They say it's good luck, but let's be real. No one wants rain on their wedding day. So what do you do when good old Tom Skilling is calling for rain the weekend of your wedding? Have no fear! Your wedding photos don't have to be ruined. Here are a few tips I love sharing with my wedding couples: Rain Day Photo Plan Make a back-up plan, and then a back-up to your back-up plan. And then, hey, while we're at it, let's make a back-up to the back-up back-up plan. It never hurts to be over prepared. After all, these are your wedding photos and you want them to be great no matter what the weather is like that day. I'd like to believe that in some secret law of life, the more you prepare, the less the likelihood it will end up raining at all. Of course, I can't guarantee that, so be flexible and be ready with a few alternative ideas. Setting a plan for rain in advance will put you at ease. Just don't forget an umbrella! Even if you have 10 rain back-up plans, without an umbrella you won't be able to stay dry while getting from the limo to the photo location.
Coordinating Umbrellas Start checking that forecast a week ahead of time. If there's even a slight chance of rain for your wedding date, go out and purchase matching umbrellas for you and your wedding party. Keep in mind that you might end up using these in photos, so make sure they coordinate with your color scheme and style. Going neutral with a black or gray umbrella is always a safe bet, but don't be afraid to experiment with color. My personal favorite is the clear plastic bubble style umbrella that you can find online and at Target. You can see through them, and, as a bonus, they keep you extra dry! Remember to leave the tags on the umbrellas so that if it doesn't rain, you can return them later.
Chicago Rain Photo Locations Don't give up hope! There are plenty of options in Chicago for beautiful rain day photos. My clients often request Chicago's Lincoln Park area as a primary choice for their wedding and engagement portraits. This location is beautiful during any time of the year, but guess what? It has a few secret gems that are great for rain day wedding photos. The Honey Comb structure near the South Pond is actually covered with clear plexiglass, keeping you dry as you stand underneath it. There's also the Lincoln Park Conservatory, which features plenty of windows, natural light, and greenery for the nature lovers. For indoor locations, be sure to call ahead a few days beforehand. Many of Chicago's beautiful buildings require you to purchase a photo permit to be allowed to take photos there with your wedding party. Also, if that particular venue is hosting a wedding that day, you might have to work around a tight schedule for portraits. Union Station is a classic choice for Chicago rain day photos. Even if you aren't able to take photos inside, the entrance way is covered and features those big, beautiful columns that can be beautiful for photos.
Don't forget to consider your ceremony and reception locations, as well as where you'll be getting ready. If you are having a wedding in the city, one of the best rain day "insurance" plan you can make is to pick a hotel with a beautiful, well lit lobby that would function as a setting for some of your wedding day photos. As long as you are a guest, hotels generally are fine with you taking photos in their open spaces. If you love your reception and/or ceremony space, use it! You've already reserved these locations as the setting for your wedding day. You might as well embrace these locations for your photos, too.
Think Outside of the Box Be creative! There are all sorts of ideas out there. Can you think of any alternative indoor spots that would still match your overall style and theme? Think: El Stations, the entrance outside of the Chicago Theater, a vintage bowling alley, a beautifully decorated cafe or restaurant, underneath the Metra tracks, a covered bridge, a pedestrian underpass, parking garages, the overhang in front of a beautiful doorway. Remember, if heading to a storefront , call ahead to ask the owner if you can use their location for a few portraits. Chicago is a friendly city, so most of the time I think people will be excited to help you and show off their space. However, if you won't be able to use a particular location, it's better to know ahead of time and to save yourself the trip.
Embrace It You can't control the weather, so don't let it get you down. You just married the man of your dreams, you have an umbrella ready, a bottle of champagne in the limo, and the beautiful city of Chicago is your back drop to your celebration. Brave the elements and just enjoy it! You'll end up with unique wedding photos and probably an epic story for the grand kids. ;)