We totally risked not having a rainy day back-up plan for our garden wedding in Bali. But I have to be honest; it was a decision that leaned more towards frugality than faith. And the sun did shine that day. Too much, in fact, that our guests went home with an extra strong tan.
But what would it be for you, if it rained on your outdoor wedding and things don't go as planned?
Here are some reflections from friends whose weddings were rained on
Our very hot mid-afternoon wedding had most guests moving to the more shaded side of the garden. See those empty seats behind my ladies? (Photo by Iwan Photography in Bali)
An Opportunity to Be Served
I had the honour of coordinating for the wedding of my dear friends, Eric & Kelly. Being the planner that I am, I thought I covered all bases--up until I felt a raindrop on my nose. Then I realized that I didn’t have a rainy day back-up plan.
It just totally slipped my mind! After all, among the 30+ weddings I had attended at that time, I have not been to one that had been rained on.
There’s a first for everything.
I remember our team of friends setting up and tearing down the beautiful garden set-up at least three times, as the rain poured and paused on repeat. With thirty minutes off schedule, we had to finally decide to move the ceremony indoors.
Friends and family rescuing non-waterproof items at the outdoor setup at Eric & Kelly’s wedding. (Photo by 9 Frames Photography)
Kelly recounts her emotions:
“When I saw the rain fall, I wanted to burst into tears. I held it for my make-up’s sake. But inside, I was like, ‘God, how could you let it rain on my wedding day? Did I do something wrong?’ That was my immediate thought, having had a well-planned outdoor wedding that now wouldn’t happen.
Then God reminded me during the ceremony of the time Eric asked me to be his girlfriend. We were hiking, and it started to rain hard. Eric helped me realise that our life together was going to be an adventure involving some ‘rainy days.’ A few years later, it rained again when our first son was born!”
Unbeknownst to Eric & Kelly was how forthcoming ALL their guests were in helping set up the alternative indoor venue. Everyone gladly made sure that the wedding would remain special and beautiful for the couple.
Eric & Kelly’s ceremony had to be moved indoors at the last minute because of the non-stop rains. (Photo by 9 Frames Photography)
Eric and Kelly are two people who find so much joy in serving other people. They met at Every Nation Church Singapore where my husband Mike and I also attend. I believe God used the rain to show them how much they are loved by the people they have been serving.
God also showed them His consistency! Pastor Larry spoke during his sermon:
"In the Bible God says, 'Man plans his ways, but God directs his steps.' Although this wedding may have been planned as an outdoor wedding, I believe God, in His divine plan, wanted it indoors. A lot of us don't know this, but years ago, this used to be a church (referring to White Rabbit, the wedding venue). And I felt that before this ceremony started, the Lord just whispered to me, 'Eric and Kelly met at church, I want them to get married in church.”
All’s well that ends well for Eric and Kelly. (Photo by 9 Frames Photography)
A Reminder of God’s Consistency
Rain was also a factor in Dust and Carla’s story.
Carla recalls, “It reminded us of our first date - it was also a stormy night! So the rain during our wedding day showed us that God was involved.”
At their dinner party, it continued to rain. While this made it difficult for guests to go anywhere (the venue was on top of a hill), it allowed us guests to focus on the couple, and catch up with friends we had not seen in a long time. It was a lovely picture of a big family getting together over fun and food!
Dust and Carla had very few empty seats at any point during their wedding dinner because the rain kept everyone indoors! (Photo by Oak St Studios)
The Gospel Was Heard More Audibly
“The reason we chose our venue was because of its beautiful outdoor patio. Our wedding was going to lead up to an evening reception at a courtyard, as I had imagined us under the stars. Then it rained, and we had to scrap all of that to move indoors.” recalls Ina Mendez-Tan.
The Instagrammable outdoor dream wedding that was no more caused Ina’s groom to feel very unsettled.
“When we had to move indoors two hours before the start of the ceremony, I had peace about it. I learned later on that Edson, my then-fiancé, was very anxious about the idea that his bride won’t get her dream wedding! That made me love him even more!” shared Ina.
Edson and Ina finally enjoying the outdoor scenery of their wedding venue after the rain stopped. (Photo by Icebox Imaging)
After the wedding, the couple reflected on how focused the guests became to the wedding programme when they moved the venue indoors. “There was just too much to see at the outdoor space that our guests would, for sure, get too distracted!” says Ina.
And most importantly, because there was less distraction, the gospel message during the ceremony was more audibly delivered to the audience who were seated very close to each other, according to the couple.
A Rainbow and God’s Promises
In the middle of John and Rachelle’s beach wedding, a drizzle decided to pay them a visit. Then, while the pastor was talking about God’s promises about marriage, a rainbow came out.
Sitting as their guest and marveling at the sight of such a beautiful stream of colours, I remembered the rainbow in Genesis 9. God made a promise to Noah after the flood and said, “I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.”
I’d like to believe that there was at least one person at the wedding that needed an assurance from God about that promise. And Rachelle and John’s wedding was used for that purpose.
Rachelle and John still had their dream wedding in spite of having to move their planned tropical outdoor dinner.
A Silver Lining and Some Disappointments
While there comes a silver lining to some of these rainy weddings, there’s always a level of disappointment that couples have to deal with.
Just think about all that’s been paid, planned, and hoped for: outdoor lights and decors, seating arrangements, or the sound of birds chirping in the background as the couple says “I do.”
Rachelle, for one, shared, “I didn’t let the rain dampen my mood that day when it caused us to move our dinner plans from the beach to an indoor venue. But I also couldn’t stop thinking right there and then about the costs we’ve incurred having planned it to be on the beach!”
Meanwhile, Kelly and Eric never got to see the entire DIY decors their friends put together.
What was going to be the backdrop for Eric & Kelly’s planned outdoor ceremony.
There will always be feelings of disappointment to battle with when plans don’t turn out the way we hoped. I’ve not heard of anyone who was absolutely unperturbed on their wedding day, or even the days that followed, when things go amiss.
But here’s some good news: we can control our attitude even when we can’t control the weather!
Planning for Any Type of Weather
So what do you do to prepare yourself for the possibility of bad weather on your wedding day, while having to fight feelings of disappointment during such a special occasion?
Well there’s the logistical approach, which I talk about on my post 25 Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Wedding.
Then there’s the non-logistical approach that I believe is much more important (think long-term. Check it out on How To Prepare For Any Weather On Your Wedding Day.
Do you have a similar story to share? If you’re reading this after getting married, I’d love to hear of your experiences in addressing changing weather conditions on your wedding day. If you’re a bride still planning your wedding, tell me about how you plan to make your wedding day weatherproof!
Here are some reflections from friends whose weddings were rained on