Making A Weather Contingency Plan

November 21, 2016


Naming The Elephant

There’s a huge elephant in the room with the wedding industry. Nobody wants to talk about it, and we think that’s really strange. When it comes to bad weather, it seems everyone wants to hope for the best and plan for the best. In a perfect world, we would too! Who doesn’t want a perfectly sunny, warm day to have their wedding? The way we see it, there’s little use in ignoring the fact that bad weather can appear any time. Coming from Florida, this was made incredibly apparent on several occasions. We’re not trying to scare you, in fact quite the opposite, we want you to not to fear the bad weather but to be ready and able to have an awesome time on the best day of your life! We’ll tell you a few stories and why you shouldn’t worry if you’ve got a killer backup plan.

wedding-backup-plan-01When Bad Weather Happens

Florida was a bipolar state when it comes to weather. Everyone loves to call it the sunshine state, yet we spent nearly half a year in “hurricane season”. And even when we weren’t in hurricane season, we could experience sunshine, lightning and sunshine again in a period of 45 minutes. It wasn’t uncommon, but it was nearly impossible to predict. Like North Carolina, couples loved getting married outside, and for good reason! When the weather is awesome, an outside wedding is tons of fun! Rest assured, though, that bad weather doesn’t have to ruin your wedding day. Sadie and I had a storm come through on our own wedding day in Pennsylvania, and thanks to our backup plan and some quick thinking, we still had the best day of our lives and barely even noticed the rain!

We’ve had a few weddings surprised by rain, and two that had tropical storms roll through. In most cases, the wedding venues had backup plans on-site. Recently, we were shooting a wedding which was on a resort in Naples, FL. The night before the wedding a tropical storm rolled through and virtually destroyed their outdoor ceremony location. Glass tables were shattered, chairs were thrown about and a huge portion of their trees were left in splinters, or had lost branches. The place really got hit hard. We learned later in the day, that portions of the town were inaccessible due to flooding! However, thanks to the couple’s positive outlook and the backup plan of their venue, they were able to have an amazing ceremony inside and we still had some fun with the photos.


Making A Backup Plan For Your Wedding Day

Most of the time your wedding planner or venue will initiate this conversation. A good wedding photographer will always confirm you have a backup plan and learn what that plan is in advance, in case they need to bring other equipment or approach the day differently. However, we have noticed that sometimes venues or planners will avoid this conversation because it’s uncomfortable or they feel like they’ll “jinx” the day. When it comes to weddings we don’t believe in bad luck, but we do have a lot of faith in good planning!

Making a backup plan can be as easy as having an indoor location where chairs can be easily arranged or having a tent vendor on call. When you’ve planned your wedding day a year or more in advance, sometimes you’ll have no idea if there’s a storm cell moving in that day. However, if you keep a running list of vendors who can help in a pinch, you’ll be ready in case you’re surprised. Ask your venue about an indoor location as a backup. You don’t want to get caught off guard a week before your wedding with a bad forecast, so we always recommend planning a backup plan immediately. It doesn’t have to be elaborate, it just needs to keep people warm, dry and safe. We ask every couple about their backup plan, and we try to help them plan one if nobody else has yet.


Rolling With The Punches

For a couple who has spent years planning and spent a small fortune on their wedding day, a storm can seem like a nightmare. However, I’ll share one more story to brighten your day. When it comes to bad weather, staying positive and rolling with the punches is key. We’ve seen that couples who can let the unplanned and inconvenient roll off their backs have the most fun! It’s your wedding day, it’s happening and it’s only going to happen once. If you’re able to keep positive and have a good time even when things go off script, you’ll ensure your wedding day will be the best day of your life.

During another wedding where a nasty hurricane was rolling through, we lost power. This was unexpected, because the storm was actually quite a bit south of where we were and the actual weather at the venue wasn’t that bad when when the reception lost power. The DJ had the couple’s favorite songs playing and everyone was having a great time, when suddenly the power dropped out completely. The DJ had a backup plan, but his power unit was out in his truck and he had to go get it.

While the DJ was getting his equipment, the entire party was left in the dark and without music. As the guests were talking with each other trying to figure out what to do next, a few keys rang out from a piano. One of the wedding guests had pulled the dust cover off a piano and began playing a few songs. Within no time, they had created a nice little piano bar vibe and the bride and groom enjoyed a romantic slow dance to the impromptu live performance. The guest knew all the classics, and we enjoyed one of the most laid-back down to earth receptions I’ve ever been to. I captured the image above, which has always been a favorite. Just like photojournalism is about capturing moments as they unfold, life is about tackling issues as they approach. You can make them whatever you want, and in this case creativity and an open mind saved the day.


A Little Extra Comfort

While we cannot control the weather, Sadie and I do one last thing for our couples that’s a little different. We only book one wedding per weekend, making us available the day after the wedding in case bad weather approaches. This means we’re able to shoot the next day for couples whose wedding photos are effected by a storm or other natural disaster – and it’s completely free! We love what we do and we love our couples. When it comes to your wedding photos, we try to do everything we can to ensure you’ve got the best photos we can make, regardless of the situation.

So if your wedding is getting close and you’re a little nervous about the weather, just remember that life’s what you make it so make it fun!