A lot of elopements are in the outdoors, so this blog post includes tips on how to be prepared for rainy weather on your elopement day. Below you will find 4 rainy wedding day tips, so you can feel prepared for any weather that comes your way! Then, walk through a beautiful rainy elopement in Shenandoah National Park to envision what your elopement could look like if you encounter bad weather. 

#1 Rainy Day Wedding Tip: Research Locations

Some locations are more likely to have more intense or rainy weather than others! So when you’re dreaming up your elopement, you should talk to each other about the kind of scenery/weather/and surroundings you’re envisioning for your elopement. If you want to go to the ocean, then planning your elopement during Hurricane season probably isn’t the best idea. If you hate the snow, going to Colorado in January also might not be the best idea. 

To start, research the climate and weather patterns of your chosen elopement location to become familiar with what to expect at the time of year you want to elope. 

For example, in Shenandoah National Park in Virginia, when it snows in the mountains, the park and Skyline Drive (the ONLY access road into the park) will close until the snow can be cleared. So, if you’re planning a winter elopement, be prepared for possible snow!

#2 Rainy Day Wedding Tip: Prepare Your Mindset

First, it’s your wedding day!! The most important thing is that you’re marrying the love of your life. Everything else is extra. So, having the right mindset is key when planning your elopement because Mother Nature is unpredictable. There’s no way to actually know what the weather might be like on your elopement day. You’re going to have an amazing time no matter what.

Whether you are enjoying the sun or get to have a movie-like kiss in the rain, you are MARRIED! 

#3 Rainy Day Wedding Tip: Create a Backup Plan (or Multiple!)

This is where having an elopement photographer comes in handy because we are accustomed to coming up with backup plans and can help take that stress away for your big day. In fact, we’ll probably come up with a Plan B and C just in case and be REALLY prepared. No matter the weather, I am here to help your wedding go as smoothly as possible! 

Plus, I always go over possible backup plans with my couples in the event of “bad” weather. Nine times out of ten times, we stick with our original plan and make it work! But sometimes, you do have to pivot with more aggressive or dangerous weather, natural disasters such as wildfires, or for trail closures or construction. 

#4 Rainy Day Wedding Tip: Pack “Bad” Weather Essentials

Now that you have a good mindset and a solid backup plan, you need to pack your “bad” weather essentials. You can enjoy a rainy wedding day if you have the right gear to make sure you stay as dry, warm, and comfortable as possible. This list below is what I recommend all my elopement couples have packed in case we encounter rain or storms during their elopement. Make sure to save this blog post on Pinterest to use this packing list! 

“Bad” Weather Packing List

  • Clear Umbrellas (they make for better photos!)
  • Waterproof jackets with hoods
  • Rain boots
  • Hiking books (or sturdy shoes for grip because wet rocks are slippery) 
  • Rain cover for backpacks
  • Rain poncho
  • Plastic bags to protect phones/wallets
  • Makeup kit + travel mirror for touch-ups
  • Wool socks + extra socks
  • Gloves, hats, hand warmers if it’s cold
  • Dry fit clothes (If you’re able to wear dry-fit clothes under your wedding attire, please do to keep warm and dry!)
  • Microfiber or dry towels

It’s also important to remember that whatever gear you bring to use or wear will be in photos. So, if you need to buy new items that you will be happy with in your photos, plan for those expenses. Or, you can use what you already have!

Michelle and Aaron’s Rainy Wedding Day in Shenandoah National Park

Instead of feeling overwhelmed and panicked about having “bad” weather during your outdoor wedding, this elopement beautifully shows how to make the best of the rain and storms. Can you envision yourself here?

Michelle and Aaron’s Original Wedding Day Plan

Michelle and Aaron wanted their elopement to be at sunrise in Shenandoah National Park in September which is a wonderful time to get married in the park. It’s cooler than the summer months and before the crazy busy fall tourist season in October. We met at the trailhead before sunrise, so we could hike to the mountain top for their elopement ceremony. 

