If you’re a couple looking to have your wedding day outdoors, one element in particular always adds unnecessary stress week-of. That element being rain, of course.
The thought of the day you’ve been planning for months and even years (plural!) being rained out may keep you up at night. However, with such little control over Mother Nature, the best thing that we can do is be prepared. Knowing how to prepare for a rainy wedding day may ease your nerves. It could even have you feeling excited no matter what the outcome may be.
If you’re looking at the weather forecast and see rain for your wedding day, the first thing you MUST do is try not to panic. Panic can lead to a lot of irrational thoughts and decisions, and can lead you towards a downward spiral. That we absolutely don’t want. Instead try to stay as cool, calm and collected and be hopeful that the weather may clear up for your wedding day. Becuase in my experience, most of the time it does.
Dresses can be dried, hair & makeup can be touched up, and we can make backup on backup plan to ensure that your dream is still your dream freakin’ day.
In the case that it doesn’t, follow the next few tips & tricks that I have.
Accept and Embrace It!
Many of you may not like this answer, but one of the best ways to prepare for a rainy wedding day is to accept it and embrace it. I know, I know… not really want you want to hear. However, like we’ve been saying this entire time. We can’t change what is going to happen when it comes to the weather. Yeah, decor and minute details can be fixed but weather? Sorry.
Knowing that there are some things we absolutely cannot change makes it easier to accept the fact that it may rain on your wedding day. Even if it’s raining though, this doesn’t mean that your wedding photographs will turn out horribly. In fact, some of the most beautiful weddings I have captured as a Chicago Wedding Photographer happened on a rainy wedding day. Not all hope is lost, trust me!
Buy Some Clear Umbrellas
One of the most important things that you can do to prepare for a rainy wedding day is to purchase clear umbrellas. Clear umbrella’s are a great way to protect yourself from the elements and they look just so darn cute in photos! They also let as much light as possible in so that your shining faces are well-lit AND protected from the rain. You absolutely can turn having umbrella’s in your photos into such a vibe and make your wedding photos just that much more unique and different from other weddings.
I typically recommend investing in a couple clear umbrella’s since they don’t distract from any beautiful backdrops and your faces are still well-lit in your wedding portraits. It’s also important that throughout your wedding day you take these umbrella’s everywhere. When I mean everywhere, I mean everywhere. You never know when rain will strike and radars can be unreliable. So always be prepped and ready and bring your clear umbrella’s along for the party.
As someone that’s out in the elements every single weekend in the summer, I have a few of these clear umbrellas in my possession on every shoot – no matter the forecast. For example, on Sara and Greg’s wedding (pictured above) there was NO chance for rain on that day. Sure enough, right as we walked out of the church for photographs it was POURING. I ran back to my car quick to grab my trusty umbrellas and we were still able to take portraits outdoors even though the couple had thought the downpour had ruined their day.
As a reminder, don’t forget to take into account how long shipping can be. Especially nowadays, things can take twice as long to arrive. So if you’re planning on ordering clear umbrella’s I recommend you do this right after you see there’s a chance for rain on your day. Or better yet, order them a few weeks in advance just in case so that you can still access the return window after your wedding if you didn’t use them!
See If Tent Rentals Are An Option
If your entire wedding day is to be set outside and it’s pouring rain, I recommend seeing if tent rentals are an option. Some wedding venues offer tents for their couples as a part of their wedding package. While others will charge a small fee to rent one out.
However, when it rains this small fee may be worth it to you. There are several different options for different kinds of tents depending on the type of look you’re going for. There are also tents that have clear siding that help prevent rain from blowing in as well. Tent rentals are here for a reason. They even may be just what you need to save your wedding day, you never know!
Pack A Rainy Wedding Day Emergency Kit
When it rains, it’s also handy to pack a rainy wedding day emergency kit. This emergency kit will carry all of the essentials just in case something goes awry and you need a quick touchup. Some things to include in your rainy wedding day emergency kit are:
- A hairdryer (or multiple) to dry wet clothes and hair
- Extra hair tools for touch-ups (curling and straightening irons – they have battery-operated minis of these too!)
- Extra hairspray since it’s usually humid when it rains which = frizz!
- Bobby pins just in case your hair falls out of place
- Extra Makeup/Powder/Blotting Papers to wipe any water or sweat that may be on your face from running around outside
- A few small towels to dry yourself off
- A larger towel to place underneath your dress to protect it from the wet ground
The Best Advice On How To Prepare For A Rainy Wedding Day
Stressing about the rain doesn’t do anybody good. In fact, it can add so much extra stress on top of everything else that you are dealing with. This is a time that is exciting and special and should be cherished, no matter what the weather forecast says.
The best advice that I can give you on how to prepare for a rainy wedding day is to move past the panic and think about possible solutions! Embrace the meaning of your wedding day rather than trying to make everything perfect and things will work out.
If worst comes to worst and it’s really pouring all day long, trust in my talent as your Chicago Wedding Photographer to make any situation work for photos. That’s why hiring a wedding photographer who you feel comfortable with and trust is SO important. Especially during moments like these.
Chicago Wedding Locations For Rainy Wedding Days
If rain is forecasted for your wedding day, know that there are several backup plans we can creat to help save your wedding day. While these may not be all of your cup of tea, knowing that there are other options for you just in case may help put your mind at ease.
Below are some of the Chicago wedding locations for rainy wedding days just in case.
