Are you planning on having your wedding ceremony outside?
Do you want your guests to be comfortable & fully present during the ceremony?
Then you absolutely HAVE to have a “Plan B” in the event of bad weather.
Author: Meggan Brummer
If we haven’t met before, my name is Meggan Brummer - I am an award-winning Celebrant in Sydney, Australia.
I’ve married hundreds of couples over the last 11 years and have over 20 years experience as a professional writer.
3 Reasons To Use Your “Plan B”
1. If it’s windy
There’s nothing like strong winds to make most people feel really uncomfortable & unsettled.
If they’re uncomfortable they won’t be fully present with you during your ceremony.
They’ll just be longing for the moment they can get out of there.
2. If it’s really hot
Most people wish for a nice sunny day, but Sydney summers can overdeliver and tip 40°c.
Now remember how everyone will be dressed and how long you and your guests will be baking in that heat…
Something to think about if you’re planning your outdoor wedding in the summer is the time of day.
If you know it’s likely to be hot – avoid planning your ceremony around the hottest part of the day.
Rather go for the cooler early morning or late afternoon.
The next day you want everyone talking about how beautiful the ceremony was rather than how someone fainted or got heatstroke.
If they’re going to be in the sun, make sure everyone stays hydrated – springing for a bottle of water for each guest is not going to put a dent in the budget.
And look for a ceremony location that offers some shade your guests can wait in before the ceremony starts.
If there’s no shade, add some with colour coordinated umbrellas.
You can either have one umbrella per couple or put those nice big umbrellas up.
One of my couples put large umbrellas up not only for all their guests but also for the 3 of us + the entire wedding party (3 bridesmaids and 4 groomsmen).
It was heaven-sent.
We were all so, so grateful.
It made such a huge difference.
You can hire these from Class Occasion.
3. If it’s hailing or raining
And finally the obvious one.
Even if it’s just slightly raining – that can be reason enough to head for shelter when there’s expensive equipment that could be damaged.
Your photographer might not be willing to shoot the ceremony.
Your celebrant might not be able to use their PA system.
… And what about gran’s set & blow-dry. 😞
What Are Your “Plan B” Venue Options
Your contingency plans will vary depending on a number of factors, such as time of year, location and number of guests.
That said, what everyone’s “Plan B” has in common is – it’s important & needs to be realistic & reliable.
1. Your reception venue.
For many couples, their reception venue becomes their backup option.
But, if you choose to go with your reception, you want to make sure it’s available at the right time.
You want your wedding ceremony to be able to start at the same time irrespective.
If your wedding is at a hotel & your reception in a park, it might cost extra to reserve a space at the hotel, but if it means keeping you & your guests dry & warm – it’s worth it.
Have that conversation with your reception venue early in your planning.
2. A separate venue
Look around the area at other options & consider non-obvious options like …
- art galleries
- a historic house
- barrel rooms in a vineyard
- or the traditional choice – a church or chapel
Don’t assume money spent here is just an insurance policy you won’t end up getting any value from.
Maybe you could use it for some of your photos or get some credit towards using the venue at a later date, maybe for a party.
3. A marquee
Set on having your ceremony in that garden no matter what?
Then you might want to think about setting up a marquee.
Get a quote from the company, add it into your budget & find out when you’ll need to let them know if you want to use their services.
4. Borrow someone’s home
You might know someone with a home that’s suitable.
If you go with this option, make sure you have a group of helpers or event staff who can clean & decorate.
5. The balcony of your hotel room
Not a great option if you have 100 guests, but for small weddings this can work well.
I once had a couple who wanted to get married near the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
When the weather turned we all ended up on the balcony of their hotel room in Circular Quay.
It was gorgeous.
Don’t Forget to Tell Your Guests!
Letting your guests know about your backup plan is super important, especially if your venue is likely to change at the last minute.
Write “Plan B” into your wedding day schedule & on your invitations.
It’s also good to have a way to contact all your guests really quickly & easily in the event of a last-minute change – perhaps a WhatsApp group.
Be Clear on Plan B
Step through your backup plan with your Celebrant & other vendors.
Get really clear on how late you can leave a decision & where everything will be if you move to your backup venue.
Where will you and the celebrant stand?
Where will you walk in from?
Will there still be space for your wedding party to stand near you?
And so on.
It’s super easy to stress about wedding plans, but you can’t control the weather, so there is no point worrying about it.
That’s easier if you just spend a little time preparing your backup plan.
I hope you found these tips useful!