How to Plan for Unexpected Outdoor Wedding Weather

Will there, or won’t there, be unexpected outdoor wedding weather, on wedding day? Everyone wants the beautiful, no rain or wind on wedding day, and why not? However, you know as well as I do, that we are not in control of the weather.

I know many brides think that God loves them so much that it just won’t rain on their day, yes, they really do! And while I know God loves each bride, a lot, sometimes God has other plans.

Believe it or not, rain or wind at most venue’s is not a wedding day catastrophe. With that being said, always pick a venue that has a backup plan for rain. I have written about that in this post – How do you Deal with Rain on Wedding Day .

Since Rain has been talked about, I wanted to take some time to address other important things that may need attention when the weather turns nasty. Let me share some areas to consider and what you can do to protect them.

Table Setting

Setting the table with silverware, napkins and plates was very popular this year. This can be very beautiful! The table looks so festive and inviting to your guests as they come from ceremony to reception.

However, if there is a strong wind blowing this can be a disaster. To see people chasing the tableware around the yard can be alarming at best, and horrifying for the bride to see.

The alternative is to place the tableware next to where the food will be served, in a nice basket, where the wind cannot bother them. A simple fix even at the last minute.

Table Center Pieces

The center piece shows off the wedding theme and they are always so beautiful! You know a lot of thought, care, and detail went into each center piece table setting.

My concern is when tall class ware is used. This could be a vase full of flowers, sticks, wheat grass, feathers, etc.  Without proper weight in the bottom of tall glass ware a beautiful show piece can fall over and quickly become broken, be drained of water or swept away by the wind.

Vases with a low center of gravity will do best on a windy, outdoor wedding weather day. Be sure to take into consideration wind as you plan that gorgeous outdoor center piece.

When it’s Cold

Sometimes there is not rain or wind, it’s just plain cold out. At least one or two weddings a summer, and usually in September or October, we need to use the patio heaters.

These heaters work best in a protected area next to a building or a barn. Of course, you can, and we do, use them in the yard area too. Guests are more than willing to huddle around the heater to get warm.

Our sweet brides are oblivious to weather concerns! Last minute adjustments are the norm. This usually means the guests suffer. Okay, suffer might be a bit harsh, but cold, rain and heat are not a concern – until it is!

The DJ

Most, if not all DJ’s hate rain. Their equipment is expensive. If it looks like a rainy day, they will want you to move to the barn or covered area.

Wind does not usually bother the DJ unless he oversees the mic that is used for the ceremony. They work around that though.

I always have a tarp on hand in case the DJ asks. On rare occasions you get a rain cloud moving through for a short time. Some DJ’s bring a tent, but most do not.

Decor on the Property

The wind will knock over every family photo and small sign if it can. Plan to have things weighted or delegate someone to adjust these decor items when the wind has settled down.

It’s easy to add rocks to the bottom of vases that hold the fun props for the DIY photo booth, the pens at the sign-in table and even the sparklers that will be used later in the evening.

I also have clear clips I use on every table to keep the linens from blowing off. I can always add more for those extra windy days if needed.

The ceremony back drop fabric will also need attention. The clear clips help with this at our venue. There are zip ties, tape and sometimes the dreaded safety pin will need to be used too.

Why do I dread the safety pins? They leave holes in the fabric, especially when the wind is pulling at them.

There needs to be thought put into the question: How will this  arrangement  stand up in a windy situation.

Food Considerations 

Wind can play havoc with sterno fuel cans. At the last windy wedding I saw the – person in charge – just pull up the table linen and tuck it in around the food, the sterno flame was bouncing from side to side instead of going straight up.

This was a self-catering situation. While this kept the flame from bouncing around, I was afraid the linen was going to catch fire! The better solution would have been to move the table back under cover of the deck until the wind stopped.


Plan for  unexpected outdoor wedding weather – just in case. It’s so much better to be prepared. There is no reason not to have plan B ready to go if needed. As a venue owner I will do my best to secure things on my end, but some things must be thought out by our sweet bride.

Think through the unexpected wedding weather question, and you won’t be caught off guard.  But remember, even when things do not go exactly as planned, and do they ever?? it will be a day to remember.

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