There is an old saying that rain on your wedding day is a lucky omen. The Italians even have a saying for it, “Sposa bagnata, sposa fortunata“, which means that a wet bride is a lucky bride. In the U.S., it is commonly repeated that rain is lucky, although most brides would prefer a dry day and a little less luck!
Rain is also considered to be a good wedding omen in Germany, Sweden, and France. This is possibly because rain is associated with a bountiful harvest, and thus, fertility. Some believe that the rainier the wedding day, the more children the marriage will produce. (So if you get married during a downpour, I guess that you can expects to have triplets!)
However, not everyone considers rain to be a lucky charm; consider the old adage, “Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on”. There are several superstitions that are said to ward off rain on the wedding day. One is to feed your cat on the morning of the wedding (this is a strange one – shouldn’t you feed your cat every morning?). Catholics can hang a rosary outdoors on the day of their nuptials to put a stop to rain in time for the ceremony. In parts of Spain, to avoid rain the bride or her mother can deliver a dozen freshly laid eggs to the nuns of the convent of St. Clare.
Whether you consider rain to be a lucky sign or not, there is always a chance that it will fall on your wedding day. To make wet weather less of an issue, plan in advance for inclement weather. If you are planning an outdoor wedding, check the Farmer’s Almanac for the driest times of year in your hometown. Also be prepared with shelter for guests and the couple, or a backup location if the weather forces you to move the ceremony inside. For weddings in tents, order a floor to avoid having your reception in a mud pit.
For an indoor wedding, the rain more of an annoyance than a real problem. If there is rain in the forecast for your big day, arm yourself with plenty of golf umbrellas. The bride also may want to get dressed at the church if the weather is really nasty. The way to handle that is to be completely ready, other than the gown. The bride should have on her special wedding jewelry, her fancy undergarments, and everything but her gown and shoes. Put double plastic covers over the gown to keep it dry, then slip into it once arriving at the church. If changing into your gown at the ceremony site is impractical, at least wait to put on your bridal shoes until arriving on dry land. You don’t want to squish your way down the aisle in soggy footwear!
If is does end up raining on your wedding day, the best thing to do is grin and bear it. I once attended a wedding ceremony held in a park on a very wet day. It was treacherous going down a steep hill of wet grass in high heels, but the couple had posted ushers with large umbrellas to escort the ladies to the ceremony site (which fortunately did have a tent over it), and some of the male guests also pitched in to help. It rained and rained, to the point where you could barely hear the musicians playing while the guests were being seated (and we were all wondering how we would hear the vows). Then the most amazing thing happened: just as the ceremony began, the rain suddenly stopped and the sky cleared. The bride and groom exchanged their vows under a beautiful beam of sunshine, which seemed like a lucky omen, indeed. Even though her train was soaked, and her hair was frizzy, the bride was radiant with an inner bliss (and at least her wedding jewelry was dry and fabulous!).
So if the weatherman predicts inclement weather for your wedding day, just remember the French saying, “Mariage pluvieux, marriage heureux“, which promises a happy marriage as a result of a wet wedding. And if you don’t buy into the idea that rain is lucky, there is always the old standby: Rain, rain, go away – come again another day!