How to Handle Bad Weather on Your Wedding Day

Post summary: Not knowing how to handle bad weather on your wedding day can be a stressor early on in the planning process. Let's go through some tools together to help you be prepared for whatever adventure mother nature throws your way!

Are you delirious with wedding day visions? I know the feeling. I remember planning for my elopement and swimming in romantic fantasies. Every night for the months leading up to our elopement I lay in bed envisioning how the day would go.

Maybe it would rain (that’s good luck, right?), but it would be light and brief just for 30 minutes right before our ceremony. And then there would be a rainbow in the background as we said our vows. And maybe an eagle would swoop down and pose dramatically in the backdrop. Heck, maybe there’d be a whole convocation (that’s the name for a group of eagles!) dive bombing and soaring in the background and one of them would come and place the ring on my finger!

Can’t a girl dream? 

The answer is yes! Those dreams are what brought your special forever buddy into your life. And, as cheesy as it may sound, finding your perfect human and wanting to be with them for the rest of your life really is a dream come true. Real life fairy tales, yo!

When dreams meet reality (and weather)

And then...there’s also the reality that on the day of your elopement, for all your hopes and dreams and meticulous planning, there are a near infinite amount of variables that are beyond your control. The weather being first and foremost among those variables, especially if you’re eloping in the Pacific Northwest

So, how do you handle bad weather on your wedding day? With grace and good humor. With flexibility and openness. But most of all with a reminder that you are with your human on this special day and nothing can take that away.

I know what you’re thinking. That’s all well and good, Katie. But what if the weather is the literal worst and it ruins my wedding!? What if all my preparation and my entire vision is wiped out by a torrential downpour or a volcano exploding or a sharknado!?

I hear you. I feel you. And you gotta trust me that I have been in the business long enough to have seen just about everything that could go wrong. But every time. Every. Single. Time. My couples and I find a way to make the day magical and memorable and perfect – despite or because of the imperfections.

But don’t worry! I’m not just going to offer romantic notions and shrug off the potential of Pacific Northwest weather tantrums. I’m here to offer legit avenues for working with or around weather on your wedding day.

So, without further ado, let’s get into how to handle bad weather on your wedding day.

1. Roll With It

First and foremost, you gotta channel your inner ball –and roll with it! You can’t control the weather but you can control your attitude and how you deal with it. When life gives you lemons you make lemonade (then set up a lemonade stand and cash in!). When life gives you rain, you make gorgeous moody photos and puddle-jumping memories that you’ll look back on and feel the joy every time you revisit your wedding book.

Remember, bad weather on your wedding day will only ruin your day if you let it! Be all like: “Weather, you won’t wash out this elopement! You can’t rain out this love parade! We’re still doing this, dammit!” Or, you know, something like that.

2. Prepare in Advance

One thing that is in your control when it comes to the potential for bad weather on your wedding day is how you prepare. Worried about rain? Bring layers, rain coats, hiking boots and, most importantly, a clear umbrella (they photograph the best!). Looking like snow? Hand warmers, snow boots, gloves, you know the drill. In the case of extreme heat, you best stay hydrated – bring more water than you think you’ll need! Slap on the sunscreen, bring a battery powered fan and opt for a shady spot. 

Big picture, think about the weather and all the potential elements when choosing outfits, makeup, hair, etc. Additionally, make sure your guests are in town at least the day before so they can adjust to the weather and tell them to come prepared as well.

The last thing you can do to prepare is to have a backup plan. Weather is fickle. Nature, as beautiful as she is, doesn’t always want to cooperate. So, have a backup plan (I can help you create a plan B, C or D, if needed!). This is one of the best ways to handle bad weather on your wedding day. It will take the stress out of the equation and make pivoting plans so much easier. 

3. Don't Stress About It Early On

Can you see the future? (Like, seriously, because if you can I could use a fortune teller!). Most of us can’t know for certain what tomorrow will hold, let alone weeks or months in advance. When you stress about events or bad wedding day weather before it happens, you just sour the mood and take away from the joy you could be experiencing with your fiance right NOW! 

