When you envision your perfect wedding, you likely aren’t thinking about rain clouds or shivering guests — especially if you’re planning an outdoor celebration. However, any wedding professional will confirm: It’s always best to be prepared. While winter and summer weddings come with certain weather expectations, it can be particularly challenging when Mother Nature isn’t so predictable during shoulder seasons.
Fortunately, with a bit of forethought and a team of experts at your side, there are many solutions to your weather woes — and you can even have a little fun with them. Here’s how you can make contingency plans chic.
Plan for a backup location.
Having a plan B is essential for any outdoor event, but especially when the weather is unpredictable. Syrie Roman, owner of Social Maven Event Planning, agrees: “Not having an indoor space in case of inclement weather is a big oversight. Regardless of whether it’s snow or heavy rain, there should always be a plan to keep your guests and yourself from the elements, especially in the winter months.”
Of course, having an indoor option as a backup involves extra planning if it needs to be used. Bri Marbais, bridal stylist at The Bridal Finery, explains: “Depending on the space, it may require additional decor or offerings from vendors, such as lighting that your outdoor space may not require. Knowing what the indoor backup space looks like early on during the planning process and when exactly on the day of the call needs to be made will make things much smoother if the backup plan has to be implemented.”
Make sure guests are warm and cozy.
In the cooler months, outdoor weddings can still be enjoyable as long as everyone stays warm! Luckily, there are many ways to keep guests comfortable.
To start: “Have the right guest gear!” encourages Becca Taylor, planner and designer for Anthem House. “This may come in the form of customized guest blankets, fire pits, and heaters in storage to pull out as needed or a separate dance location for when the air gets chilly.”
Couples can even get creative with their favors, as Nora Sheils, founder of Bridal Bliss and co-founder of Rock Paper Coin, suggests: “An inexpensive pashmina can warm guests and serve as a thoughtful gift. If you have the budget, consider embroidering them with your event’s monogram or motif to make a chic keepsake. Plan for all the elements: cold, rain, wind, and soon. Be prepared with a hand warmer station, blankets, heaters, and cover.”
Lean into the chilly season.
If you’re tying the knot in late fall or winter, it’s likely because you enjoy the cooler weather! So, why not make the most of it?
“Cooler weather does not have to be a bad thing,” assures Roman. “Many fun elements can be brought into a winter celebration: lounge spaces with bonfires, chic heating stations, luxe throw blankets, warm drinks, and comfort food can all be part of the plan!”
Marbais adds: “Playoff of the cooler weather creatively through food and beverage. At arrival, couples should offer a warm and toasty beverage such as a spiked hot chocolate or coffee blend that the couple created together frothier guests. Having a soup bar would even be a really fun way to keep guests warm and do something different!”
As you can see, the weather doesn't need to get in the way of your ideal wedding. If anything, it can add to the fun with thematic elements that highlight the season! Just be mindful about notifying guests about the wedding plans so they can dress accordingly.
Taylor elaborates: “We recommend communicating the forecast plan and attire suggestions first on your wedding website and, secondly, on your customized guest timeline given to them upon their arrival in town.”
With cooler temps and darker nights, there’s something so intimate and inviting about fall and winter — don’t be afraid to embrace the seasons in your wedding celebrations!
Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding PR and wedding marketing firm OFD Consulting. Ely is a sought-after speaker, adjunct professor in the field of public relations, and a self-professed royal wedding enthusiast.