Rain Planning - When, Why, and How


There’s an inside joke in the Oregon wedding industry about outside events - if you don’t plan for rain, it will - if you do, it won’t. Just a few weeks ago, mid-September, when the weather is still usually reliably beautiful in the Pacific Northwest, rain dumped on weddings across the valley.

It was an unexpected pour, with the weather report only changing in the last couple of days before. Most couples who hire and heed the advice of professional planners would have been covered (literally), but some wedding parties went on beneath a wet Oregon sky.

It’s not reasonable to reschedule a wedding due to rain, so its best to plan for the possibility well in advance. If you don’t have an amazing planner to ensure that all of your bases are covered, here are some tips on making a rain plan -

Think about your rain plan early in the planning process. You should consider the possibility of rain as early as when you book your venue. Assess the venue’s covered space and ask questions about the indoor capacity.

  • Will the indoor/covered space fit your entire wedding - guests, ceremony, cocktail hour, dinner, dancing, entertainment?

  • If you need to use a single space for two purposes (such as ceremony and dinner), is there a second space available for guests to go while catering staff do a “flip” (move furniture and set up)?

  • Will you need a tent to accommodate guests for any portion of your event, including during a “flip”?

There is a particularly busy weekend in September when there is a city-wide event and practically ALL rental companies are fully booked on products and labor. September is always generally busy and there is only a finite number of available tents and special laborers that assemble them. To avoid the possibility of being unable to obtain a tent, reserve one early in the planning process. If the weather is cooperative and you decide you won’t need the tent, you’ll pay a 25% reservation fee but it’s much better than having no option.

It’s important to know if the venue allows tents to be staked. Some tents can be installed with weights rather than stakes if a venue can’t accommodate staking, but this is important to know so that you reserve a tent that works for the space. Tents are also addressed at site visits when measurements are taken to ensure placement is possible.

You might heavily consider a large enough venue to accomodate all portions of your wedding. Tents can be as expensive as a venue, but they can also be beautiful - like the Sperry tents you can get from The Party Place. Also consider renting handheld umbrellas for gorgeous ceremonies in light rain (but don’t expect guests to stick out a down-pour).

Last, but also very important, communicate with your vendor team (especially your caterer) about your day-of rain plan. Caterers need to ensure they are staffed appropriately to meet all expectations, including the possibility of a flip, which requires several hands to complete in a timely way.

Ash Baldwin