Something Blue: A Silver Lining to Wicked WeatherWords by Jennifer Stein
At 16, Tonia Tinker decided that she would be married in Hawaii. It was during a family vacation to the Big Island that the Phoenix native fell in love with a tiny chapel at the Hilton Waikoloa. It offered everything she could ever want – intimate atmosphere, gorgeous surroundings and perfect weather. It never crossed Tonia’s mind that she might wake up to a relentless downpour on her wedding day. Yet, that’s what happened on March 12, 2005.
“I thought, ‘Oh no. This can’t be happening.’ I’d been there four times and there’d never even been a cloud in the sky,” she said. Tonia and her to-be husband, Scott, didn’t consider a back-up plan until the day before the wedding when gray skies seemed imminent. Then, her mom coordinated with the hotel’s wedding planner. The result?
The Tinkers squeezed 50 guests into a chapel designed to hold 18. Guests sat on each other’s laps, adding an even more festive and intimate element to the day. Amazingly, the rain let up for 45 minutes – just long enough for Tonia’s walk down the aisle, a brief ceremony and pictures. They moved the reception into a ballroom. Ultimately, the bride’s only regret is not being able to use the lanterns that she had her heart set on hanging outdoors.
Gabrielle Longhi, owner of Blue Sky Weddings based in Maui and Oahu, says the first rule of thumb in being prepared for bad weather is simple – avoid holding a wedding in a rainy location or during the rainy season. “Do your research on what time of year and what areas are best,” she says. “One reason that Hawaii weddings are so popular is that we typically have great weather. Why plan an outdoor event in an area with a high possibility of rain?”
Regardless of whether you’re planning a beach wedding or a mountain retreat, Gabrielle recommends discussing a back-up plan with your facility or event coordinator in advance. This is especially important if you’re getting married at a nontraditional venue. Resorts, on the other hand, usually have an alternate plan included in their wedding packages. The most obvious back-up plan is to have some sort of shelter, such as a tent or a house, available. If shelter isn’t an option, get creative – supply umbrellas or rain slickers that can double as favors.
It’s also important to make a back-up plan with other vendors. A caterer may need to prepare or store food in an alternate location. A photographer may offer to shoot additional photos another day. For even more peace of mind, there’s the option of wedding insurance. Most policies cover the cost of rescheduling an event that was postponed due to weather.
The bottom line, however, is that no one can predict the weather. And both Gabrielle and Tonia agree – the rain might dampen your hair and your table linens, but it shouldn’t dampen your spirits. “Brides that don’t let the little things get to them are the brides that have the best time,” says Gabrielle. “You just have to go with it. It’s in the moment.”
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