Weddings & Life with Taylor Nicole, a podcast by Denver Wedding Photographer,
Taylor Nicole Photography
Intro: What if it rains on your wedding day? Does that thought make you cringe a little bit inside? That’s okay, no one likes to plan for or think about the worst. Especially when it comes to something as uncontrollable as weather on a wedding day. I wish I could keep the rain away on everyone’s wedding day, but people get married pretty often so even if I did have that ability then it might never rain so I guess rather than preventing the weather it might be a better idea to learn how to handle it. So if you want to be prepared and learn how to deal with any not so perfect weather on your wedding day then keep listening I will share all the weather handling strategies.
Hello friends! Thanks for listening to another episode of the podcast. This is another one I have recorded a bit earlier because by looking at my schedule I am in the middle my busiest week of the entire year when this episode comes out. While that is daunting knowing all the weddings that are ahead of me it’s also pretty fun to know that I will literally be done with my hardest pace of work in the next 4 days. So I will be out there capturing and also back home editing all the wedding day memories when you’re listening to this episode. Late May last year produced a lot of rain in Colorado, the majority of the weddings I photographed that month and early June had to work around rain. So cue this episode is hopefully timely but not too late!
I briefly mentioned the weather in the last episode about things I have learned over 200 weddings. So this episode we are diving a bit deeper into how to be prepared for weather on your wedding day.
So this is where I try to impress you by sharing the I have photographed weddings in the following weather patterns- sunny, hot, cloudy, cold, windy, raining, sprinkling, down pouring, hailing, snowing, sleeting, blizzarding and flooding.
Now I’d say the only way I can add to that list of weather is to work in the midwest during a tornado and to go to the coast during a hurricane, I don’t really have any interest photographing in an earthquake so we will leave that one alone.
So the craziest weather scenarios and stories-
In 2013 there was a big flood in Northern Colorado. I was living in my college town and I had a wedding to photograph just back in my home town, should have been less than an hour away from me. But the floods closed the highways so the day before the wedding I had to drive a 3 hour detour around the flood and closed highways. I remember getting back to my college town Sunday the normal route and they closed the highway just a few hours after I made it back. Now remember 2013 was baby Taylor, she didn’t have much experience photographing weddings at that point, but we made it work! The couple ended up renting a tent and we had a beautiful day!
Now I will say that the most intense weather pattern I have ever worked in was actually last March, so March of 2021. I was living out in North Carolina at the time, and I had two weddings the second weekend of March. About 5 days before I saw the winter storm warnings and decided to rebook myself out on earlier flights. Then as the weather progressed I decided to skip staying with my family members and check myself into a hotel that was just a block away from the first venue. I went and packed my car with food and water and set off for my hotel days. The storm ended up being a bit delayed so the first wedding was very snowy but the conditions were truly fine. It however really hit overnight and by the next morning I knew I needed to get to my next wedding location early because it was going to continue dumping snow all day. What I haven’t told you yet is that I drive a Toyota Corolla … To give myself credit I do have snow tires at this point, but guys that’s all. So I made what should have been about a 20 minute drive in just over an hour. The interstate was completely empty because not many dummies like me were out trying to get places thankfully. The bummer was I had to get myself a second hotel room that day because I knew I wouldn’t make it back to my first hotel. So once I got there I got my car stuck in the hotel parking lot. I remember calling my husband and him trying to talk me through how to get my car out but nothing was going to help. Thankfully the hotel staff had two people out there digging out stuck cars so they came to help me and they were nice enough to let me leave my car under the overhang until my wedding that afternoon. So I made it to the wedding venue (thank goodness I was staying at the getting ready location or I would’t have made it) and we photographed the day. I will add that snow makes for some absolutely beautiful portraits. Then when I go to leave somehow everyone in attendance left the parking lot before me, I still don’t know how that happened other than I was lugging my roller bags through over 2 feet of snow and I got stuck in the parking lot. Alone. This time I called Austin and he was miraculously able to talk me through how to free my little car from the snow and I ran every light back to the hotel because if I stopped in the intersections I would never get going again. So weddings accomplished it was insane and beautiful. The next day I had to call every airport parking lot to see which ones had been plowed. I showed up to park my car and even though they said it was open they weren’t ready for me yet, so I ended up leaving my car and my car keys with a stranger who wore a polo shirt with the parking lot logo on it. Looking back that would have been a great way to steal my car is to just come by and tell me they worked there and would park my car for me. I literally made it all the way back to North Carolina before I realized I didn’t have any of the employees contact information or names to confirm that my car ever made it into the lot. When I flew back two weeks later my keys were at the front desk and they gave me a discount. So that was another miracle!
