Is Rain on Your Wedding Day Good Luck?
By Wedding Spot
Although a rainy day can make anyone melancholy, it provides time for introspection and gratitude; it signifies the end of prolonged droughts and an opportunity for new life. With that in mind, is it true what they say? Is rain on your wedding day good luck, or is that idea just something wedding planners came up with to soothe frazzled couples?
Let’s find out.
We’ll explore the origins, interpretations, and perceived implications of wedding day rain. We’ll highlight the symbolism, religious customs, and cultural traditions centered around rain to finally answer the question, “Is rain on your wedding day good luck,” once and for all. Whether you’re preparing for your own wedding or planning one for friends or family, you’ll be able to finally answer the question, “is rain on your wedding day good luck”?.
Is rain on your wedding day good luck? Why? And who said so?
From filling the oceans and nourishing crops to making up most of the human body, water is vital to all life on earth; without it, we cannot survive. As a result, rain—the great water provider—is at the center of the world’s great religions, cultures, and traditions… including wedding traditions.
Ancient symbolism of rain
Rain symbolism has been seen throughout human history and examine how those meanings have given credence to the idea that rain on your wedding day is actually good luck.
• Fertility blessings
Since the origins of ancient society thousands of years ago, cultures worldwide have viewed rain as a deeply meaningful symbol representing life and fertility. Tlaloc, the celebrated Aztec god of rain, played an essential role in the lives of the Aztec people, who associated the natural cycle of rain with prosperity, agriculture, and crop fertility. When translated, the name “Tlaloc” means “he who makes things sprout.” Rain gods span many cultures: Zeus, the Greek god of storms, Agwe in the Caribbean, Kuraokami in Japan, and many more.
Rain has remained a spiritual symbol of fertility, life, rebirth, and renewal as various cultures and their mythology spread. The Hawaiian god of rain, Lono, even doubles as the god of fertility. Weddings are often associated with starting a family, a belief at the heart of many familial cultures. In family-focused cultures, rain on your wedding day is viewed as a fertility blessing, representing well wishes and success in beginning a family.
• Rain brings abundance
Rain also holds a special place in the roots of Hinduism, representing renewal, rebirth, devotion, and abundance. A representation of the sacrificial relationship between gods and men, rain was viewed as a gift, a privilege, to be earned. During the Vedic period, from 1500-600 BC, falling rain was perceived as an endowment bestowed by gods upon the land, showering the ground with gratitude for the offerings and sacrifices made by the people. The Vedic people perceived rain as the gods’ ability to impregnate the land, control life, and grant abundance. The gods alone could give the gift, but they could also take it away.
• Cleansing and purity
As rain falls, it washes away the dirt, grime, and mess left behind by what came before it. The cleansing properties of rain symbolize renewal and new beginnings, purity, and being born again. For centuries, purity was at the heart of many marital traditions, especially Christian ceremonies. The quintessential white wedding dress has been worn by brides throughout history as a symbol of their purity, virginity, and virtue.
In addition to displays of purity, the cleansing properties of falling water (or rain) are at the core of many Christian traditions. Look to baptism rituals, for example, to see the symbolism in action; water can cleanse away sins to leave one refreshed and reborn. In line with these rituals and traditions, wedding day rainfall represents rebirth as a couple, symbolizing a fresh start for the new union.
• Tears of joy
Believe it or not, tears are one of the most commonly referenced symbols represented by rain—but thankfully—these are happy tears. Catholics believe that rain can also represent the tears of the Virgin Mary, crying for the world’s sins, washing them away, and cleansing the people. Furthermore, many believe that raindrops that fall on your wedding day represent the last tears that the newlyweds will ever cry, as their future will undoubtedly be a long, happy one.
Does rain on your wedding day represent a strong marriage?
The ancient symbolism of rain has significantly influenced the belief that rain on your wedding day is a blessing, a sign of good things to come. In addition to rain being perceived as a gift from the gods or a general symbol of prosperity, rain during a handfasting ceremony is a gift from nature, helping to strengthen the bonds of marriage.
What is a handfasting ceremony?
