Wet Weather Wedding Tips

Wet Weather Wedding Tips

You’ve planned your dream wedding down to the last T, and now the weather has thrown a curveball at you. What do you do if it is raining on your wedding day? Rain on your wedding day is considered good luck, and it is actually quite beautiful and romantic in photos.

New South Wales and probably Australia, in general, has some of the most unpredictable weather around and I have shot some really really wet weddings over the years. I have seen Brides in tears because of the rain and I have seen Brides dance and splash in the rain.  It won’t ruin your day but it can make it more challenging. So here are some wet weather wedding tips to get you through it.

1. Prepare for wet weather

Plan and prepare for a wet wedding and chances are that you will have great weather on your wedding day. And from my experience, it is so true. Go out and buy beautiful umbrellas, buy funky gumboots, get raincoats and if you are lucky… you won’t need to use them. But if you do need them, then at least you will be totally prepared.

Car hire companies often carry umbrellas, but they are covered in company logos, so I would recommend you get some big umbrellas of your own. As for what colour to get… it really doesn’t bother us at all. I would get something that suits you and your personalities. So if you are having a classic wedding, maybe get a simple black or white umbrella. But if you are a bit of an extrovert and like colour, then go out a get a multi-coloured umbrella which would be great in injecting some colour into a grey day. You can even get clear umbrellas.

If you are having a country wedding then I would recommend that you get some gumboots. Because it gets very wet and muddy everywhere. You can get beautiful ‘designer’ gumboot, like these ‘Hunter’ boots pictured below or get some cheaper and more colourful gumboots. Let your personality dictate your choice.

And I would recommend getting a pair even if you don’t like the look of it as it will keep your feet dry, keep your wedding shoes clean and you can just lower your wedding dress if you don’t want gumboots in your wedding photos.

wet weather weddings gum boots

2. Have a wet weather Plan B for your ceremony

There is nothing more beautiful than an outdoor wedding ceremony but rain can easily ruin it for you. So we would definitely recommend that you arrange wet weather back up for your wedding ceremony at your wedding venue. It is also a good idea to have a “Plan B” written into your wedding day schedule and on your invitations. So if it does rain, you know what to do and your guests know what to do. Plan for the worst and hope for the best.

If the weather is intermittent drizzle and it doesn’t look like it is getting worst then I would definitely gamble for having the ceremony outdoors, particularly if you have a beautiful location. A bit of rain never hurt anyone and the clouds will make the light beautiful for photos, and you can just have some umbrellas on hand in case it does start raining during the ceremony.

Hiring a marquee, a tipi or a large tent is another option worth considering.

If you are having the ceremony in the same location as the reception, they will often have a wet weather back up… but often this location is less than desirable. It is generally an empty room or even the foyer or Porte Cochere of the venue (driveway or entrance to the venue). So have a good look at the exact location if you are considering it. And make sure you would be happy to have your ceremony there if it did rain.

Another option is to book a beautiful indoor venue for your ceremony as a backup. If you do book it and you don’t use it then you could possibly go there for some location photos afterwards. Some indoor wedding ceremony ideas would be libraries, Art Galleries, Historic Houses, barrel rooms in vineyards or a country chapel etc. You could even book a local church as a wet weather ceremony back up option.

This was one of the wettest weddings I have ever photographed. It was way out in the country, so there weren’t really many options on the day.

3. Book a wet weather location for your location photos

There are quite a few free wet weather locations around Sydney. But with over six hundred weddings in NSW each week and maybe a hundred plus weddings in Sydney, those wet weather locations quickly become packed with Brides and Grooms lining up for a photo, and it gets busier than Pitt St.

So if the weather forecast a few days before is for torrential rain, then it might be worth considering the idea of booking an indoor location for wedding photos. Pretty much any location, building, hotel, venue etc can be booked if arranged for well in advance. Think outside the box. And it would be even better if you choose a location that has some meaning to you. By booking a wet weather location for your photos, you will give yourself more choices on the day. If it’s a beautiful day on your wedding and you don’t end up using it then you will get beautiful photos outside. And if it is raining on your wedding day then you will be equally excited to go to the location that you booked.

