What if it Rains on your Elopement Day? Preparation and Tips

Rain can be a very real part of eloping adventurously, but that doesn’t mean it has to ruin the day! You’re likely eloping because you wanted something other than have a cookie cutter wedding day, and have a totally unique getting married experience. If rain ends up being on the forecast, you can choose to look at it as simply a part of your story, or come up with a “rain plan”.

Keep reading for my tips and expert advice for how to elope on a rainy day.

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“There is no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear.”

…is a good general rule of thumb. But obviously if it’s unsafe to be outdoors as a crazy weather system rolls through, you’ll want to implement a backup plan. It is also so much fun to embrace the elements and work with mother nature if the conditions allow!

When you have the right gear, you get to experience the outdoors like not very many people do. And to have an experience like that the day you get married, makes for a pretty cool story if you ask me!

How to Decide Whether to Embrace or Pivot from Rain When You Elope

Given my 14 year of wedding photography experience, I’ve learned a thing or two about working with the elements. Here’s a 3-tier system I’ve developed to help you decide whether to embrace or pivot from the rain on your elopement day:

 


LEVEL ONE

Forecast doesn’t show any thunderstorms, chance of rain 60% or less in your area. The rain likely won’t be consistent for the entire day, and you might even welcome it if you’re eloping on a typically hot day. Days like these sometimes bring the most epic sunsets with all the clouds and colors. 

– Embrace! –


LEVEL TWO

Forecast says 80%+ chance of rain, cloudy all day, likely won’t see the sun at all. This is totally up to you and how much you love dark and moody photos and in real life. I personally loooove this type of weather! It doesn’t always mean it’s raining consistently, which means you can put the umbrellas down as you go. You’d have to be ok with getting a little muddy, wearing rain gear and holding an umbrella. This one just depends on your comfort zone and taste for adventure. 

– My advice is a tie between embrace and pivot – decide based on your comfort level. –


LEVEL THREE

Forecast says thunderstorms all day. Dang. Since this will not be safe to be in, nor very fun, you’ll have to pivot to an indoor ceremony and consider spending the day doing indoor activities.

– Pivot –

What Pivoting Can Look Like

In any scenario, talk to your vendors ahead of time about your ‘rain plan’. It’s good to have one in place so that you can rest easy leading up to the day and know that whatever happens, you have all of your bases covered and are ready to have a good time!

 

MOVE YOUR CEREMONY INDOORS:
You can have your ceremony indoors. This is a great reason to pick lodging that is both cute and spacious enough for this very reason. If you choose to elope in an area that gets a lot of rain, I would prioritize picking lodging you would also be comfortable with getting married in. 

 

MOVE TO A DIFFERENT LOCATION ENTIRELY:
Depending on your situation and everyone’s schedules, you could simply drive away from the bad weather and have your elopement somewhere else.  The PNW has LOTS of cool places to choose from all within driving distance from each other so think of the surrounding areas and come up with plans B & C before your elopement so that you’re not stressing.

 

ELOPE THE DAY BEFORE OR DAY AFTER: 

This all depends on the weather, your vendors schedules and contractual obligations. Most of the time we are easy going and understanding that these things happen so don’t be afraid to bring up the idea. We are here for you!

 

PRO-TIP:
Check the average weather patterns for the last 5 years. That should help you gauge what to expect for your day or pick a different date entirely if you need to. Search the date at your elopement location and the average weather there for the last 5 years.

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Pros and Cons of Eloping in the Rain

Pros: 

  • Less Crowds because most people are not prepared for rain – but you are! Now that you’re reading this article!

  • Romantic Moody Vibes – just like the movies

  • Vibrant foliage – have you ever taken a walk through the woods after a good rainfall? The colors are so bright and beautiful!

  • Gushing Waterfalls

  • Cooler Temperatures if you’re eloping on a typically hot day

  • Potential for RAINBOWS!!!

  • Do it for the plot – you’ll get mad respect from people when you tell your story! 😉

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Cons:

Honestly, if you are prepared with the right gear, it’s hard to find any! As long as you can stay warm and dry, you will have a good time. Make sure your photographer / videographer is comfortable shooting in the rain and knows how to keep their own gear dry so they can document everything with ease. Here are just a few things to keep in mind:

Find rain gear that’s still cute in pictures. A clear dome shaped umbrella will keep you dry and won’t clash with any of the colors in your wedding attire. Clear ponchos will keep your outfits visible, are easy to put on and take off or you could pick a solid color that complements what you’re wearing. You can find a cute white rain jacket to complement your wedding dress or if you have a non-white dress, a jacket color that complements the color you’re wearing.

