Ask Chelsea | What happens when it rains?

Ask Chelsea | What happens when it rains?

There’s one thing you can’t control during a wedding… and that’s mother nature!

Q:  So what happens when it rains?
A:   Buy umbrellas!  Don’t let it ruin the party.  Some of my favorite weddings are on rainy days. They definitely have the most romantic, cozy, intimate receptions.

When rain is on the weather report for the day, I always pack umbrellas.  Sometimes if the wedding is at more then one location, or the timeline is tight I’ll hire a 3rd person to help me make sure that I and the gear stays dry.

Q: How many weddings have you shot in the rain?
A:  Quite a few actually, for being based in Southern California!  Maybe it’s because it’s southern california and it “never” rains!  My first wedding with a slight chance of rain was in 2007.  It was an overcast day. The ceremony was still held outside. Towards the end of the ceremony the thick fog  turned into a slight drizzle… and then started sprinkling!  Good thing we were almost done!

rain_wedding_2007After the first wedding, I went to weddings a little more prepared. I learn I don’t take my entire camera bag outside if it might rain.  I’ll pack black trash bags to put over my camera bag.  I’ll leave my umbrellas a the back of the ceremony.

Here we are in 2010, anyone remember the tsunami that hit California?  Yeah… I had a wedding that day.  My biggest wedding of the year!  Thankfully the wedding was inside, but the portraits were scheduled outside and we were going to three different locations. I hired an assistant to help with parking and umbrellas.  After all, I don’t want to get soaked just walking to the venue! We think we are soooo lucky! We get this amazing bridal party shot before the ceremony.  It’s still one of my favorites to this day.  I love the bridal party walking away from the beach with the pier in the background.  What do you know… the heavens open up and it starts **pouring**.  The bridal party scatters, all running to the nearest bar.  My assistant is in the car, with my umbrellas.  I run for the car, the bridal party runs for the bar…. what a great start to the day!  It’s a moment in my career I’ll always remember!

manhattan beach pier bridal party shirt
Q:  What do you do if it starts raining in the middle of a outdoor ceremony?
A:  This has happened!  I just keep shooting. My gear is water resistant.  I can handle a light sprinkle.  If it starts raining  a little harder, then I have my assistant hold a umbrella over me so I can keep shooting.  There was a wedding where I was caught by surprise. I came prepared with umbrellas, but the coordinator called it and the wedding was moved inside… or was it?  We took amazing pictures in downtown LA, the weather was great.  The storm was coming, but I felt good about getting some amazing stuff outside.  We park the car in the lot, walk into the ceremony site and surprise… the ceremony is still outside.  My umbrellas are in the car.  Sure enough, it starts raining mid ceremony and the umbrellas pop up.  My assistant gets the bags covered and I run to the back and “borrow” a guests umbrella.  Thanks to who ever lent me the umbrella!!!!


Here’s one of my favorites! There are so many weddings where it’s sprinking and if you didn’t see umbrellas, you wouldn’t know it was raining.  The pictures turned out amazing.  If a bride can stand out in the rain and get wet, then who am I to complain?!  You can see that the trees gave the bridal party just enough coverage to get through the ceremony.

Q:  Where do you shoot the portraits?
A:  I’ll do a mix of inside & outside.  I actually love shooting outside in the rain.  It’s your wedding day, you should remember it as it happened.  All you need is some umbrellas and a sense of adventure!  Here are some of my favorite portraits outside in the rain!  You know your couple is awesome if they are up for these pics!


Santa Barbara courthouse wedding

Amy rented these amazing umbrellas online! They matched the bridal party. What a great idea!santa_barbara_wedding_003

We brought in the ushers for this photo… and I love the look of the men holding the black umbrellas.santa_barbara_wedding_004

Q:  What is your favorite rainy city?
A:  Portland of course!!!  The pacific northwest has a special place in my heart!



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