As Chicago wedding photographers, we know much about what our couples are nervous about. Naturally, you’re tying the knot so there are a lot of things running through your mind. However, the one thing that has everyone worked up has to do with the weather. More specifically, inclement weather. Things like rain, thunder, and snow are some of the many things in this world that we can’t control. While many of us don’t want to admit that this could happen to us, we have to keep that as a factor in wedding planning. Luckily though, over the years we have developed some pretty sweet tips and tricks to stay dry on your wedding day especially when rains. Here are a few Chicago rainy wedding day tips.
Download The Dark Skies Weather App
One of our biggest Chicago rainy wedding day tips is to download the Dark Skies Weather app. This app can hyper-focus on your exact location and includes information on next-hour precipitation, and hourly forecasts, and offers hi-res radar. It’s the ultimate tool especially if you are planning your wedding during peak rain season here in Chicago. We highly encourage all of our couples to use this app especially if you worry about it raining on your wedding day.
Have A Backup Plan
We always recommend our couples have a backup plan. Whether this be a backup ceremony/reception location or what have you. While we don’t want to say that you will get rained on during your wedding, you would much rather be safe than sorry.
Bring Clear Umbrellas
One of your best friends on a rainy wedding day will be clear umbrellas. You may be scrolling through your social media feeds and see many couples using clear umbrellas on their wedding day when it rains. The reason why we suggest clear umbrellas is that they are not only stylish but practical. It helps protect you, your partner, and your wedding party from getting wet but also doesn’t block any of your backdrops. The last thing you want is a giant black or polka dot umbrella blocking the beauties of your venue/backdrop behind you.
Here is a link to some clear umbrellas we recommend checking out if you’re in the need of some!
Dress For The Weather
We also recommend that if rain is on the forecast for your wedding day you dress… to impress.
If you are dealing with a cold and rainy day, we highly recommend stocking up on hand warmers. These can be incredibly helpful especially if you are shivering outside and needing a quick pick-me-up during your wedding portraits. You can also put them in your shoes to give your toes warm as well.
You also have the option of including a scarf or a pashmina in your wedding attire. This not only can look incredibly stylish with your wedding dress as well as your bridesmaid’s dresses but keep you and your wedding party warm as well!
While your wedding heels may be perfect for any indoor activities, they may not be the most practical (or safe) option for your rainy wedding day. Instead, we recommend bringing along a pair of backup shoes that are specifically made for being out in inclement weather. They may not be the most “stylish” option for your wedding day, but you can be safe, and comfortable and not have to worry about your heels/shoes getting ruined during your photos.
Below are a couple of recommendations for waterproof shoes that are perfect for prancing around during a rainy wedding day. Ps… they are all in white!
Timberland Waterproof 6-Inch Boots
Rent A Clear Tent
One of the biggest life-savers for any rainy wedding day will be renting a clear tent. This is especially the case if you plan on having an outdoor wedding. A clear tent protects an indoor event space, with the beauty of still being outside. We recommend inquiring with your wedding venue if they offer clear tents in case of inclement weather on your big day. This may be included in your wedding venue cost or may be added as an additional fee. Each wedding venue is different so we recommend just asking!
Embrace The Rain
I know you may not want to hear it, but when in doubt… embrace it. Sometimes we have to roll with the punches and one of those punches may just be getting rained on your big day. However, you don’t have to let that stop you from having the most epic and beautiful day in your life. So rather than letting the rain put a damper on your mood, embrace it! Use this as an opportunity to get creative and get some of the most epic and amazing photos as well.
Chicago Wedding Venues For A Rainy Wedding Day
Below are a few of our top-rated Chicago wedding venues for a rainy wedding day. These Chicago wedding venues are perfect for a rainy day, offer exceptional service and amenities, and are highly rated not just by us, but by our couples as well.
Chicago Union Station
Chicago Union Station is known for its great hall, soft lighting, and grand structure. It’s one of those locations that has you in awe every time you step through the doors. It’s the hidden gem of portrait locations and one that you will not be disappointed with.
