Planning a wedding during hurricane season can feel like a risky move, especially if you're from an area where such extreme weather patterns don't exist. The thing to keep in mind, though, is that hurricanes usually come with a few days' notice and give you time to prepare to put your backup plan into action. Assuming you're not tying the knot in an evacuation zone or somewhere that having the wedding would be dangerous to both you and your guests, there's no reason why you can't still tie the knot. If you're comfortable with putting your backup plan in place, your wedding should be able to go off without a hitch.
To help you feel prepared, here we dive into everything you need to know about planning a wedding during hurricane season.
While the damage isn't foreseeable, hurricanes are predictable.
Hurricanes are typically seen on the radar well in advance of making landfall. There's usually about a three to seven day window in which evacuations may be put in place and weather advisories become serious. While hurricanes can be seen on the radar within a large enough time frame for you to decide whether to keep your plans in place, these storm systems do tend to steer off-track or surprise us with how quickly the build or lose strength.
Guest reactions are less predictable.
If your guests are concerned about a hurricane hitting at any time during your wedding weekend, they may call in a last-minute cancellation. This is important to keep in mind because not all venues will let you off the hook for these cancellations. If the reason you've chosen to have your wedding during hurricane season is because of cost savings, you may want to evaluate what's at stake financially in the case of a hurricane.
You should have a backup plan you actually like.
Because you're planning a wedding during hurricane season, you need to not only have a good, sturdy backup plan in place, but it should be a plan you're going to be happy with. All backup plans are a Plan B and not the most exciting version of a wedding, but if you absolutely hate this alternative option, it's going to be awfully disappointing if Plan A doesn't work out. When you're talking through the options of changing locations, or keeping all festivities indoors, you may want to talk with your vendors about ways to spruce these options up to be on-par with your initial plan.
Damage doesn't always shut down a venue.
If your venue has had a stormy season, there's a very real possibility that there could be damage to the property that isn't worth the venue closing over. For example, the grounds may look weathered and a few rooftops may be damaged, or the beach may appear more eroded than it did during your last visit. If a storm has come through just prior to your wedding, your venue will be working very hard to get everything back up to par, but you may need to be flexible and understanding here.
Know your contracts and know them well.
If your wedding is set to take place during hurricane season, it's important that you review all your contracts in depth and know exactly what happens to deposits and final payments if you have to cancel or postpone your wedding. Some vendors are happy to reschedule if they're available, while others may be stricter.
Be weather obsessed during your wedding week, but no sooner.
Constantly checking the weather throughout the months leading up to your wedding day will do you absolutely no good, but starting to pay attention once the 10-day forecasts roll around can help put your weather anxieties at ease. There are a number of weather tracking and radar services and apps you can use for reference, but the Dark Sky app is a great one for up-to-the-minute weather information and you can set notifications to pop up if rain is starting in the next 20 minutes. This is very handy when it comes to managing your backup plan on a day with an iffy weather forecast.
Encourage your guests to purchase travel insurance.
It's impossible to know if a hurricane will impact your guests' travel plans, but this is one thing that can be insured for a minimal cost. You can offer travel insurance information and links on your wedding website, or simply suggest that guests purchase insurance through their airline or travel agent.
Know your options.
If your wedding resort has to shut down due to hurricane damage, they may have partner resorts in unaffected locations that they can transfer your wedding to. This is one of the major benefits of booking through a chain resort, so be sure to find out about this when you book your wedding. You may be able to get this written into the contract as an emergency option.