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Planning Outdoor Special Events; Always Have a Plan B

There is nothing like gathering your friends and loved ones at a special occasion outdoors, in the fresh, clean air and beautiful sunshine provided by Mother Nature. Pure romance is exchanging vows on a windswept beach, with the ocean as a backdrop. Dancing the night away under the twinkling lights of a tented party. A patio barbecue with the wafting smells of dinner cooked before your eyes, a feast for the senses. These occasions bring us so much joy and create memories of a lifetime. Unfortunately, there is a reality to these storybook events that us Special Event Planners are well versed in....RAIN. This is our job, to deliver realities to our Clients and anticipate what can go wrong, so that we make sure everything goes right!

There are times when I wish I was a magic fairy godmother that can wave a wand and make the rain go away! But if you are working with an experienced Special Event Planner, he/she will make sure plans are in place to still have a fantastic, memorable event, rain or shine.

For most special occasions it is impossible to have a rain date. With family, friends and colleagues traveling from near and far, travel arrangements and possibly lodging has already been arranged. Vendors have been booked and deposits paid. The show must go on. This is why you need a Plan B. I insist to my Clients that if they want an outdoor event, whether at their residence or a friend's residence or even out in a field somewhere, they must have a tent. And this tent should have sides to protect from the elements. Unless the residence, or barn, or clubhouse has enough comfortable room for everyone to move into, the tent must be equipped to handle the inclement weather and your guests.

Recently I helped a friend with her daughter's Sweet 16 Party. She wanted the party to be outside, in her backyard. I suggested that she have a tent. She refused, saying that it "never" rains when she has a party. I asked her what her Plan B was. She said it would be her house, although she has a small home, was inviting over 30 teenagers and hired a DJ for dancing. She said she wasn't worried about it and wasn't going to even think about how her house would fit everyone because it wouldn't rain. Well guess what? It rained! Not only did it rain, it was torrential rain and thunderstorms! All the rental tables and chairs that were sitting outside were soaked. The special tablecloths she rented and custom centerpieces she purchased couldn't be used. Everyone squeezed into her home and she had to remove furniture while the guests were standing around. The DJ had to figure out where to set-up in a pinch. In the end, the guests and the Sweet 16 girl did have a great time celebrating, due to her unanticipated Plan B. If she was more prepared with her Plan B, the switch would have gone smoother and she would have planned differently with the non refundable rentals.

I love working with venues that have great Plan B's. We can arrange a beautiful set-up for a cocktail hour or ceremony outside. We keep our fingers crossed for that elusive sun and cloudless sky. Then wait and see... However, because these venues are just as special inside, we can quickly bring everything inside, decor included. Clients are guaranteed a very special day, inside or out. A win win situation for everyone.

Working with an experienced planner allows you, the Client, to relax the day of your outdoor special event because we have planned out all scenarios ahead of time. If last minute Plan B changes do need to happen, I have made sure you are prepared for it. As I sit here writing this blog, I am thinking about the OUTDOOR party I planned for tonight on my deck with close friends and colleagues. The deck is power washed, my pots are filled with beautiful flowers and the outdoor speakers are connected. The weather forecast for tonight: RAIN. Hello Plan B!

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