These Are the Riskiest Months for an Outdoor Wedding

Plan carefully if you've always dreamed of an open-air celebration.

Photo: Erich McVey

There's an old poem that posits a positive or negative fate for couples based on the month they tie the knot. "Marry in the month of May, and you'll surely rue the day," it goes. But "marry when the June roses grow, over land and sea you'll go." Whether you believe in lucky wedding dates or not, the month you marry can determine (to some extent) the kind of weather you can expect for your celebration. We asked Jenna Miller, creative director of planning resource Here Comes the Guide, to weigh in on which months are generally safest for an outdoor wedding—and which ones are rather risky.

"To play it safe, know what weather is forecasted for your wedding day, make sure to give your out-of-town guests whatever wardrobe and travel tips they need to be prepared, and always—I repeat, always—have a bad-weather backup plan," Miller says. "This could mean putting a tent rental on hold, working with your venue coordinator to secure a 'Plan B' indoor space, or just having lots of umbrellas on hand."

January, February, and March

Dreaming of a late-winter wedding? The experts say January, February, and March are high-risk months for an outdoor wedding. "The riskiest wedding months across the country are January, February, and March since they're smack in the middle of winter with the highest likelihood of inclement weather," Miller explains. Of course, that fact really depends on where you live. "In the southern parts of the country, winter can simply mean throwing on an extra sweater," she continues. "In the North, however, it's pretty typical to see the temperature around freezing—32 degrees or less—between Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day."

April and May

You know what they say about April showers—and often, they don't stop with the arrival of May flowers. Some areas may experience gray skies and chilly temps until June, Miller points out. In short: Be wary of rain if you're planning an outdoor wedding in April or May. "For weddings in the Pacific Northwest—think Seattle and Portland—expect more rain than sun for much of spring," she explains. Still, there are exceptions to any rule. Texas brides who marry in May or April, for example, will beat the heat of summer and instead enjoy a mild climate with low precipitation risks.


Have you ever wondered why June is such a popular month to say "I do?" Just look at the forecasts. "The fact that June, September, and October are the most popular wedding months says it all," Miller explains. "Early summer and early fall typically have mild, temperate weather with a lower risk of rain, snow, or super-high heat or humidity. If you have your heart set on an outdoor wedding, these months are your best bet."

July and August

You might think the subsequent summer months would be equally favorable for your fête, but brides across the country will encounter their own unique challenges during these months. "Many East Coast areas can experience torrential rain in the form of thunderstorms," Miller explains. "Then there's the South and Southwest, where the thermometer can get up to 100 degrees or higher. An outdoor ceremony in this heat gives new meaning to the phrase 'sweating for the wedding.'" West Coast couples can usually count on sunny days, though Miller warns, "drought conditions frequently cause large-scale wildfires that bring hazy skies, poor air quality, and even evacuations."

September and October

Early autumn is almost always beautiful—and that goes for pretty much everywhere in the United States. Southwestern states such as Arizona strike the perfect balance between hot and cold this time of year. Meanwhile, weddings in the Midwest and East Coast will feature comfortable temperatures and beautiful fall foliage.

November and December

While outdoor weddings are typically riskier in late fall and early winter, it's not always the case, so the pros consider this risk to be a variable medium to high. "While summer months in San Francisco are a bit foggy, autumn clears up the skies, and you can enjoy an Indian summer wedding in November," Miller recommends.

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