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You may think that because you are getting married in the middle of summer, your day couldn’t possibly be interrupted by rain. Let me assure you – anything is possible. I have seen rainstorms in summer, heat waves in autumn and bushfires in spring. None of these scenarios make for an enjoyable wedding day.
And if you aren’t concerned for yourselves, spare a thought for your guests; your family and friends who are taking the time to help you celebrate your special day. Do you want them to be shivering and huddling under umbrellas (if they even turn up), or would you rather they be relaxed and focused on how beautiful the ceremony is? Will you be happy if they are sitting in cold, wet clothes throughout the reception, or would you prefer everyone to be comfortable and able to enjoy the party? If your celebration is interrupted by someone fainting from heat and dehydration, won’t that put a dampener (no pun intended) on the day?
In my experience, the couples who enjoy their wedding day the most are those who expect the best and plan for the worst. The Plan B may not be your dream wedding option, but at least it’s an option. It means you won’t spend the 4 or 5 hours before your ceremony frantically phoning around, trying to find an alternative to your original plan. Instead, you can be excitedly sipping champagne while getting your makeup done or hitting a bucket of golf balls with the boys. (I know how I would prefer to be spending my time.)
So, here are my tips on things to consider in order to be prepared for any contingency, and yes some may seem over-the-top, but I do have some experience in this sort of thing!
If there is a chance of rain:
- Have an undercover or indoor option as standby – often your reception venue will be able to accommodate your ceremony in an emergency if you ask, if not perhaps look at hiring a marquee.
- Have some umbrellas on hand in case of light showers, at least enough for the bridal party if not for everyone.
- Brides and bridesmaids may wish to have an alternative to high heels if the ceremony is outdoors (flats are much easier on wet soggy ground, and the heels can be saved for the reception).
- A collection of knee rugs for guests, particularly the elderly or very young, can be a nice thought. (We have all been caught out dressing for fashion, rather than comfort, right?)
If it is likely to be hot:
- Consider whether there will be any shade at the ceremony. If planning in advance, visit the venue 1 year ahead on the exact date and time of your ceremony to see where the sun is positioned. Are there any trees that may have grown before your date?
- Large garden umbrellas can be a great way of providing shade if there is none, and can be made to look very pretty with fairy lights or flowers.
- Have a supply of bottled water on ice – this is usually easy for the groom and groomsmen to bring with them (and gives them something to do on the day to make them feel useful!!). Make sure you have plenty for the bridal party and guests, (and your celebrant and photographer will be especially grateful if it is offered).
- Sunscreen and insect repellent can be useful to have on hand – sprays are much easier to apply on the spot than lotions - and there will always be at least a few who will appreciate the thought.
If you are having a beach ceremony:
- Once again, flat shoes (or even no shoes) will look much more elegant than trying to trudge through sand in high heels.
- Will there be any disabled or elderly guests who may have difficulty on the beach? Keep in mind that many beaches have lovely lawned foreshore areas that are easier for everyone to access, while you still get the sea view and can have your beach photos.
- Wind is a big factor to consider with beach weddings, and can affect so many elements of the ceremony – your hair, your veil, how far your voices and the music will carry – in fact the only good thing about a windy wedding is that there are no flies!
- Have you checked the tide? If not, be prepared to be constantly moving throughout the ceremony to dodge incoming waves – again I speak from experience, and it is one I prefer not to repeat! Although it can be funny to begin with, it does kind of detract from the importance of the wedding ceremony.
Finally, remember that you will never please everyone, no matter how hard you try. But I find that a good rule of thumb is to think about what you would appreciate if you were the guest at your own wedding. It is the little touches, looking after the comfort of your family and friends that will show them how much you appreciate their presence, and make your wedding day really memorable for them and for you.