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Diary of a Wedding Planner: Part 6

29 Sep 2016

Every bride who is hosting an outdoor wedding ceremony or reception needs a wet weather contingency plan; Marie Haverly of Isabella Weddings Planning and Consultancy offers her expert advice

Image gallery

Image gallery

I remember the day well, it was 7th July and I was running one fabulous wedding while my planner colleague ran another lovely wedding a few miles down the road. The week leading up to the weddings had been like winter; it was cold, wet and windy. Not like the July our couples had been hoping for and, of course, planning for. I always have a wet weather plan for our events but on this occasion even these didn’t quite cover what the rain had planned for us.

For my couple, the wedding was to be in a marquee in the bride’s family garden. The ground was damp so we arranged for the marquee to be put up a week before so that the ground had chance to dry out underneath. The garden was a good size but what we didn’t anticipate is that the access, which was around the side of the house, would become waterlogged. As this was the only access in and out it meant that marquee builders and countless suppliers had traipsed along this little mud path so many times that it now resembled Glastonbury. The mud was thick and sticky and no wooden pathway was going to help. Of course we were also aware that guests had to walk this way on the wedding day – with nice, dainty heels!

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The day before the wedding saw the marquee owner hire a water extraction machine (like a vacuum for water) and sucked out as much of the water as he could that had already soaked the entire carpeted front entrance to the tent. It was at that point that we discussed moving the wedding to the local village hall – this wasn’t an option with our couple, however, that had their hearts set on a family venue. Yet determined not to have our spirits dampened, we purchased a fair few trolley loads of wellies from the local superstore and ensured that extra drinks were offered all around, which our guests were grateful for upon arrival.

We did the best we could to patch up the muddy pathway and to our joy, everyone just jumped in to their wellies and danced the night away in them with abandoned heels under the table. You see, what could have been a disaster turned out to be quite good fun; the suppliers all pulled together and the guests just made the best of the weather. It didn’t spoil the wedding day and our couple had an amazing day still, so please be assured that if you don’t let rain affect your summer wedding then you will still have a lovely day.

Our other wedding by the way, that my colleague was running had a village-wide power cut for four hours resulting in the most romantic, candle lit and acoustic live band reception we had ever seen. It was as if we’d planned a rustic evening!

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Here are some tips so that you don’t get caught out in the rain on your wedding day:

1. Hire a dress cover if you are likely to be walking on wet ground. These can be hired from many companies nationwide.

2. Make a plan, if you suspect bad weather or if your wedding relies solely on dry weather, then make sure you have something in the wings: an extra marquee for covering an outdoor ceremony, umbrellas for the guests, covered walkways for outside and space inside your venue if you cannot go outside.

3. Talk to your photographer about inside photos before the day so you know you have options, or perhaps arrange another shoot for after the wedding, back at your venue, when the weather has cheered up.

4. Ask your venue to light some fires if they have them. Light some candles and make the most of the romantic occasion.

5. Get out and dance in the rain! If you can’t beat it then join it

There are always ways around bad weather, make the most of your venue but be sure to prepare for the worst. A quick chat with your venue or marquee company will ensure you know what the requirements are for cables, space etc in case of bad weather. It’s good to be prepared in advance, even if you don’t need any of it. 

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