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Bad weather on your elopement day & how to roll with it.

Honestly, something I used to get from every couple before every wedding was what would happen in the event of bad weather. Now, with a wedding, there is usually a wet weather or bad weather option, so there’s your answer. But what about for elopements? What about if you’re eloping out in good old mother nature? How do you handle that? You simply cannot predict the weather, and honestly, if you can, I need you to message me now so we can work together!

So we acknowledge that there is nothing we can do about bad weather no matter where you are eloping (New Zealand, Hunter Valley, Blue Mountains, wherever!) but how are you going to handle it? In this short blog post (I promise I won’t write an entire textbook here), i’m going to show you a few recent elopements I have been lucky enough to shoot as a photographer. All of these elopements had very inclement weather to deal with, so i’ll run through what went down, and how we dealt with it (spoiler alert, there’s only one piece of advice). Let’s get stuck in!

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T & H | Mornington Peninsula, VIC [Bad Winds]

Wind isn’t the first thing that comes to most people’s mind when thinking about the kind of weather that can go wrong on their elopement day. That’s fair, I mean, there is always some wind going on, so we are pretty accustomed to it. But as an elopement photographer, this is something I do consider.

But what about when the wind gets a bit too intense? Everyone loves a nice gentle breeze, especially on a warm summer’s day here in Australia. Unfortunately for T & H, the wind had intentions beyond a gentle breeze. The thing about wind is that it can sneak up on you, it’s not like rain clouds which you can see forming.

During prep we were getting ready at a little cottage about 20 minutes from the cliffs, and to call it a gentle breeze would be an over statement. There was no wind! Literally none. However, knowing weather in Victoria, especially on the coast can be volatile, we opted for a hair up do, just to be safe.

When we got out to the cliffs, the winds were ripping. Average wind speeds I believe were around 50-70km/hr with gusts up close to 90km/hr. It was windy enough to make standing still even difficult for me (and I am around 100kg myself). So naturally, you would think that the couple were pissed off, frustrated…not at all, but I’ll get to that.

We had originally planned to do the elopement on the cliffs, however, with the intensity of the wind, we simply could not film it and capture the audio, so we had to defer to a backup plan. This included dropping down into a little valley in between the hills later in the evening when the wind started to subside, to do the ceremony there.

Did this bother them? No! Honestly, they just laughed it off. As I said, thankfully when I scoped the location, I had a backup plan for this kind of weather. As for the portraits, well we just went for it. I told them to hold each other tight (so they didn’t blow off the cliff) and just have fun. Let the hair and dress blow. When it comes to wind, if you cannot pre-empt it, just be prepared to shift plans and dance in it.

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B & K | Blue Mountains, NSW [Heavy Fog]

K & B travelled up to me from all the way down in Melbourne, as their photographer for their epic Blue Mountains elopement last winter. I am pretty sure when we initially chatted about their reasons, one of them was to escape the gloomy and moody Melbourne weather, which is a b it of cruel irony isn’t it?

They flew a very select circle of family up to witness the ceremony, which we had originally planned to take place on the cliffs edge, with that beautiful Blue Mountains sunrise as the backdrop. Totally the opposite of wind, fog you can see coming a mile away, literally. However, for us, being a sunrise elopement, we didn’t have that luxury. Thankfully I know the area fairly well, so as soon as we noticed it might be a foggy morning with low visibility, we were ready with a few alternatives.

In this instance, our couple decided to elope in between some trees on the cliff, which provided protection from the wind (yes it was also windy), the fog, and also the rain which was coming down by this point. It was actually really cool, something you don’t see often in the mountains, so it gave their gallery and film a really unique feel about it.

When we headed out for some portraits afterwards, it was much the same, except by now the rain was becoming torrential. I never force my couples to shoot in conditions they are not comfortable in, but I also do advise people that in order to get epic photos, you may have to do epic things. They decided, with very little hesitation I might add, that they wanted to just dance in the rain, and pop some champagne (probably to drink because it was cold as fuck).

Fog is another one where you can’t really do much to avoid it. In some instances it’s foggy in one area, and if you can increase or decrease your altitude, you might be able to escape it, but out in the Blue Mountains, generally speaking, once it is set in, it’s there. So what can you do? Have a backup plan if you can escape it. If not, just make sure you have the right attitude to deal with it.

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A & I | Mt. Kozciusko, NSW [Rain & Snow]

Rain is one of those events you can reasonably predict, or if not predict, plan for the possibility. Any time I am shooting, and it says even a remote chance of rain, I prepare. If I ever shoot in the Blue Mountains for example, a place where weather can change on a dime, I am prepared, regardless of the forecast.

In the case of A & I, we knew well in advance of the likely chance of rain, and not just rain, torrential rain. For their ceremony we had planned to hike to the top of Mount Kozciusko, which would take us up past the snow line, which would potentially mean the rain would turn to snow. And it periodically did just that.

So when I planned this out with my couple, we discussed this possibility. Thankfully, being from Russia, cold, wet and snowy weather was of no concern to them whatsoever! So we simply agreed to pack quality raincoats (not some cheap ones from a gas station), full body of course. This is important, a lot of cheap raincoats cover thigh up to shoulder, but here, unless you want your dress/pants completely soaked, you want a full body coat. Second we agreed to wear hiking boots, not wedding shoes. This is a bit of a no brainer for a hiking elopement, but just as relevant to a more simple elopement if you think it will rain.

Finally, this might sound silly, but we brought a thermos with coffee & tea in it. Up the top it got down to around 2-3 degrees, raining sideways, so a cup of hot coffee was like liquid gold. When we arrived at the top, being out in the open, we didn’t really have anywhere to go to avoid the rain, so we had to pull out the umbrellas, and just go for it.

The super cool thing about being prepared is that occasionally, you don’t need it. Just as we were about to do our ceremony, the rain stopped (it started back up like 5 minutes after the ceremony ended too). Because of our gear, the couple were bone dry, hair and makeup still looking great. Just watch the film or check out the photos. This level of preparedness is what you need to deal with rain, but don’t worry, I’ll help you with all that when we plan your elopement.

So what’s it all mean?

Remember at the start I said there was really only one major thing to understanding how to roll with the weather? Well, I kind of lied, and I kind of didn’t. The main thing I stress as a photographer to my clients is to have a good attitude. You cannot predict or change the weather, but you can react to it. You can choose to react poorly, thus ruining your day. Or you can choose to react positively, and embrace it, making your day and your story even better and more unique.

Attitude is honestly the biggest component. I don’t say this lightly, but if your mindset is ‘if the weather isn’t perfect, it’ll ruin my day’, then perhaps eloping isn’t for you. You need to be ready to roll with it, frolic in the rain, dance in the wind and just let go of yourself.

It also has to be said, that you will need to be prepared. Speak to your photographer, they will hopefully know the area you’re wanting to elope. They will advise you on what to pack. For example, if you are eloping in the Blue Mountains in June (our winter), I am going to advise you to bring boots for mud/snow, heavy duty raincoat, pocket warmers, as well as a change of clothes we can hike in. I do this because I know the area and I understand its volatility, whereas the couple may not. So be guided by your photographer, be prepared, and have an open attitude about the weather. Trust me, you’ll have one hell of a day on your elopement if you do. Fill out the form below to speak to me more about planning your elopement in the Blue Mountains, New Zealand, Hunter Valley or anywhere you wish!

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