Rain: The Uninvited Wedding Guest

“I gave up on checking weather.com the night before and assumed an indoor ceremony was in our future and out of our hands,” said Ms. Jacinto, an associate director at an investment firm. “But then 30 minutes before the start time, the sun came out.” The couple was able to swiftly switch from their Plan B — an on-site sheltered space — to the patio, their Plan A. “We ended up with a gorgeous ceremony,” Ms. Jacinto said. “But we were ready for whatever happened.”


A bridesmaid helped Maggie Kiley during her rainy wedding to Matthew Puckett in 2003 in Staatsburg, N.Y.

Chris Ramirez for The New York Times

A stormy wedding tests anyone’s patience; get upset (just briefly), then collect yourself and take what comes.

At Mariana Rodrigues and David Rothschild’s May 21 wedding at Cherry Hill in Central Park, rain began falling as guests boarded double-decker buses bound for a reception at the NoMad Hotel. “The bus driver was really kind and offered everyone on the upper deck ponchos, but I was pretty upset,” said Mrs. Rothschild, 32, a former financial executive. “Then I was upset with myself for being upset, and David reminded me that that was absolutely warranted, that I was allowed to have that moment.”

She did not let the moment last, though. “I realized it wasn’t perfect but it was a great celebration,” she said. “You have to remember that the weather is out of your control, and just enjoy yourself.”

Erin McGrail and Elliot Fleming invited 150 guests to their June 2014 wedding under a stately oak tree at the Destrehan Plantation, just outside New Orleans. Thirty minutes before the ceremony, the sky turned black. “Then it just started pouring torrentially in that typical New Orleans way,” Mrs. Fleming, 28, said.

Instead of panicking as she watched friends and family run for shelter at a gift shop, she played it cool. “At first I took it badly,” Mrs. Fleming said. “Then I saw how upset my mom was. So I said to myself, ‘Stay calm, we can figure this out.’”

The wedding was moved to the reception site nearby, where guests were seated at decorated tables. “But it didn’t matter: At that point I had just accepted it for what it was,” said Mrs. Fleming, who works in purchasing at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. Looking back, she added, she wouldn’t change a thing.

The bride and groom are the stars of the ceremony; their attitude will set the tone for the entire celebration.

“Your state of mind is going to determine your guests’ state of mind,” said Constantino Khalaf. Mr. Khalaf, 36, married David Khalaf, 38, on May 14 in Cathedral Park in Portland, Ore., the couple’s hometown, under drizzly skies with the occasional hard rain. There was no shelter for their 65 guests.

“We warned people far in advance to bring their umbrellas and raincoats, because we knew getting married in May in Portland was like playing Russian roulette with the weather,” said David Khalaf, who runs the Christian website Modern Kinship with his husband.

Then they made the best of it. During the reception, held at the wedding site, “We all huddled together to stay warm, and we danced in the rain,” he said. “If you’re just like, ‘Hey, this is a beautiful occasion, let’s dance in the rain,’ everybody is going to pick up on that,”

Read the fine print on the contracts from service providers.

“The first advice I would give is: Ask all your vendors what their rain policies are, and read the contracts closely,” said Mrs. Mallory Moore, the bride whose veil wouldn’t stay put and who is also an assistant United States attorney with the Western District of North Carolina.

That includes contracts with musicians. “Some live musicians who play string instruments won’t play in dampness,” she said. “We had a trio of horn players, so it worked out for us. But it might not have if we had a violinist.”

She also was not sure how her florist would handle broken vases; several were smashed in the storm. The couple was not charged. “But you really have to pay attention to that stuff,” Mrs. Mallory Moore said.


Jennifer Alden and Kirk Spahn knew there was a strong chance of rain on their wedding date, May 7, so umbrellas were at the ready for their guests in Los Gatos, Calif.

Peter DaSilva for The New York Times

Don’t forget the basics. Be sure there are plenty of umbrellas on hand, and bring some galoshes too.

Rachel Bowie felt personally responsible when the rain started coming down on May 13 at Jane’s Carousel in Brooklyn, where 99 guests had gathered to watch her and Matthew Dorville get married. “It was Friday the 13th. We sort of asked for it,” she said. But she was glad she remembered a tip from her photographer: buy a lot of clear umbrellas. “They don’t cast a shadow on your face,” said Mrs. Bowie, 33, an editor who lives in Brooklyn. If she had to do it over again, she would have asked a friend to pack galoshes for her, too. “Right before I walked down the aisle my shoes were so wet I was slipping in them. I had been jumping through those gross, deceptively deep New York City puddles.”

Maybe it is O.K. if you’re wedding has a few blemishes. Your marriage will, too.

Hurricane Irene was an uninvited guest at the August 2011 wedding of Jacqueline Shea and Matthew Bailey of Eatontown, N.J. When the bride was getting her nails done in preparation for the rehearsal dinner, an evacuation was ordered for an area that included the wedding site on the beach near Asbury Park.

“I was in denial, like, this is not happening,” said Mrs. Bailey, 35, a teacher of the deaf. The couple married that night at a local restaurant. Flowers were assembled from Trader Joe’s, and the bride’s mother bought a sheet cake from ShopRite.

Then, vendors refused to refund deposits for the wedding. A year later, the couple appeared on Anderson Cooper’s short-lived talk show, “Anderson,” ostensibly to warn other couples about the need to buy wedding insurance.

Instead, Mr. Cooper announced that the show was giving them a wedding redo, including a reception at the Wilshire Grand Hotel in West Orange, N.J., and a trip to the Caribbean island of St. Lucia, to renew their vows on the beach.

The Baileys now have two children, ages 1 and 2½, and more perspective on wedding-day disasters.

“I think what happened to us is sort of like a precursor to what everybody finds out once they’re married,” Mrs. Bailey said. “And that’s that there are ups and there are downs in married life, sometimes big ones. What you do is you make the most of it, no matter what.”

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