Wet weather wedding photo locations in Sydney

  • Your accommodation – If you have a nice house or have booked a nice apartment, hotel or house then this could be a great wet weather alternative for you. So when you are choosing your wedding accommodation, think in the back of your mind if it could be a good wet weather back up for you.
  • Your reception venue – Your own reception venue may be a good option to do some of your wedding portraits. Speak with your photographer and get their opinion and check with your venue. But this is an easy option that is worth considering.
  • Paddington Reservoir – This is an awesome but popular wet weather location in Sydney. It is a former water reservoir that has been restored to a rustic garden setting that is sunken beneath the very busy Oxford Street. It is also worth noting that you can book this location for weddings and wedding ceremonies, so if you just turn up on the day of your wedding, you may not be able to use it if there is a wedding or even ton. Address: Corner of Oxford Street & Oatley Road, Paddington
  • Martin Place – I hate this place on wet weather wedding days because ‘every man and his dog’ goes here. It is really difficult to get parking and it’s busy. But there is some nice architectural archways and undercover areas.
  • Queen Victoria Building – The Queen Victoria Building (QVB) is a really good wet weather option as there are lovely staircases, domes, stained glass windows and some lovely architecture that photographers can work with. But you must book at least 7 days in advance as security will chase you out faster than you can say “but it’s my wedding day”. You will need to pay a fee of around $400 and your photographer must provide their public liability insurance of $20 million dollars!!!
  • 5-Star Hotels – Many 5-star hotels are a really good option for wedding photos because they have some awesome backgrounds, grand foyers, staircases and design elements. If you are staying there, check with the hotel if you are allowed to take your wedding photos if it rains. If they say it’s ok, get it in writing. A verbal agreement is not good enough because if security stops you, you have nothing to show them. And the person you spoke to probably doesn’t work on weekends. Otherwise, pay a fee and book it in so you don’t have anything to worry about. Organise it through the ‘Events” team at the hotel. They will know what they are doing and will be more helpful than the front office accommodation team. Hotels that are good options are Fullerton Hotel Sydney, Amora Hotel Jamison Sydney, Four Seasons Sydney, Sydney Harbour Marriott, Intercontinental Sydney, Sir Stamford Circular Quay, Radisson Blu Plaza, Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, Ovolo Woolloomooloo and probably many more I don’t know about.
  • Cockatoo Island – Take a water taxi and go to Cockatoo Island. There are so many undercover options there. You need a permit for wedding photography. It costs around $300 and it gives you access for up to 3 hours. Photographer will need public liability insurance of up to $10 million dollars and you need to organise the permit at least two weeks in advance.
  • University of Sydney – A permit is required for wedding photos. Not required for engagement photos. Great options for wet weather particularly around the Quadrangle Clocktower.
  • Sydney Opera House – no permit is needed if you are shooting outside. There is not heaps of cover but you can go under the sails and if its raining is will scare most of the tourists away so you might actually get a clear wide shot. My favourite location is in the front carpark. There are beams of light that light up the walls like in this photo.
  • Elizabeth Bay House – If you are getting married in the eastern suburbs of Sydney, you can struggle to find wet weather options. Book Elizabeth Bay House with its historic rooms and grand staircase for your wedding photos.
  • Sydney Aquarium – If you are an animal or shark lover, book in at the Sydney Aquarium. Even if it doesn’t rain, it would make a great location for wedding photos.
  • Sydney Cricket Ground – The SCG is a historic building. The inside, particularly around the ‘members’ area has many heritage features. You could even get photos in the stands. They do weddings, so there is no reason you couldn’t pay them to be able to have photos as well.
  • State Library of NSW – The libraries exhibition galleries and public spaces can be hired. If you love books then the library might be a lovely option.
  • State Theatre or Capitol Theatre – If you are a lover of the theatre or one of you is just a bit dramatic, maybe consider booking the State or Capitol Theatres. They do weddings and events and would be an awesome location for wedding photos.
  • Wynyard Train Station – Wynyard train station has been fully refurbished and looks awesome! Again, with anything to go with the government, it will cost you money and you need a permit. (Get one here). They have security cameras everywhere, so don’t think you can just run in and take a photo because security will be on to you like a flash.
  • Bridges and tunnels – They may not be the perfect location for a long period of time, they can be a good stop on the way to another location. If the rain is not too heavy, under the Sydney Harbour Bridge at either end. Under the Cahill Expressway at the Circular Quay end. The tunnel underneath the Harbour Bride that links the Rocks to Observatory Hill. There are a couple of tunnels along Hickson Road near Barangaroo. Tunnel under Sydney University. The tunnel at Lavender Bay on the North Sydney side of the Bridge.
  • Just walk with umbrellas – The beauty of wet weather weddings in Sydney is that there are so many buildings, archways, lanes, tunnels around that there is plenty of shelter available if it does start pouring with rain. If the rain is fairly light then go for a walk with your photographer. Start at one location and tell your cars to pick you up at another location and just walk there. Take a walk around The Rocks area. It is historic, very popular for wedding photos and there is still lots of little undercover places where you can shelter from the rain. Walk around the CBD and walk through laneways, under buildings and around. Or just go where ever you want and enjoy the rain and your wedding day.
Hotels offer unique photo opportunities.