Handfasting ceremonies are ancient marriage traditions traced back as far as 7000 B.C. that still take place today. During a handfasting ceremony, the soon-to-be newlyweds have their hands bound by a rope, ribbon, or cord. A knot is tied around the couple’s hands, enjoining them together, and creating a physical representation of the bonds of marriage. This is where the well-known phrase “tying the knot” comes from.
The ancient Celts believed that if it rained during the handfasting ceremony, the couple's bonds would be stronger and harder to break. But why? Why would rain have any impact on the marriage at all?
How does rain impact a handfasting ceremony?
When a rope gets wet, it becomes harder to maneuver. The material swells slightly, filling the open space between the cordage. During a handfasting ceremony, if the binding material becomes wet with rain, it strengthens the knot, making it more difficult to untie. As the knot represents the marriage bond, a wet handfasting knot symbolizes a stronger union that is harder to break.
Other popular wedding traditions and what they represent
Some of the most well-known traditions come from old superstitions, and many of the wedding customs we still observe today were initially instituted to ward off evil, prevent bad luck, and promote fertility. Attempts to protect the couple during the wedding ceremony and manifest blessings for the future are at the heart of numerous nuptial traditions.
Once upon a time, future brides were seen as incredibly vulnerable individuals. It was believed that they were particularly susceptible to the influence of evil spirits, demons, and other entities with mal intentions. Hence, various modern wedding traditions were born from a desire to protect the bride—and her innocence—during the ceremony, including customs like:
• Bridal veils. Originally worn more as a costume than decoration, brides wore veils to disguise themselves, making it more difficult for spiritual enemies to find her. Veils were worn to ward off those with wicked intentions, like jealous spirits, and to distract evildoers who intended to corrupt or steal the bride-to-be.
• Wedding bells. The loud and energetic ringing of church bells was believed to dispel evil spirits in Celtic traditions. When run on high, the sacred sounds would dispel malicious entities from ceremony grounds, keeping the celebration safe from those who would do it harm. As wedding customs have evolved, the image of two bells has become a staple symbol on wedding invitations and décor.
• Carrying the bride over the threshold. This ancient Roman tradition, traced through medieval Europe, came from the fear that evil spirits could curse a new bride through the soles of her feet. By preventing the bride’s feet from touching the ground, her partner protected their union from exposure to harmful, malicious spirits wishing to enter their home. The groom’s final act of nuptial valor was protecting his bride one last time from evil forces hoping to kidnap her.
In addition to dispelling evil spirits and bad intentions, multiple wedding customs we still partake in were initially intended to invoke good luck and long, happy marriages, including:
• Not seeing each other before the big reveal. The tradition of the bride and groom keeping apart from one another until the official walk down the aisle was originally born from practicality. In the not-so-distant past, many unions took place via arranged marriage practices. During arranged marriage ceremonies, the bride and groom would often not see one another until the wedding occurred. The custom is primarily kept in modern weddings because it adds excitement and a dash of theatricality to the ceremony. Keeping with this tradition is rumored to prevent bad luck.
• Breaking glass: In the Jewish faith, newlyweds break a fabric-wrapped glass during wedding ceremonies for several reasons. First and foremost, the ritual represents the destruction of the Holy Temple, an extremely personal and profound event in the Jewish community. The breaking of glass also symbolizes the newlyweds breaking away from their past selves to create a new, unified life together. In Italy, it is believed that the number of shards that the glass breaks into represents the number of years that the newlyweds will be married.
How to plan for rain on your wedding day
Picture this: you’ve booked a beautiful outdoor wedding venue, and you’ve never been more excited, but when the morning of the wedding comes, it’s pouring outside. The skies have opened up, and you have no idea what you’re going to do.
Although rain on your wedding day is supposed to be good luck, it can still be a hassle—especially if you don’t have a plan. To better prepare for the impacts of wet or inclement weather, follow these tips:
1. Start preparing early
If you’re preparing for an outdoor wedding, plan for rain from the very beginning. Keep the possibility of bad weather at the forefront of your mind when selecting a venue, choosing the ceremony location, and confirming your wedding’s order of events. Even if rain occurs on the big day, you’ll be well prepared and able to celebrate stress-free.
2. Confirm venue rain plans
If you’re planning to book an outdoor wedding venue, bring up the potential for rain during initial venue site tours. Inquire about the venue’s “Rain Plan” or “Plan B.”