No one can really say how the weather will be on the day of your wedding, even if you’re checking the weather channel every .5 seconds. I literally had one elopement where it rained, snowed, was super cloudy and then we had full sun – all in one day! In the Pacific Northwest the weather changes daily and hourly. Weather happens. Stressing about it in advance won’t help. And it will rob you of those giddy engagement moments that you can’t ever get back.

4. Be Flexible

How’s your downward dog? How about your pigeon pose? Can’t put your foot behind your head? No worries, we’ll get you in some heated yoga classes before the big day! But, jokes aside, flexibility is key to a fantastic wedding day.

Does it look like the weather’s going to be too hot for your ceremony at noon? Maybe you could fleeeex a bit and move it to morning when it’s cooler (plus you could catch a killer sunrise!). Forecast calling for rain? Let’s stretch the day out so you can leave enough room in the timeline to wait out the drizzle.

You get the picture. Build some adaptation and elasticity into your elopement dreams, that’s the secret to having the best day ever and handling bad weather on your wedding day.

couple saying their vows on Cannon Beach, Oregon

5. Make Sure Your Photographer Can Handle the Weather

You need to be able to count on your photographer to capture the very best images in any conditions. I shoot with weatherproof Nikon cameras so I never have to worry about rain or snow. I have also photographed elopements in deserts, rain forests, mountains, canyons, oceans, in rain, snow, wind, extreme heat – seriously, name a landscape or a type of weather and I’ve photographed in it!

Beyond just getting the shots, you also need to fall back on them when you’re stressed, crying, or full on freaking out about how to handle bad weather on your wedding day. Hey, it happens. The weather can be a big cause for worry. Nerves are already high and feelings are magnified. Even the best wedding day can be an emotional rollercoaster. But throw in some bad weather and it can put a damper on the day. 

But you better believe that I’ve got your back in any type of weather! I know it can be hard to see through the clouds, but I can make dreamy photos in any setting. And I can help boost your spirits, help you see the bright side and bring in the joy. 

6. Be Okay Getting a Little Dirty

The nature of Nature is that it’s full of things like trees, animals, rocks, sand and dirt (just to name a few elements). Eloping and exploring outside means you’re bound to get a little dirty, sandy, muddy, wet and windswept. Please, please, please find a way to be okay with this. If possible, find a way to embrace it and be thrilled with it!

Remember, dirt don’t hurt and those rough and rugged photos are what you came to the Pacific Northwest for. And remind yourself that those snapshots are going to look soooo good! The stains on your dress and the mud between your toes will remind you forever of this magical day.

7. Remember, It's All a Part of the Adventure

You wanted an elopement in nature, right? You were looking for adventure and the experience of a lifetime, or did I just make that up? 

Ask and you shall receive! Eloping in the great outdoors is an adventure. Weather is part of that adventure. We can (and we will!) prepare for potential storms and do our best to handle bad weather on your wedding day. But at the end of the day, remember it’s all about marrying your person and cherishing every single second of this special day (and the rest of your life, NBD) with them, regardless of what mother nature decides to bring on your wedding day. 

And in conclusion… Let’s elope!

Whether or not the weather cooperates exactly how you’d like it to on your wedding day, you chose to elope for a reason. Remember this.

If you wanted that traditional wedding in a church (or whatever indoor venue), then you would have done it, right? But something about an elopement in nature, with no ceiling to confine you and the raw beauty surrounding you just spoke to who you are as a couple. You chose each other and you chose this way to honor your lifelong commitment. 

Keep that in your mind and heart when you look at the forecast on your wedding day. I know, I know, it’s a big cheesy slice of cheese, but just eat it! (Preferably with some crackers and wine). Just continue to remind yourself when you look in your partner’s eyes: They are your shelter in any kind of weather. 


In order to make your dream elopement day happen, it's super important that we connect and that you feel comfortable with me! The best way to do this is to reach out and schedule a call so you can learn more about me and I can learn about you two so i can document what's real + the most important to you.

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