Hey, I'm Chelsea.

I'm a Chicago wedding photographer and videographer who's on a mission to take the stress out of wedding planning, one anecdote, gif, and movie
quote at a time.

As your wedding day approaches, weather apps get more screen time than Instagram. But what happens if the forecast for your outdoor wedding looks like rain? You get creative, adapt, and embrace whatever the day throws at you.

Don’t believe that it’s possible? Check out this rainy wedding I photographed alongside Ed and Aileen Photography.

Rainy Outdoor Vineyard Wedding

I’ve had my fair share of rainy wedding days, but this was the first time I’ve been isolated in a vineyard with looming tornado watches.

The day started off sunny. After getting dressed, the couple spent some time embracing the calm before the storm—both literally and figuratively. They…

👩‍❤️‍👨 … had a first look in front of their Airbnb.

🐶 … soaked up some family bonding with their dog (who unfortunately wasn’t allowed on vineyard grounds).

💌 … snuck off to the back porch to read each other’s personalized vows.

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Once we wrapped things up at the Airbnb, we set off to Tabor Hill Winery for some wedding photos. 

That’s when we first noticed the ominous storm clouds on the horizon.

And the extra ominous sound of thunder.

Instead of panicking, Ed and I powered through formal photos. I called out posing instructions while he snapped photos. With minutes to spare, we got everyone tucked inside the reception tent.

Then it started to downpour.

What To Do if It Rains on Your Wedding Day

If you find yourself in a similar situation, here’s my handy-dandy “rainy wedding day game plan”:

1. Stop Checking Your Phone

Staring at the radar won’t change things. Instead, turn to your trusted team of vendors:

  • Chat with your wedding photographer about going with your Plan B indoor options (or, let them know if you’re up for embracing the elements).
  • Talk to your wedding planner if you were planning on an outdoor reception or ceremony. They’ll work to make sure tents are up or plans are moved indoors.
  • Ask your hair and makeup artists for any tips. 

2. Have a Backup Plan

If you’re having an outdoor wedding, you need to know what to do in inclement weather. Typically, this means either moving things indoors or putting up a tent.

In this case, there was no indoor space available… but there was a tent set up for the reception.

So all the vendors (planners, caterers, photographers, and band members) worked to convert the reception tent into a ceremony space.

Until the weather kept us on our toes—again.

Right before the ceremony was about to start (we’re talkin’ minutes), the rain let up and the sun started to shine.

We had a little chat with the couple and we could tell they really had their heart set on an outdoor vineyard ceremony.

So what did we do? We started wiping down ceremony chairs and giving the couple the outdoor vineyard wedding of their dreams.

Complete with Grandpa poppin’ wheelies through puddles.

3. Remember Why You’re Getting Married

When things are said and done, a wedding day is about kicking off a marriage.

Nothing about this wedding went as planned.

Instead, it served as a reminder that life will throw you curveballs, but you’ll weather that storm together (pun intended, obviously). And who knows? It might end with you dancing around a safety cone, having the time of your life.

4. Add a Few Extra Items to Your Bag

If the forecast looks like rain, here’s a quick list of items to have at the ready so you can embrace the rain and avoid hypothermia.

  • Bubble Umbrellas: if your heart is set on outdoor photos come rain or shine, stock up on clear bubble umbrellas. I recommend 1 per ‘couple’ in your wedding party. If you have an odd number, err on getting an extra umbrella instead of having 3 people cram underneath one.
  • Hairdryers: pack a hairdryer or two into your tote bags. Once you get to the venue, you can sneak away to dry off your dresses.
  • Rain Boots: whether you want to use the pair of Hunter boots in your closet or buy a new pair juuuust in case, it’s a great idea to pack a pair of rain boots if the forecast calls for showers. 
  • Raincoats: if your rainy wedding day is in early spring or late fall, encourage your wedding party to bring along raincoats to stay dry and warm up between photos.
  • Towels: it’s always a good idea to have towels on hand if clouds are looming. They’re great at keeping seats on the trolley dry, squeezing excess water from hair, and keeping shoulders warm in-between photo locations.

5. Be Ready To Sneak Out for Magical Photos

If the rain starts to let up, your photographer will be on the lookout for show-stopping rainbows. Be prepared for your photographer to tap you on the shoulder and quickly wave you outside for magical photos. 

👇 Photos like these? They’re the cherry on top of a whirlwind day you wouldn’t trade for the world.

Searching for a Candid Wedding Photographer?

If you’re still looking for a photographer who’ll document whatever life throws your way, I’d love to chat more about your plans!

A wedding photography and videography studio for personality-packed couples who want to remember the way they tore it up on the dance floor just as much as the way it felt to say “I do”.