Your Wedding Venue
As obvious as this may be, your venue is the perfect place that is already rented just for you so you won’t have to wait in line for photographs. Your venue is typically always my first suggestion when rain comes along on your wedding day. Although if we’re not feeling the vibes, it’s too dark, or you want to explore other options, we have a few more!
The Rookery is a historic building here in Chicago and is a perfect location for wedding portraits on a rainy wedding day. With its unique architecture and design, it makes for some pretty epic wedding portraits that will have your jaw to the floor. Built in 1888, its grand nature is one of my favorite locations for indoor portraits here in Chicago.
Permit Fees: You will need to purchase a permit and fill out a photography authorization form in order to shoot here. Depending on how long you plan on shooting at The Rookery, this can determine the pricing. Permits vary from $150 – $275 for 30 to 60 minutes of shooting.
Lyric Opera House
The Lyric Opera House is a building built back in the early 1900’s. Giving Great Gatsby-esque vibes, the Lyric Opera House is the perfect backdrop for any Chicago wedding portraits. It’s covered with gilded gold, and sparkling chandeliers that add that extra *oomph* to any of your wedding photos.
Permit Fees: As of summer 2023, there are no permit’s required to shoot at the Lyric Opera House. However, you are prohibited from shooting any photos during any live performance at the Opera House.
Lincoln Park Honeycomb (AKA Education Pavilion)
The Education Pavilion or better known as The Honeycomb in Lincoln Park Zoo is another fabulous location for rainy wedding day portraits. A structure that resembles a honeycomb that was built back in 2010 and makes for a unique backdrop for your wedding portraits. You have stunning 360-degree scenic views of the zoo and it’s truly a one-of-a-kind spot for your wedding day photos.
Permit Fees: You need to secure a photo permit in order to shoot at the Lincoln Park Zoo/The Honeycomb. The Lincoln Park Zoo charges $150 per session for formal photos. You will also need to contact them directly in order to secure an official permit or fill out the authorization form here.
Garfield Park Conservatory
One of my favorite rainy wedding day portrait locations has got to be the Garfield Park Conservatory. One of the largest botanical gardens in the nation, the Garfield Park Conservatory is surrounded by tons of greenery and lush flora. It really makes you feel like you’re in the middle of the tropics and is absolutely a top choice for rainy wedding day photos.
Permit Fees: You will need to purchase a permit in order for you to shoot at the Garfield Park Conservatory. You first need to make an appointment for a time slot with the conservatory. Then you will need to secure a photo permit through the Chicago Park District. Permit fees to shoot at the Garfield Park Conservatory start at $45 and go up depending on the number of people. You can view more of that info and how to reserve a permit here.
Chicago Union Station
Chicago Union Station is one of those iconic Chicago landmarks. It’s Chicago’s national railroad hub and is a treasured piece of history for the Windy City. While it does hold its status for being a major transportation hub, many couples choose to get their portraits done here and even host events here.
Permit Fees: To shoot at the Chicago Union Station, you will need to purchase a photo permit. You will need to fill out this form here and pay the $150 permit fee. You need to bring your permit and payment to 500 West Jackson, Suite 107 for your permit to be accepted. The permit also must be obtained at least 48 hours prior to the photography date. Read more about permit requirements for the Chicago Union Station here.
Ping Tom Memorial Park
Tom Ping Memorial Park or Ping Tom Park as we like to call it is a 17.44-acre park that offers plenty of space for your rainy wedding day portraits. While a good majority of the park is outdoors, there is a blue flower mural that is covered which offers protection from the elements. The mural is gorgeous and makes for a unique and vibrant backdrop for your wedding photos. A must-see for sure!
Permit Fees: There are no permits required to shoot under the flower mural at Ping Tom Park. Other areas of Ping Tom Park may require permits. You can read more about that here.
Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center offers a grand space for your wedding day portraits. With stunning stained glass windows and art exhibits, The Chicago Cultural Center is a surefire way to get some stunning wedding portraits.
Permit Fees: To shoot at The Chicago Cultural Center you do not need to purchase a permit. However, there are photo rules and regulations we need to abide by. You can read more about those here.
Chicago Athletic Association (Lobby)
The Chicago Athletic Association is one of those places that make you feel really expensive right as you walk through the door. You can’t shoot throughout the hotel if you’re not a guest. However, you absolutely can utilize the lobby space for some STUNNING wedding photos. Keep in mind that the lobby is not that large and not suitable for larger wedding parties.
Permit Fees: You are responsible to purchase a permit in order to shoot inside the Chicago Athletic Association. You can learn more about permit fees and where to apply for the permit by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Old Post Office
Last but certainly not least is The Old Post Office. After a massive renovation, this space just screams elegance and offers so much potential for your rainy wedding day photos. It’s grand in structure and can give off bougie urban vibes while protecting yourself from all the rain. Honestly, it’s a win-win in my book.
Permit Fees: You are responsible for purchasing a photography permit of $150 in order to photograph inside The Old Post Office. You also must contact email@example.com in order to secure your permit.
How to Prepare For A Rainy Wedding Day
At this point, I have thrown a lot of information at you. I get it, but it’s best to know how to prepare for a rainy wedding day before it actually happens. In the chance that rain is seen in your future, please don’t panic. Your wedding vendors are here to ensure that your wedding day runs as smoothly as possible. Even when Mother Nature isn’t on your side, we sure are!
Get In Touch! | Chicago Wedding Photographer
Hey, I’m Emma! A Chicago Wedding and Elopement Photographer ready to document your day in a candid and documentary style. If you liked reading this blog on how to prepare for a rainy wedding day, inquire here. Let’s chat through the vision of your wedding day!