That was the plan, anyway! 

The Rainy Wedding Day Adventure Elopement in Shenandoah National Park 

It was raining, windy, and foggy due to the Tropical Storm Ophelia that developed on the East Coast. We were enough inland in the mountains that it wasn’t dangerous weather, but it certainly made for an interesting morning!

Michelle and Aaron were amazing, though. We had our clear umbrellas and rain gear. 

They even joked about the fact that they wanted privacy for their ceremony and not only got that with not a single soul in sight, but the fog made it so the mountains couldn’t even see them up there! They exchanged personal vows and rings and had their first kiss. 

Bonus Tip: Legally Get Married BEFORE Your Elopement

This tip has nothing to do with the rain, but it’s really helpful if you’re planning an adventure elopement! Michelle and Aaron were actually already legally married beforehand, so this was their symbolic ceremony. Virginia has slightly strict marriage laws, so some couples prefer to do the legal paperwork at home before traveling to the Virginia mountains. That way, they don’t have to worry about finding an officiant or doing the legal paperwork the day of. 

If you do want to hire an officiant for your Virginia elopement, I got you! One of my planning services is to send other vendor recommendations for whoever else you might need. Hair & makeup, florists, officiants, food, etc. You don’t have to figure out all of the logistics alone! 

Romantic Weddings Photos in the Fog

We made our way back to our cars and drove back down the mountain toward the entrance of the park until we got beneath the clouds and fog and could see some mountains! We took some photos at a few overlooks before the fog rolled back in again. Then, we headed off to a cafe in Luray. 

Downtown Cafe Rainy Wedding Day Photos

This is where our Plan B came into play! Downtown Luray is a quaint little town close to central Shenandoah National Park, so it was the perfect place to stop in a cafe to grab food and hot drinks. It was wonderful to get out of the rain for a little bit and get some cute photos snuggled in the booth with their lattes. 

Airbnb Wedding Celebration After Party 

We then made our way to their Airbnb where they had freshened up and got to hang out with their pets! If you want to include your pets on your elopement day, look into Airbnbs and VRBO’s that allows pets! Archie (dog) and Theodore (cat) were there to hang out! Archie could not get enough of the action and even wanted a seat at the table when Michelle and Aaron had their charcuterie board snacks. 

While they ate their charcuterie, I captured their detail photos. Sometimes, when I meet couples at the trailhead for sunrise, I’ll get detail photos later in the day such as their vow books and rings. And because of the rain, Michelle and Aaron did a “get ready” moment again after drying off, so we captured those, too.

Then, they cut their cake as further celebration! With cups of coffee and a fresh change of comfy clothes, we ended with a few photos of them on the couch, lounging together, after a long day. 

Michelle and Aaron’s Rescheduled Sunset Session

Due to the unique nature of the Tropical Storm, I did offer Michelle and Aaron to take sunset wedding photos at another time. I don’t normally do this, but it was a freaking tropical storm! So, we planned for a short session at sunset when I was already in Shenandoah again a few weeks later for another elopement. If this happens to you too, don’t worry! I will make sure you still get your amazing wedding photos! 

We explored some of the overlooks we didn’t get to previously due to the rain and fog and the hike up the mountain again was wonderful now that we could actually see the mountains! It was such a beautiful evening and the perfect way to conclude their elopement experience. 

Looking for More Elopement Planning Resources?

Check out more of my blog posts! Inside you will find more free elopement planning resources to help bring to life what you’re envisioning for your elopement. 

For more intentional wedding planning support and wedding photography, you can book with me here. I would love to be able to connect with you! You deserve to feel supported not only on your wedding day itself but in the process of planning! 

The Vendors from This Shenandoah National Park Elopement: 

Dress: David’s Bridal

Suit: Macy’s

Rings: The Navy Exchange

Cake: Lillian Nathalie

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