Planning For Unforeseen Weather

cute outdoor wedding fans

Great Day Events is an event planning company specializing in weddings and celebrations. We customize our services along a spectrum from month-of coordinating up to full-service planning (which can begin up to a year in advance), and anywhere in between those where people need us to fill in the gaps. These are the Great, Greater, Greatest levels of service. We also have a Planning Guide service for weddings where we come alongside couples giving them the tools and guidance to be their own coordinator and helping make that process really organized, efficient, and enjoyable.


The weather is something that is completely out of our control. Our best guess is based on the average climate of the season we choose for our event. In Minnesota we see all four distinct seasons that bring four distinct climates. Knowing that, there are certainly ways we can be as prepared as possible and think ahead for what might happen.

Back Up Plan

If you hope for some part of your wedding to be outdoors, have a back up plan with some type of coverage (preferably on-site).

  1. Often if a ceremony is supposed to be outdoors and the reception indoors, your backup plan for the ceremony is most likely going to be in the reception space. Sometimes this means that guests are sitting at their dinner tables and your aisle and backdrop look a little bit different than the original plan.

If this is the case and the back up ceremony location is separate from where the ceremony was originally supposed to take place (two totally different venues), you should plan ahead for two things to communicate this.

  1. Launch a texting tree. One person from each side of the family with the most contacts should send out a group text letting people know about the location change and requesting that they spread the word to anyone that may have been missed.

  2. For those that don’t get the memo, decide on a representative who will be present at the original ceremony site directing people to the correct location. Also know that your ceremony may be a bit delayed.

We will address delay of ceremony a couple of times throughout this weather talk. Just know that a 30 minute delay of ceremony is not going to devastate your timeline – things will get back on track. Especially if you have a professional planner who is an adaptive problem-solver and is going to be in constant communication with all of your vendors about timeline adjustments.

  1. If your ceremony and reception are both supposed to happen outdoors (in your backyard or on a private property somewhere), have a rental company come measure for a tent and reserve it. It’s like insurance. Reserving a tent is a smart idea. Sooner than later is always best. It will usually requires 50% deposit. If it comes to the week prior and the weather is looking perfect and you decide you don’t want the tent set up, that’s fine. You still pay for it. Or, if you don’t want the full tent set up, but you still want to get something out of what you paid for, most tent rental companies will work with you to reduce the size of your tent and you can have it off to the side, maybe for cocktail hour or the dance floor, and you usually don’t have to pay for the remainder”¦and it will be a nice place for people to have coverage one way or another. Do not depend on booking a tent last minute! One – one might not be available. Two – even if it is available, the rental company very well may not have staff available to set it up. Part of your tent reservation is reserving the staff.

Side note: Event tents are no joke – they are a legitimate temporary structure hammered into the ground with 30″ long industrial steel stakes or sometimes where they can’t be staked they are held down with 1-ton cement blocks. They are not cheap and they are not a DIY project. If you are having a backyard event, it’s great that you are saving on venue fees and sometimes catering fees, but there will be a cost to creating an event space from scratch. As a planner these are some of my favorite types of events to do because they are create-your-own-adventure.


Let’s talk about the different type of weather elements we may run into and how to plan for them. For the upcoming summer season, the two big ones to address are rain and heat.

  1. Rain (and Heat)

  1. In the days before your wedding, if the weather is looking questionable, practice your back up ceremony plan at your rehearsal (ex. wedding last summer at the arboretum).

  2. If there is a high likelihood of heavy rain, rain all day long, or a crazy 100 degree heat wave, move to the back up plan.

  3. On the day of the event if there is a 30-50% chance of scattered showers or 90 degree weather and you want to try to keep at least part of the event outside”¦if the weather looks like it could be an issue, assign someone to weather duty so you don’t have to be watching and worrying. As a planner, this is something I can be there for. I have the AccuWeather app so I am assessing as we set up when to make the call. If rain specifically gets in the way of the timeline, there are a few ways we can adjust.