• Is there a rollout cover to protect guests from the elements?
• Are outdoor reception tents available?
• If it rains and you need tents, will the venue charge additional fees?
• Can the wedding move indoors in the event of extreme weather?
Write your questions down in advance, so you don’t forget anything. Furthermore, the type of wedding venue you book will determine the rain policies, procedures, and accommodations in place. Ask venues for a copy of their standard contract to review before signing anything. Pay close attention to any clauses that mention rain, inclement weather, and setup change fees.
3. Rent an event tent
Whether your venue provides it or you need to rent it from an event supply company, acquiring tenting for your wedding can go a long way toward ensuring guest comfort, satisfaction, and a successful day. In addition to protecting against unexpected rain, an outdoor event tent will help shield your guests from the sun on warm days, block the wind, and protect food from pesky insects.
Event tents come in many shapes, sizes, and styles, so look for one that matches your wedding theme and color scheme. Clear-topped tents won’t protect against daytime sun as well as canvas-topped tents will, but they are perfect for evening weddings, allowing guests to enjoy unencumbered views of the overnight sky. Even on cloudy days, a clear-topped tent can help wedding guests feel cozy, adding an air of mystery to the whole event. The gray clouds, mist, and fog that tend to accompany rainy days could provide the perfect moody backdrop for stunning wedding day snapshots.
4. Discuss rain potential with vendors
Work with outside wedding vendors, such as the caterer, DJ, or bartending professionals, to create a rain plan. Will they provide rain protection, like tents, or require coverage from the venue? Will they need direct access to electrical outlets? How have they handled rain during outdoor events in the past? Inquiring about past rain experience is vital, as a good DJ can assist with any location transitions or schedule changes caused by rain—all while keeping energy and enthusiasm high.
5. Create a rain plan with the photographer
If there is a high likelihood of rain, the photographer may want to plan an advanced photo session. Couples may have to forgo the first-look shoot to prevent ruining their outfits and makeup, or the photographer may offer to reschedule specific shoots for a future date. Discuss rain options with your photographer ahead of time to prevent stressful misunderstandings brought on by wedding day rain.
6. Organize a plan for hair and makeup
Even if the ceremony and reception occur inside, plan for potential exposure to the elements during the transportation process. Downpours or sudden wind gusts may catch you off-guard when leaving the car or walking to the reception.
Avoid last-minute calamities by creating a rain plan with your makeup artist, stylist, and hairdresser before the big day. Select a sunny day look that will hold in dry air and withstand a gentle breeze, as well as a rainy day look that takes frizz, unmanageable manes, and protective gear into account. Prepare the wedding party by providing rain boots, jackets, and umbrellas. Offer bonnets and visors to anyone who needs them.
7. Give your guests a heads-up
Use your wedding website to keep guests up-to-speed on weather changes or make attire suggestions. Include Plan B information that guests would find helpful. For example, if rain on your wedding day will lead to a change in event venue or location, let guests know ahead of time to help reduce confusion on the day of the event. Encourage guests to wear boots, bring umbrellas, pack a change of outfit, or prepare to dance in the rain. Take advantage of the opportunity to set the tone for the celebration.
8. Offer umbrellas at your welcome station
Even if you update wedding guests ahead of time, one of your loved ones is sure to forget to pack an umbrella. Help keep guests dry and comfortable with umbrella welcome gifts or a rain-themed wedding welcome station. In addition to having spare umbrellas available for guest use, ensure that umbrella-sized plastic bags are available. Guests can place their wet umbrellas inside the bags upon arrival to keep the venue floors dry and prevent slippage.
If you need additional help planning for inclement weather, check out the complete guide to rain on your wedding day. You’ll find additional preparation ideas, makeup tips, dress protection protocol, and more. And maybe, after everything you’ve read here, you’ll find yourself embracing the rain on your wedding day!
It looks like rain on your wedding day is good luck after all!
Now that you’ve answered the age-old question, “Is rain on your wedding day good luck,” take a look at some other traditions that have stood the test of time. We review more long-standing nuptial practices, like matching bridesmaid dresses, registering for wedding gifts, and the first dance. We discuss the pros and cons of each to help you decide which wedding traditions to keep and which to drop.