Alanis Morissette has a lot to answer for by implying that rain on your wedding day would be an ironic tragedy. So I’m here to argue on the side of being pro-rain – how you can make the most of bad weather, how to prepare for it and why a little rain could even make your day extra special.
(And it’s not just because my name is Raini!)
Whether you’re getting married or you’re celebrating your love with a couples session, I am often asked ‘but what happens if the weather is bad?’
I can completely understand this question – most of us want to be able to adventure freely without having to worry about how the elements will affect our experience. And in Scotland, it’s a natural concern as our climate is notoriously a little on the damp side. Having grown up in Scotland, I am used to coping with our unpredictable weather. Spending my childhood wild camping in all weathers and having developed my photography skills here means I am pretty unphased by what Scottish weather can throw at me.
Here are some of the benefits I’ve come to appreciate about the Scottish weather and why you shouldn’t panic too much about it.
Rain can be wildly romantic if you embrace it
There’s a reason why romance films often include a kissing in the rain scene (hello Garden State and The Notebook fans!)… It’s wonderfully romantic to be so completely connected with someone that you’re almost oblivious to the elements around you. It doesn’t mean you should actively seek out being drenched and steamy on your wedding day or adventure session but it’s a nice reminder that bad weather can’t spoil the connection you share and the importance of it.
But the rain can also be fun right? Whether it’s dancing in the rain, splashing in the puddles (once all sense of keeping dry is gone) or huddling together to protect each other. It can make you feel giddy! But it does need you to go into your wedding day or session without fearing the rain – trusting you’ll have a magical time even if it’s a little soggy.
Rain adds serious mood
I’ll let you in on a little secret… most of us Scottish photographers will take a rainy day over a hot sunny day ANY time. The main reason for this (aside from protecting our pasty complexions) is that the rain is what gives Scotland it’s iconic moodiness. The postcard-worthy images of misty mountains and foggy lochs are formed by our rainy climate.
It’s also our wet climate which gives us our beautiful unique lush-green landscapes. As well as forming these vibrant backdrops for us, rain on the day also brings out these rich colours in a way that a sunny or overcast day simply can’t rival.
Unlikely to be pishin’ it doon all day
It’s true that we have a strong rainfall throughout the year (highest rainfall between September and March) but Scottish weather is more commonly depicted as ‘four seasons in a day’ by locals. This is because our weather is very changeable. This is even more true as you venture to the highlands and islands where the diverse topography creates a series of microclimates.
In my experience, it is rare you’ll have a day of torrential rain (a ‘wash out’). Or a whole day of ‘pishin’ it doon’ as us locals might say.
There are often breaks in the weather. Where the weather is more of a concern is when it impacts on safety – i.e. high snowfall or extreme wind/storm conditions – though these are rare occurences, I always make sure I have backup plans for these cases.
Cannae hae a rainbow without a little rain!
We get our fair share of rainbows – and if you’re lucky, you’ll be rewarded for your perseverance through the rain with a shiny bright rainbow.
Rain also means reflections which can add a little extra creativity to your final gallery.
How I prepare for bad weather
99% of my sessions take place outdoors in the wilds of Scotland. So I’ve learned over the years how to make sure that I can give you a wonderful experience and beautiful images in almost all weathers.
- I research local micro-climates of our chosen location(s) to get a feel for what we can expect and how changeable it might be.
- I’ll keep an eagle-eye on weather forecasts diligently in the days running up to your day (Met Office is my fave source). I don’t worry too much until a few days before (as our long-range forecasts are notoriously inaccurate).
- I research backup ‘sheltered’ options – i.e. woodlands, bothies, indoor options (in extreme weather) etc.
- I factor flexibility into your timeline planning so that we have a bit of room to pause until heavy showers have passed.
- I’ve invested in high-end weather-sealed gear and have extra waterproof protection I can add if needed. On a very rainy day, even the best of gear can experience misting challenges (fogging up of the lenses). But with a bit of patience, we can work around it and the result of having slightly misty photos is also beautiful! (Some photographers breathe on their lenses trying to replicate this very effect haha).
- I’ll bring umbrellas to keep you as dry as possible between shots.
- And in extreme circumstances, I’ll have towels available to dry off on the rare chance they are needed!
How you can prepare for bad weather
- Raincoat – it doesn’t need to be beautiful but something which can keep you as warm and dry between shots as possible (I usually ask you to throw it off for a few minutes when the showers are lighter). Please note that feather-down coats are rarely waterproof – they may be warm but they won’t stand up to much of Scotland’s rain.
- Bring layers – Every Scot is taught to wear their clothes in layers. Plan your outfit so you can add and remove layers easily depending on what our crazy climate decides to throw at us!
- Don’t worry too much about the weather – Scotland is SO beautiful in all weathers. And even rain has it’s advantages. So come along to the session believing that whatever the weather is, we’re going to have a lot of fun and get some wonderful images to remember it.
- Embrace it – if the heavens open up then let’s dance in the rain and splash in the puddles. Or we can try to wait it out (showers don’t usually last all day). I can discuss options with you as we go.
- Bring a change of clothes – this is particularly good advice if you have other plans on the day
- What I’ll have with me:
- Waterproof bags to keep anything you’ve brought with you dry
- An understanding of what to expect from the weather
- Extreme wet weather backup option (somewhere to shelter or potentially photograph at)
Still can’t face the idea of rain on your wedding day?
Don’t worry, you’re not alone there! Some of my couples choose my Full Moon elopement package which is 1.5 days so that they have flexibility between the two days. If the weather is looking terrible one day, then it may be possible to switch the ceremony to the second day instead (and change the allocation of the hours over the two days). This means you have a little more flexibility to avoid bad weather.
Thinking about eloping in Scotland? If this helped overcome some of your concerns about coping with Scottish rain on your wedding day then why not check out my introduction to eloping in Scotland.
Or thinking about adventuring in Scotland as a couple? No matter what stage in your relationship you’re at, a couples session is a memorable way to celebrate your love for each other. Find out more here.