Rain on your wedding day?

You’ve got this. Here’s your guide.

Helpful tips on how to avoid stress and get the most out of a rainy wedding day!


We’ve all been there.  Meticulously checking your phone’s weather app a week before your event.  Checking it again every hour for the rest of the week.  Asking your friends to check their phone to see if the weather is any different on their phones.  Doing a rain dance to make the rain go away.  Wait, is that just me?  Moving on…

It’s totally normal to feel uneasy about seeing rain forecasted for your wedding day.  What happens to the photo portraits happening outside?  What about the outdoor wedding ceremony?  If you’re familiar with Calgary’s erratic weather patterns, this is a legit concern.  But don’t worry!  I’ve compiled my 9 year experience with rain on wedding days into this list with helpful suggestions!

1. Outdoor wedding ceremony?  Consider a backup plan

There are two ways to go about planning an outdoor wedding ceremony while keeping the weather in mind: consider a location that has a backup indoor building, or shield from rain by way of umbrellas or tent rentals.

Lots of great spaces in Calgary have multiple options for ceremony locations, including indoor spots in the occassion that the skies are looking iffy on your wedding day.  You’ll want to consider what is most comfortable for your guests as well — some guests may have mobility issues or health concerns that would be best if they were warm and dry.  I’ve photographed a number of weddings where the ceremony had to be emergency relocated to the facility’s indoor location due to threat of rain (or it had already started raining just before the ceremony).  It’s an awesome option to have!


It rained for Michaela and Ryan’s wedding day, but we were able to relocate to the reception building without a hitch!

Some amazing outdoor locations with a backup indoor spot include: The Calgary Zoo, Valley Ridge Golf Club, Elbow Springs Golf Club, Bow Valley Ranche Restaurant, Bonterra Trattoria, Lougheed House, River Cafe, Cochrane Ranchehouse, and Spruce Meadows.

Another option if the rain isn’t too heavy is to get a pile of umbrellas and have everyone huddle underneath.  Makes for really cute photos!  If the rain is forecasted to be too much, I would highly recommend renting a tent, which a number of companies in Calgary are available to do.


Renting a tent makes for a great reception space while still being outdoors.

2. Have weather appropriate (and cute!) clothing prepared

Most brides really don’t want to consider having to get rain jackets or rain boots, but there are some seriously cute options out there!

cute wedding rain boots calgary

Rain boots of every color and customization!

On top of it all, feel free to use this as an excuse to bring along some amazing umbrellas for photos!  I usually have a HUGE stack of umbrellas that can cover up to 12 persons in my vehicle at all times.  Here’s a not-so-secret — I LOVE rain photos.  Some of my favorite photos have been done in the rain by using a light to sparkle up falling rain or snow.

Rain looks like being in front of a galactic milky way!


Get creative with umbrellas with colors that match your wedding color theme — including rainbow like at Crystal and Kalem’s wedding!


Snow and mountains make for gorgeous scenery!

Don’t forget to BRING TOWELS!

3. Makeup and hair tips

My ultimate tip for makeup and hair on rainy wedding days is to consider hiring a professional to take care of this portion of your day.  Professionals will know the right products to use and the best way to updo hair so you’re not having to second guess yourself.


Bride Roanne enjoys a relaxing morning by having her makeup done by a professional.

Some makeup tips to consider: keep your moisturizer light as the air will be more humid than on a dry day.  Obviously, wear waterproof/water-resistant makeup (also a good idea for tears!) and carry blot paper with you for quick fixes and for removing shine left by moisture on the skin. Consider a setting spray such as Urban Decay All Nighter Makeup Setting Spray.  For hair, try a humidity resistant spray such as ALTERNA Haircare Bamboo Smooth Anti-Humidity Hair Spray. To minimize frizzing and stray hairs, consider pinning back as much hair as possible.  Try using braids for fun, creative updos!

If your makeup artist and hair stylist is not available to stay with you throughout the day, ask your professionals for additional tips on how to care or fix makeup and hair; have one of your bridesmaids aid you to freshen up!

4. Take your time and consider a “Plan B”

I’ve photographed enough weddings to know that tight wedding timelines are a recipe for disaster.  Give yourself and your bridal party ample time to get portraits done, and if time restriction is inevitable, consider reducing the amount of locations you plan to visit on your wedding day for portraits.  There is nothing more frustrating than to see a bride and groom get upset over things outside of their control interfering with their timeline of events.  Take it easy, give yourselves plenty of time (even too much time) to have portraits done and don’t rush to get in every desired location.  Portraits can be done in a single area if necessary and ultimately, the most important part of a portrait are the people, not so much the location!


Courtney and Scott enjoy a moment to themselves, despite the rain!

It’s important to consider a “Plan B” for portraits if the rain is excessive and too much for just umbrellas.  Here is a list of Calgary places I would highly recommend checking out as a backup plan: The Calgary Zoo, Devonian Gardens, Winter Gardens located in Jamieson Place, numerous atriums in downtown Calgary are quite beautiful, lots of cool coffee shops like Starbucks and Cafe Rosso, The Bay arches downtown provide great shelter, shops along Stephen Ave, shops along 17 Ave, colorful pubs and bars across the city.  Please note that some of these areas may have fees for usage of space, and should be called ahead of time to double check.


Katie and Adam inside Cibo Restaurant for their engagement session!


The Calgary Zoo has numerous buildings, including the Butterfly Conservatory, full of amazing flora and fauna!


Rain brings amazing clouds for epic sky photos!

5. Say “yes” to a wedding planner

Rain is just another reason (out of a billion) where having a wedding planner to take care of things behind the scenes will help you enormously throughout the day.  You’ll have the comfort (and your sanity) of knowing that no matter what the weather may bring, your wedding planner and their team will be able to respond to any changes in weather.  Wedding planners will get to know your expectations and plan the details of your wedding day together with you, so that if they need to make a weather-based change without you being present, it’ll be a smooth and flawless transition for you and your guests.

I have worked with a number of wedding planners that I list in my recommended vendors page, and also deliver a physical list of recommended vendors to every couple that signs up with me.

6. Trust your photographer

Last but not least, make sure that you hire a photographer you are comfortable with trusting your special day to.  At the end of the wedding day, your wedding photos will be the most important and visceral item of your special day.  Ask your photographer the important and difficult scenario questions, and make sure you are confident that they can handle whatever situation comes their way.  Setting expectations from the very beginning is most important!  I always tell my brides and grooms that the wedding photographer is the one vendor that is with you for the entirety of the day; having that connection and understanding is invaluable.  I would never let my brides and grooms do something uncomfortable, and I would always ensure the photo experience is a positive one — and one with fantastic results!


Beautiful rain clouds for Katie and Adam’s big day in Canmore!

Thank you so much for reading!

I hope this helps put you at ease for your rain-expected wedding day! Are there any questions I didn’t answer, or want to know more about my services? Please feel free to contact me using the form below. I’d love to hear from you!

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