It didn’t rain. It POURED!

I was speaking with a bride today who assured me that she didn’t really need a wet-weather alternate for her beach wedding because the photographer had promised that it ‘never rains here in February’

Um. Sure. But sometimes it chucks down. In buckets.

If you’re planning an off-season wedding, or you’re looking at the forecast and Hurricane Murgatroyd is moving in fast, here’s some advice that you might find more useful than that photographer’s breezy assurance…

For the bride – make sure you’re able to stay warm and dry. Grab a Pashmina-type wrap in white or cream – something that can be tossed  into a soggy heap in the entryway and still look gorgeous.Ideally, plan to have 2 or 3 of them, so that you can discard the clammy, damp one for fresh halfway through the day. If you decide to use a wrap in your accent colours, do a test to make sure the colour won’t bleed onto your gown if it gets wet!

Make sure your bridesmaids are going to be warm enough too – they’re already wearing uncomfortable shoes and ugly gowns for your sake…

Don’t depend on borrowing a jacket – although your groom’s jacket will look cute on you, that option leaves him in the cold instead! If the suit is a rental, it’s only good for warmth not shelter from the rain – you’re free to ruin a jacket you own, but the penalties for saturating a dry-clean only hired suit should be taken into consideration!

A quick piece of advice for the groom:  While it’s a sweet idea for you [or the other blokes in the bridal party] to offer your umbrella/jacket/whatever to cold or wet guests,  save your gallantry for your bride, and perhaps your mother and new mother in law. Delegate everyone else’s care and shelter to your ushers, and at a pinch, your groomsmen.

Rain wreaks havoc on bridal trains, too, so pay careful attention to the swag of fabric you’re dragging through the muddy puddles.  If you have the option of looping up your train, do it every single time you step out a doorway! It might not be as elegant as you’d dreamed of, but it will surely beat the alternative, which won’t just look messy, it will be cold and uncomfortable to sit in for the rest of the evening.

Cold, wet feet are a certain cue for misery. If your gown is floor length, and the weather is cold, forego the strappy sandals  in favour of warm tights and waterproof shoes. At the very least, arrange to have a pair of gumboots for your photo shoot – standing on wet grass in heels will give you a definite sinking feeling!

Think about who needs an umbrella to be provided. While your guests will most likely provide their own, what about your bridal party guys and gals? Chances are they’re getting dressed away from home and might not have easy access to any umbrella, let alone a styley one! You should also make sure the drivers of your bridal cars have an umbrella, even if it’s just so that they can hold it over you while you get in and out of the vehicle!

People rushing in the wet mean slips and splashes at the very least – muddy legs or broken bones in the worst case. Careful preparation can slow everybody down and still keep them dry.

If you’re able to, offer an  ‘umbrella valet service’, with someone prepped to at least escort passengers from a drop-off point in front of the venue, or at least to shelter guests while they are getting out of cars and putting their own umbrellas up. Umbrella valeting works really well if the valet wears a waterproof coat,  carries one open umbrella and another furled, hands the open umbrella to the guest [or to the bridal party]  as they step out of their vehicle, while popping open the next one.

Try not to delegate that job to any of your vip guests – they will almost certainly end up wet – and keep your ‘real’ ushers dry and carrying out their duties indoors if at all possible.

I hope you get the blue skies and calm weather you’re dreaming of. And, if not, you’ve at least had a chance to come up with an excellent plan for success under grey and stormy skies!

Don’t forget, The Corner Store hires 20 matching umbrellas as a wet weather backup, it’s a nice peace of mind option!

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