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A Wedding Plan for Any Season

When I was engaged, an unexpected snow day (or two or three) provided me with productive planning time for my upcoming summer wedding. It was the perfect time to leisurely browse through wedding blogs, pin to inspirational boards, and even to sketch out some of my ideas for the reception layout and begin to search for deals on some of the decorations I wanted to buy.

One thing these Southern storms remind us is that Mother Nature can throw a wrench in your plans, and that’s something to always think about when you are planning your wedding—no matter what time of year it is. Here are some tips for making sure you have a safe and weather-proof wedding plan for any season.

Winter wedding
If you’re getting married in the winter, you have no doubt chosen an indoor venue. Even with a fluke 65-degree day here and there, it’s just too risky to assume you or your guests can spend any time comfortably outdoors. What you can do, however, is plan to take some photographs outdoors as long as it isn’t in the middle of a storm. Snowy photographs are so beautiful and elegant! Purchase a warm coat or shawl that compliments your gown in case you do venture outdoors. Also, consider buying your bridesmaids, mother, etc. matching shawls so they don’t freeze if they join you outside for group photos.

Also, consider guests who are traveling long distances. They may not be tracking your wedding day weather as diligently as you are. Give them a heads up about what to expect. They may need to leave a day early if they are driving, or should be aware there could be flight delays.

Winter wedding at the Washington Duke

Photo: Riley MacLean Photography

Spring wedding
Spring is an absolutely beautiful time to get married in the South—with flowers blooming and mild temperatures, but it can also be a little risky. If your dream is outdoor nuptials, it’s best to go into a spring wedding with two plans.

The first can be your ideal plan: It’s 70 degrees, it hasn’t rained in weeks and there is no rain in sight; you can have your ceremony outdoors, take photographs outdoors, possibly even the reception, and know that your guests will be comfortable the whole time.

The backup plan, however, should account for factors like an unseasonably cold day or rain before or during the wedding, which can make for muddy grounds and slippery walkways. Have an indoor location planned as backup in case. It could even be under a pavilion, but make sure you order a few space heaters if you are getting married any time before May. Nights can be especially chilly. If it rains, have ushers or friends on hand to walk people with umbrellas and to help steady elderly guests (and women wearing heels!) over the slippery spots.

Umbrellas at a rainy wedding by Cyn Kain

Photo: Cyn Kain

Summer wedding
There is one thing to remember for this season: summers in the South can be hot! If you are getting married outside, be sure to choose a ceremony location that is shaded…for you and for your guests. It’s easy to overheat in direct sunlight.

Arrange to have bottles of water on ice (or sweet tea!) at your ceremony site for guests. You can also put out a selection of paper fans. Not only is this a good way for guests to cool down, but it also makes for a cute photo prop and you can buy them in bulk. Choose colored fans that match your wedding palette. This could be a cute idea for a spring wedding as well.

Also, consider your location and how buggy it gets. Is it near a pond where mosquitoes thrive? Does the venue treat the grounds for mosquitoes and flies? Do you need to consider having the food indoors to keep the flies from wrecking your meal, or the heat from melting your cake? Speak to your caterer and baker about these topics.

A pop-up thundershower cannot be ruled out in the summer. Have an “escape plan” in mind. Even if it looks completely clear a couple hours before the ceremony, know where to tell your wedding party and guests to go to get out of a quick downpour, and have some umbrellas on hand.

Summer outdoor wedding drinks by Brian Mullens

Photo: Brian Mullens

Fall wedding
Fall in the South is a lot like spring. It can be a gorgeous time to get married—with colorful foliage and mild temperatures, but again, planning to be outdoors the entire time is a risk. Similar to spring, have a backup plan for your outdoor elements. If your venue doesn’t have an indoor space available for the reception, a tent with closing sides will be necessary. Consider adding heaters to your package. The temperature at night in the fall can drop significantly compared to the daytime and presumably not everyone will be working up a sweat on the dance floor.

Be sure to take advantage of the scenes around you for unique photo opportunities. It might be a good idea to purchase matching shawls for your bridal party too in case it’s a chilly fall day.

Fall wedding at Oaks at Salem by Neil Boyd

Photo: Neil Boyd

Remember, a prepared bride is a relaxed bride. Be ready for anything, but mostly, be ready to enjoy every moment no matter what kind of weather arrives on your wedding day.North Carolina Spring wedding by Anna Kirby

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