Limited Hairstyle Options – If you have straight hair, it won’t hold a curl even with the best of products. My advice is to come up with a beautiful braid option so that your hair stays looking fabulous and in place. If you have naturally curly hair, pin it away from your face and let it do its thing! I personally love letting curls go natural – but I am no hairstylist. Consult your hairstylist for their expert guidance.

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What to Pack for a Rainy Elopement Day

  • waterproof makeup

  • waterproof shoes – not water resistant – (more on this below)

  • rain jacket // Clear Poncho // Rain Pants (either or)

  • clear umbrellas

  • extra Socks

  • extra undergarments

  • handwarming packets

  • gloves (optional)

  • thermal layers, smart wool is a great go-to

  • towels

  • change of shoes in the car

  • a good attitude – these things happen. There is no such thing as “perfect weather”

  • Prepare your guests (if any) with this list as well as your ‘rain plan’

 Rain Friendly Elopement Attire

I know you want to look chic on your wedding day, and I don’t think you need to sacrifice style for comfort when you are choosing to elope!

Here are a few things to consider while choosing your outfits and their practicality for the day:

  1. Choose a light weight dress and the comfiest hiking shoes you can find. Nothing is worse than feeling bogged down or your feet getting sore after just an hour or two. You want to be care-free and in the moment as best you can, so make sure your attire is as comfy as can be!

  2. Consider a dark colored dress if you are worried about mud. I personally love the muddy ombré look but to each their own!

  3. As mentioned earlier, pick a hairstyle that’s hard to ‘ruin’ in the rain. Beautiful braids are my go-to, but you can also bobby-pin it around your face and let it do its natural thing. Your hairstylist (if applicable) can help you figure out which products will work best for this too.

  1. I realize most of this advice so far is geared toward women but guys don’t seem to have as many variables to think about. My biggest advice for to have comfortable shoes and please make 1000% sure that they are broken-in beforehand! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve had grooms complain about their feet on their wedding day even after I gave them this advice. Please don’t ignore this advice! If you want to wear loafers for your portraits, wear your waterproof shoes in between locations and switch once you get there. Definitely don’t hike in fancy loafers unless you are absolutely certain they won’t hurt your feet!

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 Indoor Activities for a Rainy Elopement Day

Lastly, if your elopement day ends up totally rained out, take some time to think about the following questions to help you IMAGINE what fun activities you could incorporate on your rainy elopement day:

What does a typical date night look like for you? The kind you put some effort in.

Is it a cozy night in, cooking scrumptious meals together? Baking yummy deserts?

Dancing in the kitchen while you wait for UberEats? 

Stargazing with a telescope? 

How about making fun cocktails or mocktails together at your AirBnB? 

Are you big Thrift Store hoppers? 

Historial Museum lovers? 

You can recreate some of those moments in photos, to encapsulate the memories of your interests at this time in your lives together.

Rain Friendly Elopement Hairstyles:

This is all up for preference but my personal favorite braids. Braids will always stay in place and you can get really creative with the type of braid you choose.

 

PIN VIDEO –  PIN VIDEO –  PIN VIDEO

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 Rain Friendly Elopement Shoes

I know I keep bringing shoes up but it’s so important! You can’t have much fun if you aren’t comfy. Here are a few companies I have found in my experience have proven to be the best for both functional and comfortable shoes in rainy weather:

 Bogs

Cole Haan

Timberland

Hunter

Did that help?

If you are in search for a wedding photographer, I’d love to help you plan and photograph all of the memories of your elopement. As an expert elopement photographer, it is my greatest joy to help couples IMAGINE what the best day ever could look like for them. Full of meaningful, personalized touches that really encapsulate your relationship and commitment to each other.

I am passport prepared and ready to travel anywhere in the world.

Reach out to learn more!

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about the author:

portrait photo of Mia from Imagine Elopements

Hi! I’m Mia!

I live in a tiny cabin in the woods of central Oregon and have been photographing wedding celebrations since 2010. My love languages are quality time and travel.

I created Imagine Elopements to encourage more couples to really think about the possibilities of what their ultimate wedding day could look like. Getting married is a big deal. The way you get married should be as unique as the life you’re building together. If that resonates with you at all, I would love to help you imagine your perfect elopement day. ♥︎

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