If you’re British then you probably love chatting weather so welcome! But in all honesty, no matter the season you plan your wedding in, you probably need to have a contingency plan for the UK weather on your wedding day… So, let’s talk wet weather, cold weather, overly hot weather and every other possibility on this bizarre island we call home.
If you’re hoping for an outdoor ceremony then usually the hard work is done by the venue on your behalf. The majority have indoor contingency plans for moving inside at short notice, for example Notley Abbey has their outdoor and indoor areas set up at the same time and decide 30 minutes before the ceremony start time if the weather is looking questionable.
If you’ve opted for a venue with outdoor only options, then the venue will have gazebos or tents that can go up at a moment’s notice or a stash of umbrellas for your guests to use!
Outdoor drink receptions
If you have your heart set on drinks outdoors then accept that the weather may not play ball and make sure there is suitable space indoors for the number of guests you’re inviting. I’ve been to a few weddings where there wasn’t really room to move as guests were hastily moved indoors when the heavens opened.
Sure, you may have your heart set on photos in the pretty grounds of your venue but if the weather is against you then it’s always good to have a contingency plan for indoor photos.
That being said, if the rain is light, don’t freak out! Light rain is not seen in photos so if you’re still happy to head outside then it can be done. I’ve had dedicated wedding attendants hold umbrellas over couples until photos need to be taken for the duration of photo time. It all depends how much you want to be outside…
If the weather does suddenly turn on you it’s worth knowing where you might do your formal photos indoors. Is there either a covered area at the front of the building that can keep guests dry (I’m happy to get wet!) or somewhere indoors with big windows that will give you great light?
When the weather forecast suddenly changes to be much colder than anticipated then you can easily add another layer to your wedding outfit without too much difficulty.
If you’re wearing a wedding dress then you can add on a bolero or wrap. When wearing a suit, you can add a scarf or coat for times you’re heading outside. Plus, if your other half is wearing a suit jacket and you happen to be in a dress, then steal their warmer garments for a few photos, you’ll stay warm and look adorable!
Wet weather is obviously the biggest threat to British weddings and you aren’t going to have lots of notice like you will do with a heat wave or snow storm so it’s never a bad idea to have a rain plan in your back pocket.
Why not add a pretty umbrella to your wedding kit so that you have it on hand just in case. I would highly recommend against bright, colourful golf umbrellas or similar because the colours can end up being reflected onto your faces in photos.
You can find plain white or see-through umbrellas, or more ornate lace style ones in white. Similarly, I’ve seen fun ones with ironic wedding details like love hearts or wedding dresses on them if you really want photos that play up to the fact that it was raining on your big day.
If you’re game for going outside no matter the weather then why not consider changing into wellies for photos? You can get all sorts of fun wellies with ribbons on, ones that match your colour scheme or just bring a pair from home. I think wellies look fab with wedding outfits!
One note on super wet weddings, rain on marquees can be super noisy so make sure you have a microphone system set up so that you can hear your speeches if super heavy rain is forecast for your marquee wedding day.
Very occasionally we do end up with stinking hot weather and it can make weddings really unbearable if you don’t have elements in place to mitigate the very hot weather. We’re just not set up for mid-30s temperatures, are we?!
If it looks like you’re set to tie the knot in a heat wave then make sure you have plenty of extra drinks and water for guests as the combo of hot weather and alcohol can be a bad idea.
Make sure you check to your cake maker as well about what to do with your cake as I’ve seen a few cakes start to resemble the Leaning Tower of Pisa after a few hours left by a sunny window on a hot day. Could the cake be left in the fridge longer, kept in a shady corner or does the cake maker have any other great ideas to keep that cake looking its best? Similarly, will your flowers survive a hot day? One bride insisted on tulips on a very hot day and sadly they were wilted before she’d even made it down the aisle. Make sure your florist can give you ideas for the best flowers for your season and the weather, but also how to keep them looking their best for longest.
Have you considered fans for your guests or hiring air-conditioning units if you are really worried about the heat? Lou and Pete put out fans as favours for their guests when the forecast for their day was for incredibly hot weather.
There you have it, all my tips for a contingency plan for any weather; rainy day weddings, unexpectedly hot weddings, or when your weather falls on a colder than expected day. Have you got a backup plan for the British weather? If not, feel free to use this as a starting off point to think about how you might handle inclement weather.
While you’re here, why not look through the full gallery of happy, natural wedding photography on my site and see if I might be a good fit for your day, no matter the weather! I’d love to hear all about your big day. You can get in touch with me here…