So those are my two claims to fame as far as extreme weather goes. I wanted to share one more client story from last year that related to weather because I really think it’s the best way to go about poor weather on your wedding day. Allie & Joe got married last memorial day weekend and unlike the usual Colorado forecast of rain for a bit of the day then back to clouds or sun this day was expected to rain consistently for the entire day. Now from my experience that is common on the east coast for rain to stick around for the whole day, but it’s not common out west. I spent the morning of the wedding adding to my collection of clear umbrellas so we could cover her bridal party and family for outdoor portraits as needed and I remember texting the bride to assure her that it would be alight with the weather and she responded back something along the lines of ‘yeah I am actually excited to have a cool, cloudy wedding day it sounds relaxing and fun’ I don’t have the exact response but seriously it was the best attitude to have on the day! No one goes into their wedding day saying I hope it downpours or I hope it is windy or I hope it is unseasonably hot or cold, but being able to look on the positive side and remember what’s most important (marrying your best friend) goes such a long way in helping you navigate weather changes. So that brings me to our first point.
- Commit to stay flexible and happy
- Weather happens, no one can control it and it could be a fun and unique memory for your day. This isn’t to say that you can’t shed a few tears if it starts to rain/snow ect. But try to recover quickly by remembering what’s most important. Some bridal party or fiancé support and encouragement can come in nicely here.
- Try to plan ahead for the just in case scenarios
- So watch the weather forecast. I’d say it’s better to have at least a small idea that rain/weather might come your way than to be completely surprised. Things you can do to prepare- for rain purchase a set of clear umbrellas off of amazon. You could buy just two for the two of you or get some for your entire bridal party. I will like clear umbrellas from my amazon affiliate page in the show notes and on the blog post. Fair reminder I do make a small commission (still no idea how much) if you purchase from that link. You can also bring or make sure your venue has towels to wipe down chairs or benches to help your guests have a dry place to sit. You can also plan to bring rain boots or a warm shawl or jacket.
- Write or talk out a plan with your coordinator about weather scenarios so it isn’t up to you
- Going along with planning ahead make sure you have a certain plan in place with your venue/coordinator that way they can handle the decision the day of and not everyone is turning to you the bride/groom asking you to make things work on your day
- Have a back up ceremony location
- Having a venue with an indoor ceremony and reception option is a big deal. If you are stuck outdoors then I’d highly recommend securing a tent to use if needed.
- Trust your photographer
- Your photographer has probably experienced photographing clients in some poor weather scenarios before. And even if not they have an idea of where the light is coming from and where they need to stand you for portraits. On a rainy or overcast day we will want to face you a different direction vs on a bright and sunny day. Also window light can make for some absolutely dreamy indoor portraits that could be a good thing to go for if the weather was bad (like destroy your hair style bad!)
- In fact in general with bad weather or good just trust your photographer when it comes to locations. Communicate your wishes when it comes to locations for sure, like if you have a venue in the mountains you probably really want mountains in your portraits, but the best time of day for the mountain view might be closer to sunset and maybe we use a different area for the bridal party earlier in the day.
- Make the most of the breaks in the weather (willing to change up the timeline)
- Last summer I had a sweet couple who ended up with a huge downpour of rain and high winds right as their guests were arriving for their ceremony. So they ended up with the help and support of their catering team and planners moving their cocktail hour before the ceremony to serve their guests while they delayed the ceremony about 30 minutes to wait out the storm.
- If it is windy or rainy be willing to be a bit flexible and hop outside for portraits or anything when the weather is nice! Even if the weather only holds up for 5 minutes we can make up a lot of portraits in that time too!
- Bring touch up supplies for yourselves- ask stylists for any advice on retouching your look if needed
- I don’t know exactly how to fix makeup, or even a little bit about fixing hair but your stylists will have ideas. In general my best makeup tip when it comes to rain or tears is to blot not wipe. It saves your makeup apparently. I’d go waterproof everything if you have the chance, wedding days can be emotional in good ways too!
- Bring favors to help your guests- fans, blankets, hot drinks, umbrellas?, space heaters outdoors
- For hot weather bringing something for guests to fan themselves
- For cold weather bringing blankets and renting outdoor space heaters, even serving warm drinks before the ceremony could be a nice surprise for your guests
- For rain or snow bringing clear umbrellas, even if there is just a chance of rain I’d recommend buying clear umbrellas. I bet you could return or sell on Facebook market place after
- Be okay to get a little dirty/muddy
- With rain comes mud, with winds come dust. I don’t know of any wedding photographer who is looking to sink your dress into the mud. I know personally I don’t want to get a bride’s dress very dirty at all, especially not before the ceremony. But also something to remember is that your dress was made for this day and usually this day only. So try to be a little open minded if your dress gets a little dusty or dirty, usually it can be brushed off and cleaned up before the ceremony. After that youre going to bustle it anyways so it will hide some of the dirt potentially anyways.
I’d say my best advice when it comes to weather on wedding days summarized is to be aware, prepared with back up options and comfort items, and to be flexible/happy. If you can stay upbeat and positive then I guarantee you will have a better wedding day experience than if you let the weather ruin your fun.
Thanks for listening!