Wedding season is here! An estimated 2,160,000 weddings occur in the United States each year, costing approximately $86 billion, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.
May through October is usually the peak wedding season, averaging a few thousand more weddings than winter or early spring.
Even in optimal conditions, wedding planning can be stressful. Bad weather can make planning a nightmare. Richard Markel, who has produced the California-based show “Bridal Expo” and is the director of the Association for Wedding Professionals International, says that preparation is critical when dealing with the unpredictable weather. “The weather is really a reason why bridal consultants are so valuable, because they have backup plans and help people prepare themselves,” he said, adding that he has used the long-range forecasts in the Farmers’ Almanac for years.
You can plan for bad weather, but you can also try to avoid it all together. WeatherBill, a company that pays businesses for disruptive weather, has released a top ten list of the best outdoor wedding cities in the U.S. The study uses 30 years of historical weather data from May through October to create the top ten. Since temperature and rainfall are two of the biggest factors that can ruin an outdoor wedding, WeatherBill ranks cities by average rainfall and wedding-friendly temperatures (for example, at 80°F wedding cakes begin to melt). The top ten are also easy to travel to and offer a variety of outdoor venues.
Here they are:
1. San Diego, CA
San Diego not only provides ideal locations for outdoor weddings (eleven beaches allow weddings with city-issued permits), but also ideal temperatures. The average temperature for August is 76°F, and October is only three degrees cooler at 72°F. The threat of rain is almost nonexistent with an average of zero rainy days from June to September and only 0.8 in October.
2. Santa Ana, CA
Santa Ana averages 70-degree temperatures during the height of the wedding season and averages between zero and one rainy day each month. Santa Ana’s proximity to beautiful beaches, mountains, and the Santa Ana River makes it a lovely backdrop for outdoor weddings.
3. San Francisco, CA
San Francisco has plenty of great outdoor wedding locations, including the Palace of the Legion of Honor. Average temperatures during the summer months range from 66°F in May to 73°F in July. While fog is still common, rainfall during this period is extremely low.
4. Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles is sunny year-round with temperatures staying in the 70s throughout wedding season. Since the weather is almost always permitting, guests can also take advantage of L.A.’s beaches, boardwalks, and theme parks.
5. Portland, OR
Portland averages 81°F during August and 63°F in October with only two rainy days a month on average during peak wedding season. It also contains an array of gardens and parks where weddings can be held with a permit. Avoid Portland weddings in the winter when rainfall increases substantially.
6. Seattle, WA
Seattle may be known as “Rain City,” but from June to September, it stays relatively dry, averaging one to two rainy days each month. Temperatures are mild and generally around the high 60s and mid-70s. There are hundreds of parks in the city that can be used as wedding venues.
7. Boston, MA
More humid than the Pacific coast, Boston still has great weather for a summer wedding. Temperatures range from the low 60s to the low 80s and an average of only four rainy days a month. Georges and Spectacle islands are located in the Boston Harbor and allow weddings with a permit.
8. Milwaukee, WI
Milwaukee averages mild temperatures in the 70-degree range and only four rainy days a month from June through September. The shores of Lake Michigan can provide great wedding spots, but plan accordingly, as the winds coming off the lake can make it considerably colder than the rest of the city.
9. Cleveland, OH
Cleveland is warm and fair during the summer, generally staying between 69°F and 80°F. Cleveland has a variety of outdoor venues, especially near Lake Erie, where you can rent luxury cruise ships. Since the city averages only four rainy days a month between May and October, you can fairly be sure that the water will be underneath you.
10. Minneapolis, MN
Minneapolis is home to some of the most beautiful lakes in the country, providing a gorgeous backdrop for outdoor weddings. The summer weather should cooperate. Temperatures range from the 60s to mid-70s (except for July, which averages 84°F), and rainfall only occurs about four days a month.
Learn how this list compares to our list of where the most “Worst Wedding Weather Contest” submissions came from. Check out our state list.