Getting married in the Pacific Northwest can be so magical. Here in Snohomish, we’ve got gorgeous mountain and water views, beautiful sunsets, towering trees, and flowering gardens. But even if you’re getting married in the summer, there is always the chance of rain! If you are planning to have your ceremony outside, it’s always wise to come up with a Plan B, and sometimes even a Plan C! After talking with some seasoned event professionals and venues, we’ve come up with some ideas -- and encouragement -- in case it rains.
One thing to keep in mind: rain isn’t the only possible complication. We do occasionally get extreme heat in the summer as well. You won’t want your guests and family members getting heatstroke, so it’s always a good idea to have a water station or fans available during your ceremony for potential heatwaves. I have even seen some of our couples set out sunscreen bottles in the restrooms for guests to lather on!
“Regarding backup plans for outdoor weddings, I always encourage my clients to provide some refuge from the elements for their guests. Washington weather is so unpredictable, it’s quite beneficial to have a backup plan”, Torry Wahl of Raise a Glass Weddings suggests, “whether that means tents for potential rain or shaded seating areas to protect from the hot sun.” Regarding set up or backup plans, she has seen clients offer a variety of options including:
-baskets of umbrellas available in case of rain (or parasols in case of heat!)
-tents set up with cozy lounge seating under them to provide solace from the sun
-baskets of blankets in case it gets a little chilly
Torry also mentioned that “the most popular plan is to have an indoor space available to set up the ceremony in case of rain.” This could include a possible covered area at your reception venue, an additional area you are not planning to use, or consider renting a tent from Cort Party Rentals or Grand Event Rentals. They offer traditional white or clear tents, and more unique and fun options such as carnival style sail cloth tents. Even some covered bistro tables might be a good idea if you will be having an outdoor cocktail hour.
Cort Party Rentals: Clear tent
Grand Event Rentals: Interior of tent
If you are worried about a tent looking too boring, Cort and Grand also offer some fun lighting options, and Specialty Rental companies like Vintage Ambiance and Sweet Buffet Lady have beautiful chandeliers or other furniture in their inventory that you can rent for your tent to really make it shine without a lot of extra fuss.
Krista Larrison of Kita Events Northwest says, “Most venues I have worked with had an indoor option (in case of rain),” which is a great possibility, if your venue has it. She adds, “we did have a bit of rain at my best friend’s wedding in the middle of August, but we dealt with it in the moment.” I love this cute photo she shared of the couple being covered with jackets during their beach ceremony.
Head Spinner photography: couple on beach
A few venues in Snohomish have multiple buildings on site, providing an easy Plan B. “We have two buildings here at Swans Trail Farms, so rain is really nothing more than a nuisance, rather than a calamity!” says Roxy Burinda, Wedding Supervisor at Swans Trail Farms. “Although couples may have scheduled a lawn ceremony, their back up plan could be to move the ceremony into the building not being used for the reception.”
At Green Gates at Flowing Lake, couples also have options in case of inclement weather. Owners Kerry and Debbie Horner say that their clients “sometimes will stick with Plan A, which is having the ceremony on the wedding lawn overlooking the lake, with the addition of a large tent to keep their guests dry. Of course, renting a large tent adds to the expenses of the wedding, and it must be reserved ahead of time with a hefty non-refundable deposit.” This option still allows guests to experience the beautiful view and leaves the reception area untouched and ready for after the ceremony.
Rebecca Anne Photography
Rebecca Anne Photography
Due to its specific geographic location, Green Gates has been lucky to not often have to deal with bad weather during their open season. "We try to reassure our couples that the vast majority of the time, the convergence zone works in our favor. The weather forecasts don't always apply to us, and even when the day starts out a bit rainy, by ceremony time the clouds usually part and the ceremony can still happen as originally planned,” Debbie adds. Although, the occasional worst-case-scenario happens and Twelve Baskets Catering has worked at Green Gates when the weather was not exactly cooperating. Our couple opted to go with Plan B and everything worked out just fine. The ceremony was moved inside the covered reception area, and guests were seated comfortably at their beautiful reception tables while propane heaters helped everyone stay warm.
John Beal and Amee Quiriconi of Woodland Meadow Farms and Dairyland knew that booking an outdoor venue could be stressful for couples, so in 2015 they wanted to try and eliminate some of that worry and added a structure that could easily shelter the ceremony area at the Woodland Meadow Farms location. While their Dairyland location has a barn as a back-up for rain, Woodland Meadow Farms is all outdoors. But to solve this, they came up with a unique-to-Woodland Meadow Farms rainfly, a 40x40 foot cover, takes about 20 minutes to put up by WMF staff and does not cost extra. It's only used on rainy days (or with the threat of rain) and its translucent quality makes it photo-friendly since it allows filtered light through. And, as the photo shows, it glows beautifully like a white drape. Even if it’s not raining, couples can also make use of the poles and cables for strung lights to add to the ambiance of the magical wooded space.
While we are helping our clients plan their weddings, we always recommend coming up with a Plan B, and most people listen! We have, however, had a few instances where clients preferred to hope and pray that the statistics were in their favor! But Mother Nature often has her own idea of how things will go, even if the Weatherman predicts sunshine and 75. The great thing is that these clients ended up having an interesting story to tell about their wedding later on. And I would say that pretty much all of them still completely enjoyed their wedding day, even if they did get a little damp. One of our Twelve Baskets Catering clients, whose wedding was rained out and we had to move on to Plan C, wrote:
“I don't even know where to begin to thank you for everything you guys did on Saturday. Though the weather came literally out of nowhere, you guys were seriously unreal with how smoothly you managed everything. Not only was the food outstanding, but every single step that each of you took to create Plan Bs and even Plan Cs all night did not go unnoticed. Almost every single person at the wedding commented the following day about how spectacular you all were, how accommodating you were, how no one ever lost their sense of humor or smile, how delicious the food was, and how much they all appreciated seeing you go the extra mile at every turn of events. You all went SO above and beyond with everything on Saturday that we are now your biggest fans. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for all the sweat and work that each off you put into making every detail as seamless as it could be, with smiles on your faces to boot. It meant so much to feel like someone had our backs in that tough situation. -Taylor O.”
Puget Sound DJ, Alan Chitlik, recently posted an interesting article on Facebook from Komo News compiling the weather forecasts from the past roughly 125 years. This may be fun for couples to look at and see if their wedding date has any significant chance of rain or heatwave.
Jaffrey Bagge is the Social Media and Marketing Manager for Twelve Baskets Catering. As the owner's daughter, she's been in the business for all of her 34 years. When she isn't organizing open houses or snapping photos of food and setups, Jaffrey loves to travel with her husband, watch films, and cut paper snowflakes.