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What if it rains on my wedding day?

Updated: Feb 21

rainy wedding ceremony

“What do we do if it rains?” This is one of the most popular questions we receive from couples as they prepare for their wedding day. To be honest, 9 years ago when we started in the field, in our minds the answer was always “Hope that it stops.” lol. Fast forward to today and we know that there is life after rain! We also know the true intention behind that question is, “Are we still going to be able to get great photos even though it could rain?” and we’re here to tell you the answer is yes! It seems like the last few years have been characterized by rainy wedding days. During that time we were constantly having to utilize a little more strategy in order to capture great images for our couples and their families. It pushed us creatively to look for different ways to document wedding days and problem solve on the fly. Through that process it has definitely given us insight on how to handle those situations but it has also given us the ability to instill confidence into our couples so they don’t let a little rain ruin their big day! After all, rain on your wedding day is good like right? Below we’re going to share some of our favorite rainy day shots and strategies from weddings over the past few years to show that you can still capture great images and moments whether it’s raining or not. We hope you enjoy!

groom standing underneath an umbrella

One of our favorite rainy wedding day memories comes from Ashleigh and Byron's big day at The Country Club of Asheville in September of 2018! I can't remember if it was a hurricane or tropical storm exactly that was supposed to hit the coast, but in the days leading up to their wedding it did eventually hit NC and though we were shielded from the worst of it, it still brought some wind and rain to the mountains. In our experience, most couples opt to move everything in doors when this happens, but true to their spirits and their love for the beauty in this area, Ashleigh and Byron decided to keep everything outdoors including their ceremony (pictured in the cover image for this blog). They were overjoyed for their wedding day and they weren't about to let a little rain get them down. We carried that same attitude and we let them know we brought along our clear umbrellas so we were totally down to get out in the rain and thankfully they were too! To this day, it's still my favorite first look. The scene, the weather, the emotion, it was absolutely perfect and I don't think it would've been quite the same without the added atmosphere of the weather that day.

One of our favorite strategies for rainy wedding days is simple. Find a good window light! Some of our favorite portraits have come from great window light and if the weather isn't allowing you to go outside or you just don't feel like getting your feet or dress wet for that moment, we can always do some classic shots near a window. This is also something we actually look for on days when it doesn't rain but we just wanted to get you visualizing that even though it could be raining on your day, there's still plenty of shots you can do!

bridal portrait sitting on the couch
traditional portrait of the bride smiling
bride's silhouette in the window frame

Another one of our favorite things to do on a rainy wedding day is finding space for creative compositions! In the following images, we were able to find great indoor spaces for some fun shots!

editorial style wedding party portrait in front of a bar

(Bar area at their venue)

artsy shot of the bride and groom kissing with a light above them

(hallway outside of their reception area in a crowded hotel)

groom portrait in front of a fireplace

(hotel lobby on the way out the door from getting ready)

creative lighting silhouette of a couple holding each other

(double exposure under covered pavilion and a chandelier from their reception space)

bride and groom kissing in front of a chandelier

(Hotel Lobby we were told we weren't allowed to shoot in, thankfully they don't monitor the 3rd floor)

bride and groom holding hands during the wedding ceremony

One of the things we do to try to put your mind at ease is bringing around 2 dozen matching clear umbrellas to every wedding where it looks like there will be rain in the forecast! In the image above, Ashleigh and Byron's ceremony started without any issues and somewhere in the middle of everything it started raining again, no problem. We brought them two umbrellas to cover themselves until it stopped, I covered Jenny so she could keep shooting, and the videographers also covered their tripods. Not a single moment missed because of rain!

groomsmen all holding umbrellas in the rain
rainy groom's party portrait
groom's party walking in the street with umbrellas

Of course, who doesn't love the classic backlit shot in the rain?!

rainy portrait of bride and groom kissing under an umbrella
bride and groom holding each other close in the rain with the rain drops lit up
night time portrait of the bride and groom under an umbrella

One of the other strategies we use for keeping you out of the rain but also bringing an outside feel to your images is looking for covered areas. Often times venues will have multiple options such as covered pavilions, or open spaces in between buildings where there may be a covered awning, and of course, don't underestimate the power of a good porch! You can also take advantage of inside spaces with large doors and windows to pull the outside in.

traditional portrait of the bride and groom smiling
bridal party portrait in robes underneath a porch
groom kissing bride on the forehead while hugging her from behind
two brides smiling at each other
traditional portrait of the bride and her father
groom and groomsmen toasting
groom's party portrait framed between american flags
traditional family portrait in a covered chapel
double bridal portrait under a gazebo in the rain

Huge bridal party and not really wanting to go outside? No problem.

full wedding party portrait in a ballroom

Something we LOVE about rainy wedding days is the ability to take advantage of the perfectly soft light that comes with the cloudy skies once the rain stops! If you didn't know, it's ideal for photos!

creative motion blur shot of bride and groom kissing
bridal portrait in the rain
bride kissing another bride on the cheek in the rain
bride and groom smiling at each other under an awning

We totally understand that 99.9% of couples do not want rain on their wedding day but it's important to understand that it's not a death sentence for your wedding photos, especially if you hire a reputable pro as your photographer! We hope with this blog it can give you a little more peace of mind and something to look forward to on your big day, even if the forecast is calling for a little bit of rain! Also as friendly reminder to all of our JCM wedding couples, in the rare event that it storms so bad on your wedding day that it's not even safe or conceivable to go outside, remember that we do a free make up session for you guys as long as we can coordinate schedules and location!

Thanks as always for following along!

Joe & Jenny

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