Embracing the rain on wedding days | Advice from a Buffalo, WNY, and Finger Lakes Wedding Photographer

Every bride or groom probably hopes not to have rain on their wedding day. Rain can throw a wrench into plans for outdoor ceremonies and receptions as well as disrupt outside wedding portrait plans, not to mention it can also cause worry and stress about hair and makeup or shoes and dresses getting wet. It's not desirable, and everyone knows it. But the weather is also the biggest thing on one's wedding day that cannot be controlled. Much like today (or this week for that matter!), Mother Nature is going to do it's thing regardless of anyone's hopes and wishes. And the best advice I have for my clients (regarding weather or anything else for that matter) is to simply embrace whatever happens, and let it be a part of your story. Because it's not worth it to stress over something as uncontrollable as the weather, especially when in the bigger picture of things, your wedding day is going to be one of the best and happiest days of your lives. My second piece of advice: plan ahead/prepare for the weather, juuust in case. Having umbrellas and rainboots on hand is a great idea. As well as securing back up plans for any portion of the day that you're planning to be outside. The more planning you do in advance will help ease some stress if there are last minute changes in weather on your special day!

Today I'm sharing a few snippets from a few past weddings where rain was a part of the couple's wedding day, in hopes to inspire and ease some worry for future brides and grooms that may have rain on their day, too!

Scenario: Surprise rain showers following the ceremony – just in time for wedding party portraits. YAY!

The morning of Ashley and Rob's June 2015 wedding was beautiful and looked like rain wouldn't be in the forecast. But when their indoor ceremony ended, we discovered the rain had in fact decided to join us that day. We carried on with photo plans as originally discussed, and because the rain was spotty – we were able to get a great mixture of outdoor photos, not only with the various locations we had planned, but with and without needing umbrellas. Usually I tell clients we really don't need several hours of time for wedding party portraits between ceremony and reception, but on Ashley and Rob's day, having the extra time definitely helped us out. We were able to wait out heavier rain fall and had plenty of time to accomplish all their photo desires, while having FUN doing it, too. I'll be sharing their full wedding story in the coming weeks... ice cream break and all. :-)

Scenario: Downpouring rain all day long with only the ceremony and reception venues as portrait location options.

Erin + Aaron also had a beautiful June wedding in 2015. Their plans were to get ready at the church and do a first look there before the ceremony to keep it simple. We had plans to do photos outside around the property since it was beautiful, but with rain in the forecast and nowhere else around their church to go for portraits, we improvised and did their first look and portraits inside the church. Luckily, their church had a lot of great options for us photography backdrop wise so this slight change in plans worked out just as well! We were able to create some really simple, clean, yet fun portraits. And everyone in the wedding party stayed dry before the ceremony.

After the ceremony, we were hoping maybe the rain would clear juuuust a little so we could get a few photos outside their reception venue (the Buffalo Historical Society) but alas...the rain was non-stop. So we did some portrait-type photos inside that venue just as their guests started to arrive. Before long.. everyone was out on the dance floor not even thinking about the rain happening outside anyway. It was the best, and having two great indoor location options worked out really well for us!

Scenario: outside ceremony and reception plans altered due to constant, heavy rainfall

Jenna and Daniel had a kick ass wedding at Sonnenberg Gardens in September 2015. The original plan for the ceremony was to be out in the open, overlooking the beautiful gardens at Sonnenberg, with cocktail hour on the main house patio and celebration under a tent close by. Unfortunately with the weather that day, the ceremony had to be moved under a tent and reception tent had to have all the sides pulled down to keep wedding guests warm and dry. Despite the rain, we were still able to incorporate the outside elements... with umbrellas in tow and with a little improvising using elements of the main house (like the ivy arch entrance) to keep family/wedding parties dry during portraits. As you can see, the rain did not stop anyone from smiling on this day.

Even so... during the reception, I was peeping at the weather forecast and saw it was looking to be nice the Monday after their wedding. I just knew Jenna was hoping for her beautiful GOLD dress to be sparkling in the sun for their wedding portraits, and before leaving their wedding that night, I asked them if they'd be interested in doing a day after session before they headed back to NYC. They excitedly agreed to do this, and that Monday following their wedding, we made it happen. I'm so thrilled they now have a mixture of portraits from their actual wedding day – and from a beautiful sunny day like they had hoped to have – to cherish from their wedding celebrations! If any of my couples find themselves in the same situation, I'd be happy to try and make this happen for you, too, if we can!

Scenario: forecast unexpectedly calling for rain last minute, so indoor locations were secured just in case. 

Remember Erin + Aaron's wedding above? Yea.. Lina and Eugene's wedding was the very next day and the forecast was looking to be just as promising. So the day before their wedding, Lina and Eugene's wedding party pulled out all the stops and reached out to several people for last minute indoor location spots. We were able to get into a local museum as well as do portraits inside someone's home (that just so happens to be one of the old mansions on Delaware). But the best part of their day, was that we were able to get in their first look as originally planned, outside on the steps of near Hoyt Lake. Because the rain was literally minutes away, NO ONE else was at Hoyt Lake (which as anyone in Buffalo knows is a rare situation on a weekend), so we had the entire area and steps to ourselves! Lina and Eugene shared an epic First Look, we did some photos there, and then headed off to their secured indoor locations just as the rain rolled in.

Scenario: Overcast wedding day with on and off sprinkling rain throughout the entire day. Given their fall wedding date, pre-planned indoor and outdoor portrait locations were already set, so the weather didn't even get in the way of our plans. Wahoo!

Anne and Matt were married in October 2015 and the day started out a beautiful, perfectly overcast fall day. But in WNY, fall days often mean the chance of rain so I always encourage back-up rain locations juuust in case. Despite the weather looking promising that morning, by the time ceremony started, so did the rain. Luckily, it wasn't a heavy rain so we decided to follow the plan for portraits as planned originally, which had a mixture of indoor and outdoor locations anyhow. I'm obsessed with this day even still, and am so thankful for all the variety we had on their wedding day... rain and all!

In closing, embrace the weather as it happens!! Amazing images can still come from a unique weather day, but more than that, it just makes your story even more special and unique. :-)


PS. For any of my upcoming or future wedding clients: The clear umbrellas you see in the photos above are always in my car on wedding days and I have 7 of them! :-) So fret not about going out to get umbrellas just in case of rain on your wedding day.... I've got you covered!

Additionally, if you wish to photograph at an indoor location, as a reminder, this is something you will need to set up, as many of the inside venues require deposits from brides/grooms to reserve photography time. I'm more than happy to make suggestions though, so don't hesitate to ask if you're looking for ideas that will best suit your needs! Also, in my experience, June and September have been the rainiest, but as you know... rain can happen any time of year! So be sure to secure an indoor location JUST in case and well in advance of your wedding date... especially if you're planning a wedding during those months!