Hudson Valley wedding photographer Jeremiah Shaffer

7 Things You Need To Do If Severe Weather Threatens Your Wedding Day

No matter how much time or money you spend planning your wedding, there is always that one unpredictable factor no one can see coming. That, of course, is the weather. What do you do when Mother Nature has plans to crash your wedding? Well, unfortunately, nothing. No matter how hard you try, you can’t control what she has in store. However, what you CAN control is how prepared you are for such an event.


Up here in the Hudson Valley, we’re nestled away within the mountains and rarely see the devastation and destruction hurricanes like Katrina, Sandy, and Harvey have wreaked. Don’t get me wrong. We’ve seen our fair share of weather disasters; flooding, tornadoes, and let’s not forget the dreaded four-letter word…SNOW! Remember that time a blizzard dumped 2 feet of snow on us…IN ONE DAY!

Now, rain or snow is something no one ever really wants on their wedding day, but, at least it’s manageable and can make for some really cool photo ops. But when Mother Nature is fuming mad and just wants to destroy everything in her path, you can take a proactive approach to making sure that you are prepared just in case the worse weather event was to happen on your wedding day.

Plan ahead


Photo Credit: WCHV

You know your area’s weather patterns and one of the ways you can try to avoid severe weather disasters is to plan your wedding in a season that is not typically known for severe weather.  For example, it’s safe to say that winter can be brutal in the Hudson Valley. Some people love the winter and have always dreamed of having a “winter wonderland” themed wedding. Others want to save money on their wedding by having a wedding in the winter, which is typically the “off” season. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those scenarios, you just need to be aware that any wedding planned between late October and late April in the Hudson Valley can bring with it unexpected white stuff. A few inches here or there isn’t really much to be too concerned about, but when you have blizzards and a State of Emergency issued, then you have problems. If you’re ok with possibly having snow to contend with at your wedding, go for it! If not, you may want to plan for a different season. Of course, as we all know the weather has it’s quirks at other times of the year as well, but they summer, fall and spring seem to be a bit “safer” and more “predictable”.


Have a conversation with your vendors


Today, the weather never really comes as a surprise. You know a few days ahead of time what the weather is going to be, so if you have a wedding planned during a time when severe weather is predicted, you NEED to contact your vendors IMMEDIATELY, and not by email or text. You need to CALL THEM right away, express your concerns and discuss a contingency plan. It’s always better to have a plan “B” in your pocket and not need it, then to need it and not have one. Chances are, if you and live in the same area as your vendors, they’re going to be affected too. What do they plan on doing if severe weather strikes? Do they have different days available if you need to reschedule? Do they have a sister venue they can move your wedding to that may not be affected by weather? Do they have suggestions, from their experience, as to what you should do about the impending severe weather such as keeping it scheduled as planned or rescheduling it? Even with a simple rainy day, you want to make sure your venue and all your vendors are prepared for a plan “B” if your ceremony was going to be outside and you need to move it inside.



Check your contracts


Now is a good time to review your vendor contracts. Honestly, you need to have this discussion right at booking, but if it’s been a while since you’ve looked at your vendor contracts, pull them out. Many contracts should have a clause (and if not, make sure you can have one put in) that explains what to do if there is an emergency, whether related or not. What if you or your partner ends up sick in the hospital? What if a freak storm sweeps through the area and a tree falls on your photographer’s or DJ’s car or house and they can’t get to your wedding? What if the venue gets flooded? What if, there’s a blizzard and there’s two feet of snow on the ground and the whole city and surrounding area is under a State of Emergency? You need to know how everyone will be prepared, how your DEPOSIT will be handled, and how to navigate a reschedule if need be. You also want to review what happens if your guests can’t make it. Are you still going to have to pay for no-shows or will you get something in exchange for the price of their plate, like an upgrade in appetizers or dessert or an extra comp hotel room?

Reach out to guests


Hudson Valley wedding photographer Jeremiah Shaffer

Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer

You need to keep your guests in the loop. Remember, some may be coming from hundreds of miles away and you want to give them enough notice to change their travel plans if need be. This is where having a wedding website comes in handy. You can post updates there, but in addition to that, make sure you CALL each and every guest to keep them aware of the situation and to fill them in on any changes that may be coming. Be prepared that if severe weather is predicted, and if all “systems are go”, some guests may still not be able to come. Also, keep in mind that if you do need to make the choice to reschedule your wedding, some guests may not be able to make it to your new date either, depending on when you reschedule.


Reach out to travel providers


Chances are, you and your spouse will probably be taking a honeymoon right after your wedding. So, while you may not be experiencing bad weather where you are getting married, severe weather may be happening where you plan on honeymooning. Well, we all know that severe weather never lasts just one day. There’s often times a residual mess that a hurricane or blizzard leave in its wake. which, can be just as messy (and devastating) as the weather itself. If you are flying, driving, staying at a hotel or cruising anywhere, you want to make sure you contact your travel providers ASAP to see what their protocol is, if, for any reason you need to cancel or delay your honeymoon.

Another tip is when you book your honeymoon, make sure you take out travel insurance for just this reason. When my husband and I honeymooned, we took out insurance on our cruise. Well, wouldn’t you know, Hurricane Sandy was just starting off as a Tropical Depression and we were chasing it the whole way home. Thankfully, everything was fine and it wasn’t until we got home that it turned into what it was, but imagine if we did cruise a week later and were in the full midst of it, with no insurance?



Hire a planner


If you are really concerned about severe weather ruining your wedding, you might want to consider hiring a planner. A planner is trained and certified to be the eyes and ears for you. They can take care of the vendor contracts, and help you find a new date or venue (if need be). You can then decide, based on the information they give you, and the information you received from your vendors, whether to keep your date or reschedule. You will still need to do some work, such as reaching out to your guests, but they will do the heavy lifting for you and create or recreate your day to exactly the way you wanted it if severe weather strikes.

Make the best of it


Last, but not least, “Turn lemons into lemonade”. Say, for example, your wedding is on a Saturday and there is a snow storm predicted for that day, but the day before is predicted to be sunny and clear. If the snow isn’t going to accumulate to much, but enough to make it bad for travel, you might want to consider asking guests who can or want to, to come a day early, on Friday, and make a weekend out of it. Not only will they be in town for your wedding and won’t have to worry about traveling in bad weather the day of, but you can hang out in your hotel, have brunch the next day, turn what could be a terrible situation into one that is unexpectedly more fun and memorable than what you originally planned. This will work especially well if your ceremony and reception are going to be at the same place and if that venue also offers lodging, such as a hotel.

We want to hear from you. If you are already married, did you face any weather challenges, and if so, what were they and how did you handle them?


Featured Photo Credit: Jeremiah Shaffer


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