4. Be Brave!

If it does rain on your wedding day my advice would be to just embrace it and be brave when you venture outside. You can get some beautiful photos in the rain. If it is torrential heavy rain then I probably wouldn’t go outside, but if the rain is fairly light, then you can go out with an umbrella and get some romantic and dramatic images. But you need to be brave!

5. Think about your hair

You know what happens to your hair in wet weather, even if it’s a little bit of drizzle? The frizz or limp look comes to mind. And when it does rain it is also often accompanied by a certain amount of wind as well.

So if you are thinking of wearing your hair out and the forecast is for rain, then you may have to rethink it. I am no hair specialist, but I have seen many Brides scared to venture outside because of the wind or drizzle because they are so worried about their hair. Even if it’s just getting from the car to the church. But by having your hair back with a load of bobby pins and a can of hairspray, it will give you the confidence to venture outside without the worry of your hair flying everywhere. It is best to speak to your hairstylist about your options, but it is something you should definitely keep in the back of your mind.

wet weather weddings

6. Take a photo at night in the rain

With the use of some flash and some creative photography, you can capture something quite unique in the rain at night. Night photos in the rain can look really cool. You put a flash or some flashes around to light up the rain… and boom! So during the reception step outside and dance in the rain a little :)

wet weather weddings
It was absolutely pouring for this photo. We ducked out of the reception, I put a flash behind them. Did a few test shots to get the exposure and flash power right and we were done in a few minutes.

7. Stay Positive

Don’t let the weather ruin your day. It is only one element to a wedding day. Have fun and stay positive. Remember the reason you are getting married. It’s not about the dress, the flowers, the decorations, your friends or even the photography. It’s all about the two of you.  

From a photography point of view, I love wet weather weddings because they can give you really unique, beautiful and fun images.     

wet weather weddings
What can you do? Sometimes you just have to accept it. Dance and have fun in the rain :)

One last thing…

From a photography standpoint, I really don’t mind a little rain on a wedding day. Some of my favourite weddings have been rainy day weddings. The light is just beautiful and the sky can be quite dramatic. Naturally, an absolute downpour is not ideal but a little light rain can be really beautiful in photos.

One of the nicest compliments I ever got was from a Bride who told me that after looking through my photos she had actually hoped it rained a bit on her wedding day… for the record, it didn’t rain on her wedding day… it was a lovely day. But it’s nice that some people are associating good things to a rainy day wedding, instead of the normal negative.

Some rainy day wet weather photo inspiration for you :)

Mindaribba House
Storms and wet weather can give you some really dramatic images. A storm starting rolling in here right after the ceremony. Lighting was flashing everywhere in the distance and we managed to get a few epic shots of this storm before it hit us. Storms can give you some of the most dramatic images.
With country weddings, there are often very little wet weather options. So just embrace the weather.
We had to make a dash across open ground in torrential rain.
Rain gives you beautiful soft light.
Enjoy yourselves and have fun in the rain.
A huge lightning storm was approaching our wedding venue in the Hunter Valley. We ducked out for a quick photo and then 5 minutes later it was absolute torrential rain. This was the first lightning photo I ever took at a wedding.

So hopefully these tips are helpful for anyone planning their wedding and remember it’s not necessarily a bad thing if it rains on your wedding day :)

And if you are looking for a wedding photographer who doesn’t mind shooting in the rain or bad weather, then please stay around and check out more of my work.

Wedding Photographer - Adam Cavanagh
Wedding Photographer – Adam Cavanagh
wet weather wedding tips