Permits: A $150 permit is required to photograph and film at the Chicago Union Station. They only accept money orders or cashier’s checks as a form of payment. You can read more about permit applications, fees, and regulations here.
Lyric Opera House
The Lyric Opera House was originally built back in 1929 and was fully restored back in 1996. With its beautiful eclectic decor and grand stature, this is one of the best photo locations if you end up having a rainy wedding day.
Permits: You are not prohibited to take photos/videos during any performance. However, you can use public non-performance spaces such as the lobby for your portraits. As for permit fees, there is currently no permit required to take photos at The Lyric Opera House.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest botanical conservatories in the nation. It’s a 184-acre park that offers an abundance of different flora and greenery and is sheltered which is perfect for any rainy wedding day.
Permits: You do need a permit to photograph inside the Garfield Park Conservatory. The permit fee is $45/hour. Read more about permit fees at Garfield Park Conservatory here.
Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center is one of Chicago’s most visited attractions. Inside you will find two stained-glass domes and a central hub for free music, dance, and theater events. The attention to detail in the structure and building of the Chicago Cultural Center is unlike any other photo location here in Chicago. It’s one of a kind and beautiful and is the perfect backdrop for your wedding portraits.
Permits: In order to host an event at the Chicago Cultural Center you will need to apply for a special use permit. You will need to submit a $100 application fee, more than 60 days before your event. Anything after that will require you to pay a higher charge. Read more about special event permit application fees here.
For photography permits, you must contact Sofia Navas at email@example.com.
The Hilton Chicago on Michigan Ave
The Hilton Chicago overlooks Grant Park, Lake Michigan, and Museum Campus here in Chicago. It first opened its doors back in 1927 and since then has continued to be just as elegant and roaring as it was back in the 1920s. It has a 234,000 sq. ft meeting space that is perfect for weddings and is one of our favorite hotels in all of Chicago.
Permits: As of right now, there are no known permits required to shoot photo/video at the Hilton Chicago. However, we recommend contacting the front desk to ensure that this is the case at the time of your wedding day.
Salvage One is a 60,000-square-foot vintage Chicago warehouse. They not only offer exposed brick but large windows with tons of natural light and wooden floors. Surrounding you are a mix of eclectic furniture and pieces that will make your wedding day stand out no matter what.
Permit: Permits are not required to shoot at Salvage One if you are getting married here. However, if you would like to have your engagement session here (without your wedding here), they do require you to pay a rate of $150/hour. You can read more info on that here!
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is located downtown right by Millennium Park. It’s one of Chicago’s most well-known art museums and is home to some of the most intricate and fascinating art pieces and exhibits in the nation. It gives a very elegant and high-end type look to your portraits and is a must-see location for sure.
Permits: First, you will need to fill out the filming and photoshoot proposal form here. You will need to purchase a ticket online to step inside the art institute, however there is no additional permit needed to photograph inside the museum.
To view The Art Institute of Chicago’s photography/filming guidelines, click here!
The Rookery Building is one of Chicago’s most significant buildings. Originally built in 1888, this landmark has undergone massive renovations. It was designated a Chicago landmark back in 1972 and pulls inspiration from a Great Gatsby-type era. While the interior was renovated, the history and structure of this fabulous building are still maintained.
Permit: You are allowed to take photos at the Rookery, however there are fees that you must pay depending on which location you choose to shoot at. This price ranges between $150 to $275 depending on the location and time spent. They only allow 10 guests to be photographed here, any additional number of guests will be subject to a $50 charge (per person).
You will also be required to fill out a photography authorization form, which you can find here. For more information about shooting at The Rookery Building click here.
Chicago Rainy Wedding Day Tips
As Chicago wedding photographers, we hope you enjoyed a few of these Chicago rainy wedding day tips. The moral of the story is, don’t let rain get you down on one of the most incredible moments of your life. You deserve to be living it up, partying it up, and having the best wedding day ever, and never forget that! Don’t let Mother Nature rain on your parade!
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