By Krist Ehret
Spring is an ideal time of year in middle Tennessee to host a gathering al fresco. From weddings and birthdays to dinner parties and showers, we’re all looking for any excuse to dust off those patio string lights and emerge from the gloomy winter hibernation. Unfortunately, Mother Nature doesn’t always sympathize with our plans. As spring is also typically our rainiest season, it’s important to have a few tricks up your sleeve. After years of seeing brides battle the rains on their wedding days, here are some tips I can offer.
Always Have a Plan B. A good rule of thumb is to hope for the best, but plan for the worst. No matter the size of your event, try to have
a place to move indoors if need be. I have seen very frazzled friends attempt to move children’s birthday parties last minute due to a day of thunderstorms. It’s not fun and it keeps you from enjoying your day. Have a house, a friend’s house, a barn, a venue, something on the back- burner just in case.
Book a Tent. Although I stand by my plan B suggestion, I’m aware you can’t exactly bus an entire wedding congregation off to another location if the weather gets rough. In this case, I have a plan C. All outdoor weddings should have a tent (with the option to attach sides), on hold. If you’re getting married during busy seasons (spring or fall), and any part of the event must be outdoors, you need to reserve a tent sooner rather than later. If you wait until the last minute, you will find it very difficult to find one. Most rental companies allow you to put one on hold with a non-refundable deposit. I know it’s not the most fun way to spend the money, but the peace of mind it offers is priceless.
Be Flexible. Pop-up showers are common in our neck of the woods. Tennessee weather likes to keep us on our toes. Assess the situation and decide if a simple delay of start time is an option. We had a few brides open the bar early and have a pre-ceremony cocktail hour for their guests while waiting for the rain to pass. Then, we simply wiped down the chairs and proceeded as normal. Being a little flexible is a good plan on the day of any big event, as something unexpected is bound to happen. Handling things with a little grace keeps the mood of the day much lighter.
Embrace the Rain. If it’s a wedding, have your bridesmaids and family send out mass texts that the event will be outside and to dress appropriately: i.e. boots and raincoats. Then, go out and buy a bunch of cheap umbrellas. The key is to keep everyone as comfortable as possible. If it’s a chilly rain, make sure to have coffee ready. For a child’s birthday (if there’s no lightning), turn it into a water party and invite the kids to wear bathing suits or rain boots and then get some slip and slides, water guns, sprinklers, etc. The young guests definitely won’t mind getting wet, and the parents are likely to be on board as long as they know ahead of time.