For many brides, a dream wedding doesn’t include rain. But showers don’t mean everything is ruined, thanks to a little pre-wedding planning and flexibility.

The first tip from many planners: understand weather is ultimately out of your control.

“You can’t not be realistic with what could happen,” says Meris Gantt, owner/planner at The Whole Shebang.

“Understand weather is just out of your control. If it’s not raining, it could be too hot or too cold. But your day can still be beautiful,” says Kelli Rodriguez, owner/planner with Embellished Events for You.

“Let’s shoot for the stars, as we do with everything in the planning process. Try and execute everything that you envision and want, but at the same time, be realistic about the situation,” says Elizabeth Hempfling, owner/planner with Events by Elizabeth Ashley, LLC.

As Gantt says, plan for it — and love it.

“You need to love your Plan B. You don’t want to get to your wedding day, and you’re crying because you don’t love it,” she says. “Don’t just put together a crappy rain plan.”

In the planning stages, consider all of the options. Gantt recommends not maxing out the venue, especially in late October, November or April when rain is most likely. Consider how many guests can comfortably fit into a backup location, she says.

If a tent wedding is in the works, Hempfling recommends finding a building as backup. Her business has reserved church locations, and if the space goes unused, it’s a donation that can go back to the church, she says.

When budgeting, consider weatherproof additions and any additional costs associated with a last-minute change, the planners say.

“You’ll look at the tent prices and be like, ‘Oh, $500,’ but you’re not thinking about lights, poles and drapes, lights, heating if you need it — and that’s not even decorating,” Gantt says.

“Hire a professional team that will jump in and do everything they can for you, no matter what,” Hempfling says. “Never put too much on a family member, or someone who’s too close to you, because that can become a pitfall, unintentionally.”

All the planners also recommend buying umbrellas, just in case.

“Even if it’s just a light trickle and you’re having to cover people from A to B, that’s another thing we carry in our emergency wedding case,” Hempfling says.

Communicate expectations to guests, both before and during festivities.

“I’m from Michigan, so I don’t have a problem articulating expectations to them. I’m used to the weather changing a lot,” Rodriguez says. “Be mindful of people with limited mobility. Make sure there are options for them.”

Gantt recommends considering shoe choice and dressing in layers.

“Have it communicated to your people beforehand, if needed, that you’ll be walking outside before,” she says. “Being upfront with your guests before it starts.”

If things don’t go as planned, embrace it instead of fighting with it.

Gantt remembers one fall wedding where temperatures plunged. Her team bought fuzzy blankets and Hot Hands; the venue set out spiced cider last minute.

“We tried to make it festively cold. The team encouraged people to embrace the mountain weather. Not like ‘this is a problem.’ This is an experience,” she says.

One tent wedding Hempfling planned was flooded by rain. Her team sprang into action and used the barn on the property, opening up stalls, putting tables inside and making the barn beautiful, she says.

Finally, keep the big picture in mind.

“Realize it’s one of the biggest days of your life, but it doesn’t have to be perfect or just like you imagined it,” Gantt says.

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