The Pacific Northwest is a beautiful place. Green and lush year-round, it lends itself to beautiful, sweeping vistas and incredible natural settings for weddings, engagement and portrait shoots, etc. But the pitfall of living in such a lush place is the rain that falls for many months of the year. Most brides planning a Portland or Seattle wedding know they've got to have an "inclement weather contingency plan". What a downer, right? Naturally, you want to be optimistic about your wedding day, and you believe in your heart of hearts that you'll have beautiful sunshine on your big day. But sadly, mama nature doesn't always accommodate our optimism, so it's important to have a backup plan. What will you do with your elegant outdoor affair if it starts raining cats and dogs? Will you still try to hold the ceremony outdoors, but find an indoor option for your reception? Or will you relocate all those delicate decorations indoors and create a ceremony space inside too?
One couple I photographed at the Jupiter Hotel in May were worried about the rain. Their wedding and reception would be held in the urban-chic Dream Tent at the hotel, but we wanted to do portraits outside. A week before their wedding we were all anxiously watching the forecast, fretting about the predicted precipitation. We conferred, and I made a suggestion: their wedding colors were silver with yellow accents, so I recommended they buy several yellow umbrellas, and cute yellow galoshes for the bride. Carrie, the bride, bought several bright yellow umbrellas, and was eager to use them. We actually fell in love with this vision for a rainy-day wedding portrait session so much that when the weather cleared up on the big day, we were almost disappointed! (We were able to take some awesome images anyway, and the wedding was later featured on the Sassy Bride blog.)
What are you doing to create your contingency plan? Are you talking with your coordinator and your photographer about wet weather options?
For brides looking for adorable galoshes (rainboots) online, check out Chooka or What a Pair. I'm a huge advocate of shopping locally, so if you're local to Portland, you must go to Presents of Mind on Hawthorne and check out all their adorable, shiny boots. They have a fabulous selection and friendly staff who can help you with any questions!
It's a teensy bit more difficult to find a large selection of umbrellas locally, especially when you're searching for a specific color. If anyone has suggestions for local shops to try, please comment! In the meantime, try searching the web for "wedding umbrella" and you'll find a wide range of options. For something special or handmade, try Etsy.
And remember: protect your hair and your face from getting too wet, but your dress won't fall apart if it gets a little damp. As long as you keep your head covered most of the time, it's perfectly okay to do a portrait shoot in the rain - it may even make for more dramatic or fun images!
Happy wedding planning!