bride and groom smiling under umbrella during rainy wedding day

Rain on Your Wedding Day: The Complete Guide

Jul 30, 2021
By Wedding Spot

Uh oh! You’ve just opened up the weather app, saw that there might be rain on your wedding day, and don’t know what to do. Well, don’t cue up Alanis Morissette just yet, because we’ve created this guide to help you weather the storm.

While rain on your wedding day may seem unlucky, there are actually some very positive superstitions associated with it. That’s why we’ve decided to shine a light on the myths and truths behind rain on your wedding day once and for all. Keep reading to discover the history behind rain on your wedding day beliefs, plus lots of useful tips on how to deal with a little downpour — no matter how much time you have left to plan.

What’s the old saying about rain on your wedding day?

Rain on your wedding day is said to mean that your marriage will last the test of time. These beliefs have widely been adopted to soothe stressed-out engaged couples all over the world. But their roots trace back to Hinduism.

In Hinduism, rain (Varsha) is associated with renewal, devotion, sorrow, and compassion. Rain helps nourish the earth and its inhabitants while also purifying the atmosphere. It is also said that rain is an aspect of nature that brings cheer and sadness to the mortal world.

While that last part may sound like a bad thing, the book Drunk Tank Pink explains that Americans sometimes have an aversion to anything but optimism, whereas many Eastern cultures (some of which practice Hinduism) believe that balance is not only essential, but ideal. So really, having cheer and sadness in the same symbol is quite beautiful.

What does rain on your wedding day mean, really?

There are several ways to interpret your fortune when you see storms forecasted for your big day.

  • Symbolism. Reddit user flawedXphasers pointed out that “Rain is very symbolic in fine literature for a new beginning; a fresh start.” It’s also associated with renewal and growth (like when watering a freshly planted seed).

  • Practicality. You might need to stock up on supplies ahead of time. And, most importantly, make sure your guests have safe and dry transport, walkways, and seating throughout the day.

  • Emotion. Anticipating rain on your wedding day is a polarizing experience for many. Some couples worry how rain will affect everything they’ve been planning and paying for. Others are excited about the experience. Both reactions are valid.

As far as we’re concerned, rain on your wedding day is only bad luck if you don’t prepare for it. In fact, even if it rains on your wedding day out of nowhere, it might even be good luck!

What do you do if it rains on your wedding day?

If it rains on your wedding day, all you have to do is communicate. First, communicate with your partner. Check-in with how you’re both feeling and what you’d like to do to respond to this change. Once you know what you'd like to do, you can either share this with your planner or day-of coordinator or move on to the next steps.

Next, communicate with your venue. If the forecast predicts a downpour, your venue point person should lead the charge. But don’t worry: These things happen all the time, and the trained professionals involved in your wedding day have more than likely already dealt with it a bunch of times. If you were planning a fully outdoor wedding, chances are your venue has a tent or additional indoor space to combat these things.

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Then, touch base with your vendors. Ask them what they need help with now that it’s raining on location if they aren’t there already.

After, fill in your bridal party. If your venue point person or vendors need extra hands, delegate the tasks to your party.

Finally, notify the rest of your guests about changes that affect them. They don’t need to know about all the behind-the-scenes drama — a friendly heads-up to bring an umbrella should do.

How do you deal with wedding day weather stress?

Sometimes, no matter how positive we try to be, the fact is that some couples really do feel like the rain will put a damper on their wedding day. That is a valid and reasonable response. If you’re not superstitious and don’t know how to keep your party dry, it can be a daunting experience. The good news is that you’re not alone.

In fact, one Reddit user asked a very similar question after they saw it was forecasted to rain on their wedding day. Dozens of people responded with their own experiences. In a nutshell: it wasn’t all that bad.

