By David Darby with Rent-E-Quip

There are so many great reasons to have your wedding outdoors, the fresh and lively atmosphere, the bountiful decor of the seasonal flora, and stunning natural light, just to name a few. However, having an outdoor wedding means you subject yourself to the will of nature, thus it’s always wise to have a “Plan B.” But just how risky is it to have an outdoor wedding? Remember Hurricane Florence? Although it didn’t hit us directly, it managed to give many businesses and couples a scare!

Some outdoor venues offer an indoor backup in case of inclement weather, but many don’t have such on-site accommodations. This is where tents, and their safety, come into play.

David Darby Rent-E-Quip Plan B Richmond Wedding Outdoor

Tents are designed to provide an overhead canopy for protection from wind, rain, and small debris such as leaves and acorns. You can also attach walls and even doors to the sides of tents to fully enclose your space. This will allow your wedding to go smoothly, regardless of minor weather-related setbacks.

Most tents from reputable vendors are going to be engineered structures capable of withstanding up to 70 mph gusts, as long as they are up to general industry standard. No amount of pole-dancing is going to knock these over! While the majority of tents are rated for high wind gusts and protection from small debris, you don’t want to be outside if gusts are approaching 40 mph as they can knock loose or lift larger debris at speeds that vinyl canopies on tents are unable to shield you from.

David Darby Rent-E-Quip Plan B Richmond Wedding Outdoor

So how bad does the weather need to be in order to force your Plan B? Well, short of a hurricane or tornado you should be in the clear. According to, since 1804 there have been 50 hurricanes and tropical storms that have either directly or indirectly hit Virginia. Averaged out over the last 214 years, that equals one landing every 4.28 years. Depending on the exact location of your venue you can expect a 2-6% chance per season (June-November) of a hurricane affecting the area, per the AOML Hurricane Research Division. That equates to a 0.001% to 0.003% chance per week.

A more likely threat to outdoor weddings is thunderstorms and the lightning they bring. Virginia averages 35-45 thunderstorms per year, the majority of which happen in the evenings and late afternoons of summer, outside the bulk of wedding season. While thunderstorms are much more common than hurricanes, they rarely are a call for cancellation. Per, most thunderstorms pass in a span of 20-30 minutes. In this situation, allot 30 extra minutes to observe that the storm has safely passed and then the festivities are safe to resume.

David Darby Rent-E-Quip Plan B Richmond Wedding Outdoor

When choosing your outdoor venue, safety should always be in the back of your mind! With the advancement of tents, rest easy knowing that you will be underneath a durable and time-tested structure able to withstand most inclement weather. So, go outside, have your waterfront ceremony or woodland reception and make those wedding dreams come true!

David Darby is a Wedding and Event Specialist at Rent-E-Quip, a full-service rental company based out of Colonial Heights and serving Central Virginia. Be sure to visit, Instagram at @rentequipva, or call 804-520-7100 to get in touch!