It was a very wet summer in 2009. There was one day where I was performing three weddings in various parts of the city. I did my first one, drove through the rain, to a second venue that was dry, drove through the rain to my third dry venue. I was dodging the showers. These three weddings were lucky.
After all the planning, hoping and worrying the details on your outdoor wedding, you need to have a pre-defined rain plan. I bring this up because rain is the single most often cause of grief that is totally avoidable. Having a pre-defined rain plan can significantly reduce your already stressful day. Last summer, I had couple who insisted on have their wedding in an open sided gazebo in the driving rain. We all got wet. The groomsmen were squeegeeing the floor. The photographer was unhappy because he was worried about damage to his digital camera. The DJ was freaking because he had thousands of dollars in equipment that was getting wet and could get fried. All the guests in the finery were wet. The brides beautiful dress was soaked. I was wet and had to go on to another wedding soggy.
At another venue in the fall, the groom decided to have the wedding despite the fine cold drizzle. The groom waited inside and the bride was late. However, all the guests were standing outside waiting in the rain. The guitarist didn’t like having his wooden instrument exposed to the elements. Grandma was not too pleased.
There are the eternal optimist couples who have no back-up rain location. There have been times when I hurry up because the storm clouds are coming in. I no sooner get into my vehicle and drive a block that the downpour begins. Sigh, all those people in good clothes with no umbrellas! These happened because the couples were stubbornly sticking to the idea that they wanted an outdoor wedding. Most venues let the couple make the decision on whether the ceremony will take place despite rain in the weather forecast. For some reason, reason has disappeared. The unerring result is wet, soggy, unhappy people with the smell of wet clothes.
Avoiding this is very simple if you’ve discussed your options beforehand. Here are some tips: 1- Have a back up location pre-identified and ready. For example, a tent should have sides to block the rain coming in and be large enough to accommodate all guests. 2- Decide on Go/ noGo for outside no later than two hours prior to the time. This eliminates stress and allows your venue to function smoothly. 3- If it looks anyway threatening or the forecast is greater than 50% for precipitation – move indoors. This is not the time to be macho.
Maybe I am slow in learning but I now take the position that I will not perform in the rain. It just leads to ugliness and unhappiness all around. Besides, the Government of Ontario has been known to refuse wet marriage licenses. Then you’ll need to get a new one and do it all again. A little bit of pre-planning will go a long ways to ensuring your day goes well.