By: Lindsay Graham – 

Despite a stormy beginning, Michael and Lindsay Grahams marriage is running smoothly. That’s how the lifestyles editor at my hometown newspaper wanted to begin my marriage announcement. Unfortunately, she was being quite literal. It rained during my outdoor wedding.

There I was standing in my wedding gown, looking like a princess in a white A-line dress complete with a satin corset bodice and a full skirt encrusted with shining pearls and sequins over a lace motif. Two miniature versions of me carried my four-foot chapel train, which also sported appliqué decorations. And it was raining. This was supposed to be the most wonderful day of my life, but it was raining.

The actual downpour didn’t begin until the moment my husband and I said our I Dos. Some comedians in the audience called it a sign. I was tempted to give them a sign that was not very ladylike. Cruel jokes were not the worst part of the rain, however. It was that I had declined to rent a tent.

I knew that renting a cover would be expensive from the moment I began planning my August 10 wedding. To shelter the 300-plus guests who would be in attendance would require more than one tent. My husband and I were paying for our own wedding, and shoveling out $5000 in rental fees for several tents seemed a little excessive. We shopped all over the state, but since our wedding was to take place outside a mansion 45 miles from the nearest town, no one was willing to cut us a break on the transportation and set-up fees.

I decided to do a different kind of shopping around. Having been born and raised not far from my wedding site, I knew the weather fairly well. Rain was a rarity in August; I couldn’t even remember the last time I had seen any. So I did what any half-broke bride-to-be would do. I searched the local weather records to verify that I would not need to rent tents because there would not be any rain. The records solidified this belief: it had not rained between August 8 and August 12 in seven years, and the rain that had occurred prior to that was minimal.

With this information, I reasoned that it would be ludicrous to shell out so much cash for something that wouldn’t even come in to use. Besides, I told myself, I wanted sunbeams to shine down on me on my special day; I certainly did not need any shadows ruining my wedding photographs. Oh, how I condemned these thoughts later.

Hundreds of people began scrambling for cover, some under the large oaks trees but most into the white castle-like structure before us. The violinist rushed to ensure that the rain would not damage his instrument. The harpist didn’t have the convenience of picking up her instrument and easily dashing for the door. Luckily for her, and for me since I had signed a contract agreeing to pay for any damage to the instruments due to weather, several kind male guests volunteered to carry the oversized letter D through the back door and in to safety. The magical moment had definitely been cut short.

The water stopped pouring less than 10 minutes after the heavens had opened up and flooded me with its unwanted rivers. Okay, so the decorations and my guests were a little wet. At least the rain has stopped, I told myself. Now we can go back outside, do the receiving line bit, take the pictures and get to the reception. No problem.

If only things were that easy. My bridesmaids had somehow managed to escape the boredom of the receiving line, so I did not see them until it was time to take pictures. At my first sight of them, I knew why they hadn’t wanted me to see them. Their periwinkle georgette gowns had fallen victim to the rain. The cursed water had managed to transform the once-beautiful dresses into polka-dotted disasters. There was no way to dry the gowns within the next several hours, so the photographer would have to take the pictures, as things were, Dalmatians and all.

When I look at my wedding pictures today, I see wet bridesmaids, soaking decorations and limp flowers. I also see myself smiling through it all, because the truth of the matter was that my wedding was still my perfect day. Sure, my cheapskate ways had come back to bite me. But my wedding wasn’t about the decorations, and it definitely wasn’t about the bridesmaids. Strange as it may sound, I had somehow managed to forget that my wedding day was about actually getting married. A rainy-day wedding takes time to find amusing, but now I do look back and laugh.

That’s enough touchy-feely stuff. The moral of the story for all brides-to-be is not to reason your way out of spending some extra cash. It will save you from extra worries later especially if you plan on getting married outdoors.

By: Lindsay Graham