Rain Contingency & Resources

Florida is known for it’s warm, tropical climate, beautiful beaches and abundant showers & thunderstorms. This is something you’ll want to keep in mind while planning an outdoor wedding. While a vast majority of the ceremonies we host are held on the beach with little to no negative impact from weather, there are a few ceremonies a year that are greatly impacted by rain or storms.

We host 350+ weddings per year, almost exclusively on the beach, which means we’ve learned a thing or two about tropical weather over our past 12 + years in business. We mention a few tips on our FAQ page, but we’d love to share a little more of what we know with you, so that you can have the best experience possible while planning your wedding on our white sand beaches!

What are the Florida weather patterns like? Are they predictable?

Welcome to Florida, where everything’s made up and the forecasts don’t matter! Ok, so that’s a little over the top, but weather in Florida and particularly in the Tampa Bay area, is extremely unpredictable. Even hour by hour forecasts the morning of your wedding may change throughout the day. As much as we’d all love to add “Meteorologist” to our resumes, we wouldn’t last very long as one. This area is notorious for having rogue storms show up on our doorstep, seemingly out of nowhere. So for these reasons, we suggest not to “wait it out and see what it does,” because we don’t know what it will do. Having some semblance of a back up location will give everyone peace of mind if the weather does take a turn.

What happens if it rains?

Rain IS good luck after all, right? That said, we’d rather you be nice and dry. If no backup plan was arranged, we can’t guarantee your wedding will go on as planned. Photo time may be cut short or not happen at all depending on the severity of the rain, we may not be able to get all of your décor out on the beach, and of course you and your guests will get wet, making for a less than enjoyable evening. There’s also a chance the rain can pass by the time your wedding is scheduled to start, which would be ideal! Without a back up plan in place though, this waiting game will get less and less fun.

Disclaimer - July, August and September are our hottest months with the most rain chances

During the summer months we can confidently say it will rain everyday, somewhere in the area, at some point during the day. They are usually quick, but often powerful storms that move through swiftly. However, this could be in the morning, afternoon, or closer to sunset time. They are hard to predict (they’re usually in the afternoon, but weather patterns ebb and flow here throughout the summer months) and can really put a damper on your day. So again, best to be prepared. 

Why can't we just change times or locations?

If only it were that easy! Our staff, such as photographers, musicians, and officiants, are contracted for certain time frames and, as they typically have their own business endeavors as well, may have other work and family obligations on the same day. In few, very rare occasions, we may be able to adjust this with at least 48 hours notice if staffing availability allows. This is seldom an option and we don’t recommend planning on the ability to move your ceremony time or date for weather related reasons.

Why is it our responsibility to come up with a plan, we don't know the area? Can't you just provide a space for us?!

Simply put, our venue is the beach. Since we don’t own a venue (or the beach), the cost we advertise does not include a rain back up location. There isn’t a single back up location that we can offer since availability, location and price vary based on season, day of the week and what beach or park you’ll be getting married at.

We understand you probably aren’t familiar with the area so we are more than happy to provide some resources to assist the search for the perfect plan B, but securing that plan will ultimately fall on your shoulders. Once you have something secured, then we will do everything we can to make your dream wedding a reality should we run into any weather related issues. If you’re wondering, yes we are happy to help you with planning for this!

Can we wait until a couple hours before our wedding and see what the weather does before making a decision?

Of all the options to take, this would be your worst. So please don’t. Reason being, it takes a couple hours for our team to get your wedding set up, and that’s in perfect conditions. We may be able to set up in a little rain, but if lightning is in the area(within 10 miles), our team cannot be on the beach to set up. This may result in loss of décor, potentially dangerous setting and less photo time if the set up runs beyond your scheduled start time. And as mentioned before, the weather here is too unpredictable. We’ve done this in the past, thinking it would clear up by 6:00, only to have it never stop raining. The weathermen here love to lie to us. We try to complain but they’ve stopped answering our calls. 

What if we want to add more photo time if we got cut short due to rain?

