On Weddings Not Going As Planned

Typically, pouring rain and outdoor, uncovered weddings don’t necessarily go hand in hand, but sometimes the least desired outcome is actually the best.

We planned for our wedding to be an intimate, 80-person celebration at the very end of summer. I always dreamed of my wedding on the shores of Lake Almanor, a remote lake in Northern California where my grandparents own a lake house and my family has visited every summer. We pictured an outdoor and uncovered ceremony and reception, not booking a tent on purpose. It was an extra couple thousand dollars, and with the average temperature for late summer being in the nineties, we decided it was an unnecessary expense.

Our wedding weekend came, and we had a warm, sun-drenched day before the wedding filled with boating, lawn games, and iced drinks. We all went to sleep full, happy, and tan. We awoke the next morning to partly gray skies, but no one expected it to rain. Then, immediately following the ceremony, just at the start of the reception, it rained. And by rained, I mean, downpour storm. We had no tent, no inside venue, no backup plan. 

There was no Plan B.

There I was, a brand new wife next to my handsome new husband, in the middle of unexpected, unplanned for, seemingly unfortunate circumstances. We had just said our vows and had committed ourselves to each other for life, and we found ourselves facing our first literal storm. I knew that this was a defining moment in our lives. We could choose to be upset about it, or we could choose to embrace it and have fun. We chose the latter and I am so glad that we did.

Since my husband and I both enjoy the dance floor and can follow a routine, we picked Beyonce’s choreographed dance to Move Your Body as our first dance. A far cry from traditional slow songs, and so perfectly fitting for what was happening all around us. The music started, the rain poured, and we danced our hearts out. The crowd was cheering and screaming, everyone was taking photos and videos, and we were dancing our choreographed first dance while splashing in puddles with me in my wedding dress and my husband in his suit. It was SO MUCH FUN. 

That memory is within the top ten moments of my life so far. A perfect picture of a near catastrophe happening all around us, and my husband and I side by side, deciding to make the most of it and turning a worst-case-scenario into The Best.

The rain continued to pour, the DJ was killing it, and everyone immediately joined us on the dance floor. How my husband and I chose to respond to the near dire circumstance set the tone for the night, and everyone seemed eager to follow suit. We had everyone out on the dance floor, from grandparents to babies, all soaked from the rain, dancing like crazy, and having the time of their lives.

In the age of pinteresty-perfect, over the top weddings, I’m thankful for a wedding that taught me a valuable life-long lesson: that nothing in life goes as planned. We get to choose how we react to every situation, and our actions will influence those around us.

To the newly engaged bride to be I say: Congratulations! You are about to embark on the most exciting, wonderful, fulfilling, lifelong adventure of your life in marriage. Remember that your wedding day is about your lifelong commitment to each other and not the color of the napkins, having peonies in your flower arrangements, or the thousands of other details we brides agonize over before the wedding. Realizing this can change your entire perspective on your wedding day. Things might happen that are unplanned, not ideal, and possibly just plain awful. This is ok, and can even be good, depending on how you react to them. Your guests will look to you for how to act on this day. If you’re having fun, they will too. When our expectations are set to perfection, they become unattainable. Keeping a level head and remembering the entire purpose of the day (you get to marry the love of your life) will help you stay grounded, and allow you to enjoy the day to the fullest, even if you find yourself caught in a pouring rainstorm.

Photo by Kate Price