Wedding weather woes with Cloud9 Celebrations
While you might be sending the wedding weather gods all your positive vibes, and checking the weather forecast like a woman possessed, let’s face it – shit happens!
So how do you handle a sudden change in weather and what impact can it have on your day?
We decided to discuss this topic further with Shannon of Cloud9 Celebrations – an experienced celebrant that knows only too well the good and evil side of weather and it’s impact on even the best laid plans.
It immediately became clear why a ‘Plan B’, the health and safety of you, your guests and suppliers, and a good attitude are imperative to not allowing weather woes to ruin your day.
We live in a state where the weather is often unpredictable – would you say the majority of your ceremonies take place outdoor?
Absolutely. Being a civil celebrant in Australia means that we have the benefit of so many beautiful settings to capitalise on – especially in our stunning great outdoors.
From wedding to wedding and week to week, our ‘office’ could be a garden, a beach, a pier, a restaurant, someone’s home, a winery, a cruise ship … the possibilities are endless. More often than not, we find ourselves outside, dealing with whatever weather conditions and extreme elements are thrown our way.
For those couples choosing to be married outdoors, why do you believe it’s so important for them to have a ceremony back up plan?
It’s incredibly imperative! So often, we are forced by weather or other elements out of our control to move to a Plan B (or C, or D!) So by having a back up plan that is well thought out, well communicated and well accepted, it will ensure the smooth, stress free day that every Bride and Groom deserves!
You would have been exposed to all kinds of weather elements when it comes to officiating outdoor ceremonies – rain obviously springs to mind, but are there other elements a couple should consider when it comes to weather?
I consider heat and wind to be more evil than rain. Probably because whilst rain or extreme cold is the more obvious reason to move inside or to a more appropriate location, wind and extreme heat can often cause the most damage or make things uncomfortable for all those in attendance, yet are often overlooked.
Victoria has a tendency to throw us little heat waves throughout summer. Three or four days in a row of extreme heat, followed by a cool change. In those three or four days, everything heats up and there is often no retreat or reprieve. Combine this extreme heat with little or no shelter, a few cheeky champagnes and very little food all day pre-ceremony, and you have yourself a bridal party or guest catastrophe in the making!
Let’s not forget your older guests, pregnant guests, children and pets in attendance who are all even more susceptible to suffering from the heat. My advice – consider everyone’s health and safety first, rather than living out your dream of how the ceremony was ‘meant to play out’, or how the photos are going to look!
Chat to your suppliers about how you can ensure the health and safety of everyone, and if this means supplying ample water, hand held fans, umbrellas, quick shade marquees, or perhaps changing the ceremony time from the heat of the day, or moving to the air conditioned comfort of an indoor alternative – then please consider it!
Wind (whether it be a hot northerly, or a cool strong sea breeze) – can play havoc at ceremonies. Flyaway veils and paperwork, inability to hear the music or the beautiful words projecting from the microphone and speakers, not to mention completely ruining the immaculate hair you have just spent hours perfecting pre-ceremony! Standing in the wind for long periods of time is no fun for anyone – so why risk it on your wedding day?
Combine the both (wind and heat) and you’ve got yourself some pretty dangerous bush fire conditions. Another recipe for disaster altogether, and perhaps a whole new blog post!
So the worst case scenario has happened, it’s either bucketing down or 45 degrees, can you give any tips as to how a couple would go about notifying their guests of a ceremony change in a simple and stress free manner?
Depending on the timing of the inclement weather and how early the call is made, a clever, proactive Bride and Groom could have a number of strategies in place to notify guests of a ceremony change. Firstly, they would have previously discussed with their suppliers who and when the final call was going to be made and who would be responsible for notifying guests (and relevant suppliers.)
Should a move be imminent, I’d suggest having a number reliable ‘spokespeople’ or ‘messengers’ (perhaps your MC, best man or groomsmen) on standby with pre-prepared guests lists and phone numbers in order to get the message to everybody involved in a timely and orderly fashion.
Social media is another quick way of notifying friends and family, and of course, ensuring that someone is physically at the initial venue directing anyone who ‘missed the memo’ regarding the change.
We often hear a bride or groom say – but it’s only for 20 minutes they have to endure the conditions – what are your thoughts on this?
To which I’d reply; “your guests will remember the way you made them feel, so if that is freezing, wet, windswept or dripping with sweat, you can forget them remembering any of the niceties that you as the Bride and Groom say. You can forget them remembering how incredible the Bride looked floating down the aisle and the look of adoration on the groom’s face when he sees his bride for the first time. You can forget them having a chuckle over your beautiful story and smiling about your hopes and dreams for the future, because all they will remember is how awkward the conditions were for not only the 20 minutes or so that the ceremony goes for, but the additional 30 minutes before that (because they’ve arrived early not to miss a moment), and the extra time spent waiting for the Bride to arrive too.”
At what point should a couple discuss a back-up plan with their celebrant?
I tend to discuss “Plan B” at our planning meeting – very early in the piece. Let’s face it, no Bride or Groom wants to implement a Plan B, or even think about having to use it – that’s why we have Plan A’s right?!
But the sooner a couple can commence considering it, the better! I tend to encourage couples to think and plan for Plan B, just as much as they plan for Plan A! So often (especially in Victoria) we are forced to used it …. So why not make it just as special as Plan A! There is no reason it can’t be!
Always remember, at the end of the day, your wedding day is about marrying the love of your life. Whether it be Plan A, B, C or otherwise, this will still happen!
How does bad weather impact you as a celebrant in the performance of your ceremony?
There are a number of ways bad weather can impact the performance of a celebrant, depending on their tolerance to the various conditions.
While I love the heat, I often hear of other celebrants who just don’t have the same tolerance for it, and their welfare needs to be considered just as much as that of the guests. Let’s face it, if extreme heat causes your celebrant (who has often been on site for 1 hour prior to the ceremony) to faint, then the wedding legally can’t really go on. So there’s a pretty big impact, and reason to ensure they are looked after.
Strong winds can often interfere with our PA systems, making them almost inaudible, and of course rain affects our ability to use electronic equipment and PA systems altogether, again rendering the ceremony inaudible for all in attendance.
So while different celebrants will tolerate different conditions more than others, it is important to talk to your celebrant about the conditions they are willing to put themselves in to officiate for you. Your celebrant needs to make sure their expectations of a ‘suitable work environment’ are clear and understood and both the celebrant and Bride and Groom should work together to come up with a suitable ‘Plan B’ that satisfies all well before the Bride walks down the aisle!
How does bad weather impact a bride and groom?
Bad weather impacts the expectations, the dreams, the plans, and the logistics of the wedding day for a Bride and Groom. All of this however, can be managed effectively through forward planning, good communication and being realistic!
No matter how long you’ve been dreaming of your perfect day, weather conditions in a heartbeat can alter how you imagined it would pan out. As long as you realise that if plans have to change due to inclement weather – this will not impact of the main goal of the day – to be married!
Put your trust in your suppliers to help you make the right choices for the comfort, health and safety of all those in attendance, and let your wedding day, be remembered for all the right reasons!
This is exactly why Shannon of Cloud9 Celebrations is in demand and we cannot recommend her highly enough – to learn more about this fabulous celebrant, head over to her profile on The Tribe.
Photo by Lakshal Perera