Here’s some of what they had to say:

  • Your outdoor wedding photos will still be beautiful. As Reddit user WaitForIttt says, “Time to get some nice umbrellas and remember how beautiful rainy day wedding pictures can be! Seriously, don't stress over this. Rain isn't the end of outdoor pictures and certainly not the end of lovely ones.” Plus, overcast weather is preferred by some photographers because diffused light looks better anyway, and it keeps people from squinting in the sunlight.

  • The weather might end up being fine anyway. "It was 100% chance of rain up until the morning of my wedding,” shares maeby_not on Reddit. “Then it only drizzled early in the morning and was cloudy and cool all day.”

  • You’ll regret stressing out over it. “The weather is the only thing you can't control,” says legacy057. “Just accept whatever it is and move on… I drove myself crazy leading up to our wedding. In the 2 weeks leading up, the weather went from 70 and sunny with 0% chance of rain, to 66 with 100% chance of rain and severe thunderstorms. We still somehow got a window to do everything outside.”

  • No, seriously, don’t worry about it. Another commenter agreed with the last point, stating “I was a mess and obsessing about the weather right up until the wedding day, but when I woke up that day I realized that I could either just roll with it or make myself miserable over something I couldn't control.”

  • You really can fake it until you make it. Itscadynotcaddy wrote, “If you pretend like you're super excited about (the rain), sometimes you can trick yourself into believing it!” Even in the worst-case scenario, you’re still getting married, which is reason enough to smile.

  • Bring a backup dress. If you don’t want to risk your wedding gown getting soaked, change into a white dress that you bring just for pictures in the rain.

At the end of the day, no matter how much you worry about it, you might not end up caring anymore once your wedding day is here.

“This is the one piece of advice I found to be the least immediately helpful but the most true of anything I heard,” says salty_margarita. “The day of your wedding, you won't care. I promise, the weather will be the last thing on your mind.”

“Your photographer will escort you to your Plan B location and you won't care. You will be so blissed out that you married your best friend. It took until about 10 minutes before the ceremony, but after that, I couldn't believe how little I cared about anything other than how happy we were. That's what will show in your pictures, more than anything.”

Discover 6 practical tips for how to prepare for rain on your wedding day:

Preparing for rain on your wedding day doesn’t have to be expensive or hard. You can borrow or rent many of the items you’ll need from neighbors, guests, and even your venue.

Regardless of how much or how little you think it will rain, it’s good to bring or have access to the following tools:

  • Umbrellas

  • Rain boots

  • Extra socks

  • Pop up tents

  • Towels for drying off

  • Towels and/or doormats to keep venue floors dry

  • Backup outfits with shoes for yourself and your spouse

  • Waterproof mascara and makeup setting spray

Combine these tools with the following tips to conquer any kind of weather on your big day.

1. Use clear umbrellas for your wedding photos. They look great and will keep everyone dry without covering their faces. If it’s last minute, round up some mismatched ones that all coordinate back to your color scheme.

2. Consider how your venue can be styled indoors for beautiful photos just in case.

3. Have rain boots ready to go for you, your partner, and your bridal party. Or, if it’s the day before, ask them to bring their own as backups.

4. Keep a pop-up tent on hand to shield your outdoor ceremony or celebration area.

5. Remember that park gazebos, building overhangs, and large trees are all great places to take photos in the rain.

6. Talk to your wedding photographer about a rain plan for photos so you know exactly what will happen if it does pour.

Now you know everything about rain on your wedding day!

Really, rain on your wedding day is all about what you make of it. While you can’t control the weather, you can keep in mind all the positive associations rain brings with it and the fact that a lot of good things can come from a shower on your special day. With a little preparation, communication, and team effort, you can overcome any kind of weather at your ceremony and reception!

While you’re here, make sure you also check out these must-have wedding day tips to finish covering all the bases.

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Wedding Spot

The Wedding Spot blog is designed to help couples navigate every step of the wedding planning journey. From before the engagement to after you say “I do,” our goal is to give you the tips, ideas, and inspiration to prepare for your big day — and all that comes with it.