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02/03/2016

8 tips for a flawless wedding, even in the rain

Wedding plans
(Photo:formal dresses perth)

"February is why people live in Florida," said the event manager for a historic lakefront house when I asked her last May whether an outdoor wedding would be a good idea. "Ask any snowbird. It will be gorgeous," she practically guaranteed.

And so on that promise of blue skies, the wedding plans unfolded: an outdoor ceremony on the lakefront lawn, a sleeveless gown, photos on the wooden dock at twilight while guests enjoy passed hors d'oeuvres on the brick patio beneath strands of market lights. The party would then move inside the home, where six tables for 10 would be set for dinner and crowned with candle-lit centerpieces of cream and blush roses.

Of course, you know me by now, I dialed in every detail down to DC's tuxedo studs (sterling French love knots). As my picture-perfect plan came together, the vision quickened in my mind like concrete.

That is until two weeks before the wedding, when Katie Scully, owner of Blue Ribbon Wedding & Event Design, who was handling the day-of event coordination, asked: "What is your rain plan?"

"Rain plan?" I said. "Our plan is it's not going to rain."

"Well, just in case," she said.

Though I thought it an utter waste of time, five days before the wedding I dutifully called a meeting with the caterer and the event manager for a walk through of how the event would flow in the unthinkable case of rain.

When we were done, we unanimously agreed: that's not going to happen.

Over the next four days, however, the forecast grew grimmer. A black cloud formed over my wedding day, moving the storm needle from possible to certain.

I still held out hope. However, I have learned in life, and this has taken decades, that if something is meant to be it will be.

The rain started in the morning and did not relent. Temperatures dropped and winds rose. At 10 a.m., I reluctantly called Scully telling her to enact the rain plan.

The problem with picturing your wedding a certain way for months is that you really can't see it any other way.

Scully positioned the umbrella stand by the front door. Guests arrived and were directed to the main room for the ceremony. After the ceremony, they flowed to the back of the house for drinks and appetizers, while the caterers transformed the ceremony room into a room for the dinner party. Everything went seamlessly.

"The wedding was beautiful," one guest said afterward.

"Even though it couldn't be outside," I said shrugging.

"Outside? I thought this was how you planned it all along."

And, you know, now I can't imagine it any other way.

The moral of this story: Regardless of how you envision your outdoor event —

whether it's a birthday, graduation, retirement party, anniversary bash or wedding — and despite how nice the almanac indicates the weather will be, have a back-up plan.

"As a wedding coordinator, my goal is not to have to go to the bride with any questions on wedding day," said Scully, who got her bachelor's degree in event management and is a certified wedding planner. "On a day when emotions are high, you don't want to be figuring this out on the fly."

Here are some of her best Plan B recommendations:

Be realistic: "We all want to say, 'It's not going to rain,' but you just can't," Scully said. Other factors besides rain also can force a plan change, including wind and extreme temperatures. "You need to get in front of it."

Enlist pros and trust them: Because I'd talked through the rain plan with those working behind the scenes, I only had to make one call to activate it. The pros took it from there. "By discussing this up front, we can go into problem-solving mode rather than spend time appeasing the bride or getting caught in a room with her distraught mother," Scully said. "Let us handle it."

Put comfort first: What's more important? How your party looks, or how it feels? These are your favorite people. You want them to be comfortable. And that may mean sacrificing your vision. "Thanks to sites like Pinterest, many brides get so focused on the visual appeal, they forget all the other senses," she said. Those barn weddings look romantic, with the lace gown against the rustic barn siding, but photos don't capture the funky animal smells, the bad insulation, the insects, filth and road noise.

Consider a tent: If you have an indoor back-up plan in case weather turns foul, you don't need a tent. But if you can't get everyone indoors, line one up at least a month in advance. Most cities require you to get a permit, which can take a few weeks and requires a fee. The rental company also will likely charge you at least a partial fee to have the tent available whether or not you use it.

Ward off chill: Have a basket of throw blankets and shawls in light neutral colors for guests to grab. Outdoor heaters also are nice.

Stay dry: If it rains, or threatens to, offer cover and have an attendant provide umbrella-covered escorts for guests.

Keep cool: Put out bins of water bottles on ice if temperatures are high, and please skip the beach wedding on the sand, Scully said. "We've all burned our feet on hot sand."

Nix nuisances: Before your event, see about having the site professionally sprayed for insects. And let guests know they can find bug spray behind the bar.

And, despite the rain, they lived happily ever after.Read more at:plus size formal dresses

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