Hannah Warren Harpist - Canadian Outdoor Wedding Weather Considerations

How your musician plans for bad weather on your wedding day

Don’t let the weather get you down!

Being in Canada, we’re pretty used to bad weather interrupting our plans. Whether it’s a heatwave, snow storm, or something completely different, our climate in Ottawa is often predictable… which is no fun if you’re planning an outdoor wedding!

I require a fully-indoor backup location for any outdoor bookings, but this isn’t just to protect me, it’s to protect your wedding day too! While I might be the first vendor that is pushing you for a plan B in case it’s too warm, too cold, or too rainy, there are many other parts of your day directly and indirectly affected by the weather. Your décor might get soggy and damp or dry out, your officiant probably won’t be too thrilled with being rained on, your flowers won’t be as nice, your hair and makeup might not last as long… the list continues. Not to mention most importantly, your guests will probably be uncomfortable as well!

During your wedding planning process, you might be considering hiring a harpist or another live musician, but are worried about what happens in case they can’t play due to unforeseen weather. Not to fear!

Hannah Warren Harpist - Blog Post - Can a Harpist Play at My Venue

Planning an outdoor wedding? Check out my post about what venue considerations you need to think about and learn my “grandma rule” to help you decide!

Here are 4 things we can do for your wedding ceremony music in case it rains (or snows, or is too hot, or too cold):

1. Move your wedding indoors

This is the easiest option if your venue has an indoor space. In the Ottawa area we have no shortage of gorgeous indoor venues, and even more with fantastic indoor and outdoor spaces at the same venue. Moving your wedding indoors eliminates pretty much all of the issues you’d face weather-wise with having your wedding outdoors.

This isn’t to say either that you can’t take photos or have memories outside! Running out with your new spouse in the rain or getting a photo with your bridal party in fur stoles are a great way to bring the outdoors into your wedding day without subjecting your guests to sitting uncomfortably for an hour during your ceremony.


2. Switch the live music for another part of your event

A longer cocktail hour, live getting ready music, or brunch the next day (if your musician is available of course!) are all options to still use your booked time with a musician, but indoors or when the weather is more suitable. I’ve done all of these options depending on the event, and it’s a great way to still bring some of the magic of hiring a live musician to your special day.


3. Use custom-recorded tracks

I’ve done this option too in a pinch when the weather was just too cold for me to be outside for the ceremony. The bride and groom both walked down the aisle to their original song selections, only played through a speaker than me “live”. The tracks were custom-recorded for them the day before and they were able to have their ceremony outside still. Then guests rushed inside after the ceremony to warm up and I was ready to go for their cocktail hour.


4. Wirelessly connect to outdoor speakers

If the indoor and outdoor spaces are relatively close, another option is to have a wireless microphone set up on the harp indoors and the speakers outdoors. This way you’re still getting the experience of live music, only in a way that’s more comfortable for your performer to play.


When it comes to your wedding day, your vendors are on your side. As a harpist, I not only want to protect the investment in my instruments (whose up-front and maintenance costs are similar to a car, but with no financing available), but your investment in your wedding! Planning a party as big as a wedding isn’t cheap, so having backup plans and hiring professional vendors are just two ways to protect your investment. I would much rather opting for a backup plan for one of my couples than stick through it and be worried about my strings or soundboard breaking during the middle of your ceremony. A distracted, stressed out vendor isn’t going to perform as well as one who isn’t battling the elements, which ultimately means a better outcome for you too!