16 Mar 2015

Steamy, Wet and Frozen Ceremonies

It is spring. Will the weather finally break so we can move outside for ceremonies and receptions? Outside weddings here in the Mid-Atlantic region are so beautiful, when the weather cooperates. But what happens when you don’t have a back-up plan? Will you get wet? Do you have a tent or indoor space that can be used for the ceremony? Will it be cold or super-hot? What about your guests and your grandparents; can you imagine them wet and cold or hot and sweltering?

Following are a few stories that may convince you to have a back-up plan on your wedding day:

 Rain in the Park Ceremony

The day started rainy. I don’t mean sprinkles, I mean pouring. All day right up to and through ceremony the rain came down. The ceremony was scheduled in a pretty memorial garden. The couple wanted a beautiful candle-lighting ceremony, music from a boom box and of course to be a dry, well-dressed and elegant couple. Just prior to the ceremony as the guests arrived, they came carrying patio and beach umbrellas. Someone pulled out a roll of plastic sheeting from their trunk and with some help we created a relatively rain-free spot under several umbrellas and the plastic sheeting.  The space we created was just big enough for the couple and myself. One of the guests had to kneel down behind me, (head literally at my bottom!) to hold the umbrella; no one had thought to bring the stands. My pants were wet from the knees down (luckily I brought an extra pair for the wedding later in the day). Although the ceremony was beautiful and moving,  guests stood under umbrellas, the candle wouldn’t light and the boom box didn’t work, because it shorted out from getting so wet. After the ceremony everyone retired to a local VFW.  To my surprise the couple spent 3-weeks remodeling the place. It was beautiful, Feng Shui design had been applied to the room and an amazing, beautiful space was created. Many of the guests commented about why we were out in the rain, when the ceremony could have easily been held in a dry space.

Steamy, Hot Ceremony

 It was mid-July at a gorgeous, botanical garden with a ceremony scheduled for 2 PM; it was the height of the day, the temperature was 102, with 97% humidity. Baby, it was hot outside! The guests arrived on time, sat in the full sun; getting up after a few minutes to find a shady spot. I noticed there were several elderly people sitting and fanning themselves. I felt really sorry for these people. There was no water on site; no drinks at all. One and a half hours later the couple and their entourage finally arrive. That’s when the bottled water and soda’s arrived. The ceremony was nearly an hour long, not something I usually do or recommend, but it was what they wanted. Following the ceremony, everyone retired to an air conditioned hall. The hall was decorated beautifully! Why, oh why, didn’t they get married there! We all would have been more comfortable! Most of us were exhausted from the heat.  The air conditioning was such a relief!

Frozen Ceremony

The gorgeous water front venue is simply the best place to hold a wedding ceremony if, you want a water view, but not so much in November. Seriously, it was around 40 degrees outside but with the wind blowing, it felt more like 28 degrees. It was really cold! The bride wore a strapless dress. I had on a suit with long-johns underneath; I did my best to stay warm, only my hands and face were cold. There were two little flower girls around 4-5 years old. The bride insisted they remove their coats and the sweaters their moms had given them. These two little ones cried all the way down the aisle. The ceremony was around 20-25 minutes long; although I did talk fast, everyone was cold. Following the ceremony practically everyone ran into the warmth of the lodge for the reception. Don’t think my hands and face thawed out for at least 30 minutes. Everyone was searching for coffee and hot chocolate instead of cold beer!

 So, if I have learned anything, no matter what time of year, using your back-up plan is a safe option. Although each of the scenarios above make for a memorable moment, there is something to be said for keeping your guests and vendors comfortable too.


Sandra Lynch

Sandra Lynch, a Wedding Officiant who officiates weddings in the Mid-Atlantic region is Owner of Ceremony Alchemy (formerly, Weddings by Sandy), creator of the Perfect Officiant Mentoring an Officiant mentoring service author of, “You CAN have the Perfect Wedding Ceremony,” and the Perfect Officiant Handbook. Ms. Lynch is retired military and lives in Frederick, Maryland with her husband Tim Lynch and their two fur babies Skipper and Ziggy.

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