for all-day guidance as low as $50. Lastly, if you would like to pursue event insurance, Markel has options that start as low as $150.
A bonus piece of advice from wedding planners is that you should never activate your backup plan too early. If inclement weather is in the forecast, wait until the last possible minute to make a decision. Again, a personal meteorologist on your wedding staff can track the situation and make that call for you, so there is no second guessing!
Is It Good Luck to Have Rain on Wedding Day?
Many brides and grooms wish for for sunny skies on their special day, hoping weather will be as perfect as the wedding they've planned. But we all know, Mother Nature doesn’t always help us throw the best party.
So when the going gets tough, the tough get… superstitious. The saying goes that rain on your wedding day is good luck. Many believe this comforting mantra originated in Hindu culture, and then adopted by others around the world. Some see wet wedding weather as a symbol of good luck for cleansing, fertility, renewal and unity.
For many, believing in superstitions provides a sense of control and reduces anxiety. It’s perfectly normal and perfectly fine. But, you could cut down on stress about rain on your big day by taking a scientific approach. Working with a professional meteorologist can maximize the chance that weather is on your side when scheduling the big day. They can also provide you with detailed forecasts and guidance leading up to the wedding.
Specialty Suggestions on How to Prepare for Rain on Your Wedding Day
LOOK AT THE POSITIVES
1) Dance in the rain. Not all music is sunshine and butterflies. There are some bangers out there for rainy days! Why not turn your precipitation problem into a part of the show and have some rain themed songs on standby. Here is a good, modern top ten list of tunes. Our honorable mention is below.
2) Have some specialty rain themed drinks. If you don’t have a top notch mixologist at your wedding, it might be beer, champagne and some Jack and Coke. But, you could always do a Google search to come up with some appropriately titled cocktails to drink the rainy day blues away. Or, just grab a fresh bottle of wine and chug!
3) Get photos! Romantic movies have kissing scenes in the rain for a reason. Nothing says true love like embracing one another no matter the conditions! Many couples have delivered iconic wedding photos that wouldn’t have been possible without wet weather. Oh, and remember what comes after the rain!
4) Hey, just like people, flowers need rain to survive. If you are willing to research what plants do best in wet weather, you are probably willing to spend extra to have your wedding strewn with water loving vegetation.
MAKE RAIN AND GUESTS A PART OF THE THEME
-Provide blankets for warming after being wet
-Provide umbrellas as wedding favors
-Have towels available for people to dry off