With more and more people choosing a civil marriage celebrant to officiate at their wedding, there are wonderful possibilities for custom-crafting your day. As you begin to research for your special day, the weather may be far removed from your mind. However, no matter how much you hope for a perfect day, Mother Nature will do precisely what she wants. Preparing for all types of weather conditions is essential.

Brides and grooms normally imagine their wedding day as filled with sunshine, with amazing pictures because of this. While plenty of sun is often the perfect backdrop to this special day, not all of your guests will want to be in full sun for hours on end. It’s fine if your ceremony is fairly short but asking guests to sit or stand in full sun for long periods of time can be extremely uncomfortable for them. If your reception is going to be outdoors as well, renting a marquee is a smart idea so that people can seek relief in the shade this will provide. A basket filled with sunscreen, cheap sunglasses and even paper hats is another way to show guests that you care about their wellbeing and comfort. Don’t forget that it’s not only the guests who are exposed to the sun. When the ceremony is in the open the bride and groom, bridesmaids and celebrant are likely to feel uncomfortable as well, so have some parasols handy to provide a bit of protection for them.

Here are some businesses in my local area (Sydney’s Lower North Shore) that hire marquees:


While splashing in the rain can be fun, that’s usually not the case for people dressed in formal wear. Even if it is normally nice during the month of your wedding, it’s important to remember that the only thing that’s predictable about the weather is its un-predictability.

Having a back-up plan for outdoor ceremonies (and receptions) is essential. Talk to a rental company to find out if it’s possible to have a request for a marquee the week of the wedding without paying upfront. Then you can watch the weather and spend the money only if it’s necessary. It’s best to hire a marquee that has sides to it because rain can blow in when there are open sides. Rental companies can give you all the details and limitations of the marquees they hire out.

Don’t forget that rain can have a big impact on your wedding photo shoot. Always have an indoor option as a Plan B. You don’t want your wedding dress to be stained by rain because that will show in your wedding photos. There are quite a few indoor facilities where you can take beautiful photos for a small fee, e.g. one might be Sydney University. Make sure you speak to the personnel at the venue in time to make sure someone else hasn’t booked it.

So if you’re afraid that there could be torrential rain on your special day, it’s worth considering booking an indoor location for your photos. Almost anywhere can be booked if you arrange it well in advance. Think modern or historic buildings, five-star hotel foyers, sporting venues, theatres, museums, libraries, universities and so on. The best option of all is a location that has some meaning to you both.

When rain and wind join forces, really unfavourable conditions are possible. Wind by itself can be less of a problem, but you still need to take precautions. Wind can have an impact on the audibility of the ceremony and strong gusts can prevent your guests from hearing the two of you as you exchange your vows during an outdoor ceremony. So you need to make sure you have high quality microphones and speakers. Also, even if the weather is sunny and warm, the wind can whisk away plates, napkins, and cups at an outdoor ceremony if you are having your reception in the same location. If the wind is powerful enough, it might even blow food and drinks to the ground. Making sure that all items are weighted or kept in an indoor area is the best idea.

Extreme Weather Conditions
A little bit of rain and a breeze that cools down a hot day won’t usually be much of a problem on your wedding day. However, extreme weather conditions such as thunder and lightning, hurricanes or flooding, can create genuine difficulties. Making provisions for such happenings is smart, especially if you’re getting married at a time of year when these things might occur. Also, understand that in severe weather conditions, some of your guests may need to cancel because it might be unsafe for them to travel in really bad weather conditions. If your guest list is dramatically reduced because of the weather, find out if your reception venue will offer you anything because you will most likely still be charged for the number of people you asked them to cater for. They might add in some extra starters or desserts for the people who can be there.

Even if the mercury isn’t near freezing point, low temperatures may still discourage people from spending much time outside. If you have your heart set on holding the ceremony outdoors and the reception area is partially open, think about having outdoor heaters. These are unlikely to draw crowds outside on the coldest of days, but they can help to heat up the perimeter when the weather is mildly chilly. Heaters can be rented from various places, such as:


Also, understand that your bridal party (and you!) may want to bundle up if your ceremony will be held in frigid air. Don’t forget to bring a jacket for your photoshoot. Before, after and when walking from one location to the other, you’ll be glad you brought something warm – possibly even wearing a beautiful pashmina or furry shrug while having your photos done. Just remember that if it is truly freezing you’re better off going with your Plan B, i.e. somewhere indoors!

Heat can be extremely dangerous, especially for people who are not very well. When your wedding ceremony and/or reception are held outdoors in the heat, make sure that plenty of water is available for people to have ready access to. Have strategically placed cooler bins filled with ice and bottles of water. Providing a shady spot as discussed in the sunshine section, and inexpensive folding paper fans can help people keep cool as well. If the weather is extremely hot, you may also wish to hire emergency personnel to have on hand in the event that someone does begin to suffer from the heat. At the least, keep a list of emergency numbers and reminders about the importance of staying cool handy.

Vulnerable people
Pay special attention to people who are more vulnerable to various outdoor conditions such as the elderly, babies, children and people who already experience physical challenges. You can ask someone you trust or your wedding planner to pay special attention to these groups of people.

The weather doesn’t have to ruin your wedding day, but you must prepare and plan for different types of adverse conditions in order to stay ahead of the weather and to make it work for you. Then you can relax and just enjoy the day.

Be careful not to let water drip from an umbrella on your documents!
Watch out for the drips

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