Monday, April 23, 2012

Rain on Your Wedding Day

Over recent years outdoor weddings have become increasingly popular, and events held by the sea or on mountain peaks for example, can provide spectacular backdrops for that very special day. However it also means that the weather becomes a major factor in the equation and this is often a difficult issue.

Outdoor wedding ceremonies are subject to the vagaries of the weather. (Image from Wikipedia Commons)

The fundamental weather problem emerges in the early stages of planning – weddings are normally organised several months ahead, but reliable forecasts for a given location ore normally only possible out to a week ahead. This mismatch of time intervals often causes substantial grief both to the wedding organisers and to the meteorologist who is called on to produce the weather forecast for the ceremony. 

Many of my numerous grey hairs have been produced from wrestling with this problem and I’ve found that one of the most dangerous life-forms in the jungle is a wet bride with her wedding dress trailing in un-forecast mud.

So are there ways around this dilemma? Well firstly, planning should take into account the long term climate averages – these can readily be obtained online and will give you some idea which are the wettest, driest, coldest and hottest months in your area of interest. However the problem with this is that on any particular day, average conditions are not always encountered. Remember Mark Twain’s observation – “Climate is what we expect, weather is what we get”.

Secondly, and most importantly, always have a plan “B” ready to go.
This simply involves organising access to a shelter nearby should rain develop on the day. This will take a lot or stress out of the decision-making and also off the meteorologist who is sweating this out with you.

Outdoor wedding ceremonies were practiced over many centuries across different cultures. This contemporary painting shows the wedding of the great Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, circa 1630. Fireworks accompanied the ceremony throughout the night. (Image from Wikipedia Commons)

Then thirdly, start watching the weather forecasts 7 days out from the wedding – monitor these on a day to day basis and this will help you “fine tune” your arrangements. The forecasts tend to become more accurate the closer we get to the actual day.

Finally, I always fall back on my last defence which is the old belief, common to many cultures, that it is good luck if it rains on your wedding day. This relates to the association that rain has with the fertility of trees and plants, and the refreshing effect it has on the atmosphere.

In Hindu tradition rain is good fortune because a wet knot - the knot of marriage - is harder to undo than a dry knot. The Italians, have a wonderful saying “Sposa Bagnata, Sposa Fortunata,” which means “Wet Bride, Lucky Bride.” However many brides-to-be are not reassured by this knowledge.

Interestingly, in some parts of the world, it is law that the marriage ceremony must be performed under a roof, and this makes life a lot easier for the local meteorologists. If ever I run for Parliament that will be my main policy plank and, assuming I have the numbers, I’ll institute it immediately I become Prime Minister.

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