IF the photographer is available to stay beyond the originally scheduled time, he/she can do that for a minimum fee of $450 for an additional 1 hour of photos. Remember, they’re contracted for a specific time block and need to be paid for time past that block. Unfortunately, we aren’t able to offer that in increments of less than 1 hour. Keep in mind, this is NOT an option if you’ve scheduled a sunset wedding, as we can’t take photos in the dark. Best bet is to add an incremental 1/2 hour or 1 hour of photos to your package during the booking process so you’ll be guaranteed more time should we end up needing it to work around rain and lightning on the beach.

What are our options for rain back up spaces?

There’s quite a few and they vary based on which beach location you are getting married at. Some popular ones include The Sunset Beach Pavilion, The Lion’s Club, Hotel Zamora Ballroom, St Pete Beach Community Center and The West Events. Each space provides a slightly different experience, but very seldom do these options come for free. We have worked hard with our local venue partners to offer reduced pricing for our couples looking to reserve an indoor location to protect the integrity of their wedding in case of rain. Some popular options, like Hotel Zamora or The West Events, typically cost around $650 (Discounted from $2,000-$5,000 depending on the day of the week). Others might be less or more expensive.

This may seem like a lot and our goal is not to spend your money, but our goal is to give you a great experience and ensure you get married! Think of it as an emergency fund – set aside the money you would need to reserve you preferred indoor space and enjoy the peace of mind that you’ve got a plan B. Everyone that drives a car (well, most of us anyways) purchase auto insurance to protect themselves and others. Choosing (and reserving, if necessary) an indoor or covered location protects you and your guests from unsafe weather conditions and ensures you get married! Well worth the extra bucks in the long run. Check out our in depth list of indoor/covered venues based on our various beach locations.

What is The West Events, and why do you recommend it?

The West Events is a venue that we have built a relationship with and they’ve been kind enough to pass on premium rates to our couples looking to stay dry, pending availability. It is a beautiful venue, adjacent to our office in Madeira Beach. Reserving this ahead of time would give you a guarantee that even if your wedding doesn’t go as planned on the beach, it will be held in a beautiful, rustic industrial style venue as opposed to a standard hotel conference room. Bonus: It’s just steps from the beach, so if the rain can let up just for a moment, we may be lucky enough to get some of your couple portraits done with your toes in the sand after all. Take a look at this gorgeous space on their website.

In Summary, It’s not required that you reserve a space at the time of booking with us, but you will need to have a confirmed back up plan reservation in place two weeks prior to your wedding, if you wish to guarantee your wedding experience. These venues are utilized for many purposes, not just beach wedding back up plans, therefore without advance notice, you will not find a back up plan within days or hours of your wedding. What we do ask is that you contact one or two of your top choices and check availability for your wedding date, the cost of reserving and the process. Just having this single plan in place has the potential to save you abundant stress on your wedding day, not to mention protect your ceremony investment and ensure that our team can deliver everything we’ve promised on your wedding day! (i.e. your ceremony, photography, décor and absence of stress!)

A recap of some benefits to selecting a back up plan in advance:

Most, if not all of your décor will still be used and your wedding will still be a stunner!

You and your guests will all remain safe and dry. Nobody wants to dance at a reception in wet pants or look like Doc Brown from Back to the Future during a lightning storm.

Peace of mind. This goes a lot further than you’d think. You already have enough to worry about and coordinate on your wedding day, so why add in the stress of trying to scramble and make a move if the weather doesn’t cooperate. Make a plan first and thank your past self later.

Full photo sessions. You likely won’t lose out on any photography time. Our photographers are incredible in all environments. So even in a setting other than the beach, your gallery is still sure to be beautiful. 

Choosing to “wing it” and hope it doesn’t rain is the worst plan. We could find ourselves sitting in vehicles hiding from downpours or lightning for your entire 1 hour scheduled beach wedding, and that means no wedding, no photography, no celebration and no refund. Yes you paid for beach wedding services, but with a clear expectation that it can only happen if the weather cooperates, and we can still deliver a wedding experience if you provide a back up plan two weeks prior to your wedding. The cost of the back up plan typically equates to 5-15% of your total spend, or similar to the cost of a rose petal aisle, ranging from $200-$600. The cost of not having a back up plan and missing the entire wedding due to the unwillingness to choose a back up plan, well that’s 100% of your total spend. Don’t wing it!