Thanks to this rainy weather we’re getting in Central Virginia today, I’ve decided to recycle one of my very first posts here on the blog! I originally posted it on my personal blog just after my own wedding in May 2011 where the downpour of rain that came just before our outdoor ceremony turned out to be one of the best parts of the entire weekend. I know, that is hard to believe as you picture the outdoor ceremony that you’ve been dreaming of, but I’m hoping our story will help to ease your weather worries just a little! Thanks to Sarah Downey Photography for so beautifully capturing the full story of the day…rain & all! Enjoy!
I’ve been stressing about wedding weather since about 2004. Not my own, of course, but all of the other brides & grooms that I’ve worked with over the years. It wasn’t actually about them though. Obviously I didn’t want it to rain on anyone’s wedding but in my mind it was more about logistics…do we need to add a tent? what about sides and heaters? Where can I find 100 matching umbrellas at the last minute for the guests? Stuff like that.
After all of that stress, why would I choose an outdoor wedding ceremony AND cocktail party at Clifton? Well, for the same reason everyone else does…outdoor events in Central VA are beautiful and I just knew that it wasn’t going to rain on MY wedding. After all, I had been a risk taker when it came to weather for years and not once did I end up with a bunch of wet wedding guests.
The week before the wedding I turned into a real bride- I checked the forecast every 2 minutes hoping that it would say sunny and 75 degrees. Some days it did…others is was going to pour…eventually, I realized that there was a very real (40-50% chance) of showers that afternoon so I gave in and ordered the ‘back up plan’ tent from Skyline Tent Company. This was only after we considered converting the day to BYOU (bring your own umbrella)!
TIP: How did I decide this? I used the same advice I always used to give brides. When the forecast is just slightly questionable, consider how much time you and your guests will need to be outside. If it’s a 20 minute ceremony and you’re flexible with the timing, you will most likely be OK. If it’s several hours (like it was in our case) and you don’t have an indoor back up…get the tent! It will take away so much stress on the big day.
Anyway, about 20 minutes before our ceremony was to start the awesome Barbara of Barb Wired Events looked a bit scared to tell me that the rain was coming. Regardless, I was pretty determined to get married in the beautiful garden that we had chosen so I asked her to have the guests wait under the tent for 20 minutes…I was sure it would be over by then. Then, I looked at every single weather app I could find to see what the radar was looking like.
Well, after 20 minutes of waiting, more photos, more champagne and watching all of our guests hover under this tent outside, I decided that if we were all going to wait it out, we may as well do it together. So, Chris (my now husband) and I decided to take the whole wedding party out to the tent and asked Clifton to ‘Open The Bar!’. It was the best choice we made that whole weekend- the guests loved it, we got to spend more time with them, and we were all so much more relaxed once the rain passed and the chairs were dried off. Because we were willing to wait and because our wedding team was awesome, the ceremony in the garden we originally chose went off perfectly.
I’m not really writing this post as advice to take if it rains on your wedding (although it worked for us!) but more to suggest that it will all be OK no matter what. I can now say that from both sides. It is true that there is nothing you can do about the weather (except for having a good plan B and plan C in advance) and in our case I don’t think the weekend would be nearly as memorable without it.
Chris’ dad (who has lots of experience with rain on family weddings!) kept telling us that rain on your wedding means wealth. Of course we all joked about when the money was coming but he made a great point, wealth isn’t always about money. So, when I came across this quote on Meg Runion’s facebook page the week after the wedding, I knew it was perfect for this post. (Meg, I hope you don’t mind that I borrowed it!!)
Wealth is not measured by dollars and cents but by the love we make, the laughter we enjoy, the meals we share, the dreams we experience and the hopes we create. Real connections are our most precious treasures, whether they are with those that share our orbit or with our true and humble selves. -Amy Georgette