Outdoor Weddings II: Sudden Weather

While a day might look perfect in your mind, it won't always turn out so wonderful on your wedding day.It's often said that if you don't like the weather in New England, you should go inside and wait ten minutes because it's bound to change. Every so often mother nature likes to remind us of her sense of whimsy by dropping some snow in the spring or a rain of toads. The year 1816 was known in New England as the year without a summer because a series of volcanic eruptions across the globe caused temperatures to drop and severe snowstorms to hit the region, in June.

When planning your wedding, especially a year ahead of time, it's important to keep that caprice in mind. June might normally be a lovely time of year but wind, rain or even brush fires can cause the perfect outdoor wedding to become a perfect mess. How do you cope with these weather events?

Location, Location, Location: First, by choosing a site that minimizes your risks. Your wedding site should be higher than the surrounding terrain (to minimize the risk of flooding) and screened from the wind either by a line of trees or buildings (because wind will whip around your hair, your decorations and your guests if you're not careful). If you can, visit your wedding site after it has been raining heavily because rain can be trouble even before yoru wedding day by creating muddy morasses where you wanted to seat your guests.

Under the Big Top, Not Just for Circuses: The second piece of protecting your wedding from the weather is tenting. Even on a perfect day a little shade is very welcome for older family members who can't be out in the sun too long or vampires (after all, it's your day to sparkle, not theirs). In inclement weather you can move your ceremony or reception into a tent (though it might get a little crowded) if there's no indoor option available to you. Which brings me to the third piece of advice. If you're just dealing with mud, there are a number of portable flooring options (from rolling out the red carpet to putting down a parquet) that will keep your feet high and dry.

Tents can also hold their own magical moments, and they serve as a great framework for lights and other decorations.Plan Alternatives: If you're getting married somewhere because of the beautiful grounds and are worried about the weather, find out if they have an indoor option available. While some venues are large enough to have many weddings happening at once, often you'll have the run of the show and will be able to take over the indoors in case of an emergency. Check with your venue or planner for details.

Blown Away: Fourth, make sure that everything is anchored properly. When shooting a wedding last summer in Amherst, Massachusetts, the couple had placed a beautiful arbor bedecked with flowers behind them and during the ceremony it fell over twice and a few more times during the formals.

There's a way to balance stability with style so your wedding doesn't look like a construction site. Sandbags and weights can be hidden in large planters (as your florist will tell you, flowers make everything better) and those guy wires can be gussied up with strings of lights or tape (decorative rather than duct).

Also, don't forget your hair. You want your do to hold but still look lively, as with all other aspects of your life a good hairdresser is your best friend.

If All Else Fails: Finally, look into event insurance. When you're spending tens of thousands of dollars on one special day in your life, it's often not much more expensive to insure your investments in case things do fall apart. Some premiums even cover host liquor liability which is a great complement to that open bar.

It might seem that planning a wedding outdoors is planning for failure, but if you do it right then the odds are with you. Just keep in mind that while your fiance and your bridesmaids might be willing to do whatever you say on your special day, mother nature listens to no one.