  • Waiting it out (up to a 30-minute delay)

  • If you want a longer delay because things are supposed to clear up in an hour, potentially have the cocktail hour inside first and then the ceremony followed directly by the reception

  • If it looks like there will be a short window of clearing, you could shorten up the ceremony time outdoors. Have the officiant lead you through saying your vows, exchanging rings, and having a big kiss in 10 minutes, and then save the message or story of what he/she was going to say prior to the meal at the reception and turn it into more of a speech. This requires some adaptability.

  1. The same things go for a super hot day. If you must have a ceremony outdoors, keep it short. Get inside to the air conditioning.

  2. Supplies:

  • Towels

  • Umbrellas for rain or too much shine

  • Umbrellas for purchase are going to be around $6 each

  • Wholesale Umbrellas: Umbrella Bazaar, AW Bridal

  • Fans

  • Paper fans are nice for outdoor summer ceremonies.

  • Some venues without air conditioning (like old churches or barns) may provide them inside

  • If your ceremony is in a non air-conditioned space but your reception is, potentially plan for an early ceremony start time. Things usually get hottest around 3pm in the summer, so a 1pm start time is a little unique, but might be something to consider.

  1. Cold

  • In the spring and fall, maybe it gets up to 70 during the day but drops down to 40 at night. If you have events outside in the evening, think about cozying things up with blankets, patio heaters, fire pits, or a warm beverage station (ex. hot cocoa, coffee, tea, cider)

  1. Additional Elements

When planning you should always be considering the climate and elements for the season you chose, which can be hard to do because if you get engaged in the winter and your planning for a summer event it’s not always easy to remember what sunny days feel like and what elements become an issue.

  • Bug spray

  • Spray sunscreen

  • Flashlights/Lighted pathways

  • Consider the wind (ex. balloons on strings, unweighted napkins, dainty centerpieces, water goblets, tie off tall cocktail table linens)


It can be a good idea to purchase wedding insurance. If there is an extreme case that falls into the “Act of God” clause included in most vendors contracts (ex. tornado, flood, or ice storm makes your venue inaccessible or prohibits your vendors from traveling). Wedding insurance will help cover costs of rescheduling your florist, caterer, venue, etc. if cancellation is necessary due to weather. It will also save you from losing your deposit on venue or vendor cancellations. Wedding insurance is usually $150-$500 depending on the amount of coverage you need. WedSafe is a good go-to for this.


On an average day, regardless of the weather the show must go on. By the end of the day, the priority is that you get married.

You are only serving yourself if you embrace whatever weather your day holds and make the most of it. It’s like that saying “Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you respond to it.”

Remember that rain often means a rainbow, stunning clouds, cute umbrellas, rainboots, awesome photography shots with raindrops that look like a million little stars.

Hot days mean sunshine and blue skies.

Overcast days make photographers happy because the pictures turn out really soft and flattering.

Be adaptable, choose a positive attitude, and your guests will follow suit.

Interestingly, weather can bring some of the most memorable aspects to the day. People may talk about it and you want them to talk about it with positive memories, and they will if you plan for their comfort (ex. “Remember that 95 degree day at Derek’s wedding? Those fans they had saved my life.” “Remember when we wore rain boots to Katie’s wedding and that double rainbow came out and she had umbrellas for everyone.”)

I would recommend AW Bridal and Umbrella Bazaar as places to purchase umbrellas.

The mountain wedding was when I was working with a previous company and I cannot share their content as my own. I would love to personally show you some photos from weddings I did at that venue though! I wish I had more detail shots of weather-related elements from Great Day Events weddings, but included just a few below to show snowfall, tenting, a rainbow, overcast skies, and paper fans. The photos can be credited to Laura Alpizar Photography, Elle Anne Photography, and Shelley K Photography.


For more info on Great Day Events you can email Julia at or visit her website:

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Planning For Unforeseen Weather