The Importance of a Wedding Ceremony Backup Plan

I recently did a couple of weddings in the month of April and both were outdoor weddings, and both rained in the begging of the ceremony. When I film weddings, I have rain gear for my cameras but often I stand there in the rain praying and hoping the moisture will simply move onward. While I’m standing there working, your guests and wedding party are certainly not having a fun time. With that, I want to talk to you today about having an outdoor wedding in our region of Virginia and encourage you to always have a backup plan in case of bad weather.

Listen to Smart Wedding Planners

Smart wedding planners will many times look ahead to the forecast and they’ll have a backup plan in case of rain, be it inside a venue or underneath a tent.  Do me a favor, LISTEN to your wedding planner’s advice. If there is a chance of rain during your ceremony, more than 25%, have your wedding indoors.

I’ve been to so many weddings where the couple, usually the bride, insist on having the wedding outdoors, many times it’s ideal to have it outside, but when there is a chance of wet weather, you, your wedding party, your wedding guests and the hired help are all going to be miserable.

Umbrella’s Don’t Help


You might be thinking that an umbrella will help the situation, but for those sitting a couple rows back as a guest, you won’t be able to see because of the rows of umbrellas in front of you. The wedding photographer and me, the wedding videographer will also have a hard time if people stand up with them or there are many with some being high up.

The Gear, Oh, the Gear!

For the DJ, the photographer and videographer, rain is the worst. DJ’s have the worst of it- bringing electrical power out to the wet grass with a speaker, sound board, wireless mic or two, can cause some serious damage to the sound gear.

It’s not as bad for me if I use rain gear, its basically plastic bags designed for cameras that provide some level of weather protection and most of the gear I use has weather sealing, it helps prevent moisture from getting into the camera systems. Wedding photographers on the other hand, since they use larger sensor camera systems, many older DSLR’s are not weather sealed.

Some Wedding Guests Will Leave

If it starts raining, many times guests, especially older ones will get up during the ceremony and leave. Those with umbrellas will usually stay but those that have a hard time seeing through them, will many times leave for the indoors too. Just be prepared for having some people get up and some people protect themselves if it rains.

Which leads me to you, the couple. You guys will have the worst of it. Brides usually will have hair and makeup done and I’ve seen at times where makeup will run because of the downpour. Also, being soaked wet in a wedding dress is not fun and it add a lot more weight to a dress that’s already heavy with layers of fabric and design. If you’re lucky, someone will have an umbrella for you, but more times than none, the wedding itself will simply stop.

In the wedding I did a week or so ago, there was a 60% chance of rain, you could see it in the distance. And sure enough, right when the grandparents started to walk out from the venue, it started to pour down rain, badly. Before the grandparents could get over to the grass, guests were walking back to the venue to cover up and everyone was headed in, including the DJ, the photographer, the officiant and myself as seen in the video clip.

Luckily, the rain blew over after about 5 minutes and we were ready to try again. The bad part for me however, I didn’t have the time to setup all the cameras in the right places that I did before, so I had to make do with what I had. I still had 3 cameras (I had 4 cameras before the rain) but I didn’t get to place them in the same locations as before.  While the wedding ceremony video worked, it was a hard one to film.

The Backup Plan

It’s simple really. If it’s calling for rain with 25%+ of showers, have an indoor backup, a tent, the venue, under a tree. Being able to have some sort of a backup plan, even if its to wait until a shower passes over is a smart play. Luckily, I have that rain gear for my cameras and if need be, I can just wear a hat when filming to help keep me focused. I feel for the guests, the bridal party and the other vendors that are not so lucky at times when rain happens.