When it comes to event planning, we often hear about rainy-day solutions. When inclement weather strikes on the day of your big event, whether it’s a wedding or corporate retreat, your planner has probably thought ahead and rented a tent, coordinated an “if-needed” indoor space, or found cute matching umbrellas and gum boots.
But what about the other weather? The Okanagan can get pretty scorching in late August and as we move into fall and the days get shorter (yes, it’s going to happen, don’t cry) an outdoor evening reception can get chilly.
Well, here are some solutions for the hot and the cool so that your guests are comfortable this fall.
If it’s going to be a scorcher, consider serving chilled canapés at cocktail hour. Gazpacho served in teacups makes a lovely little dish, oysters on ice are always a big hit, or for something extra pretty, find a fruit -and flower-filled DIY Popsicle recipe on Pinterest and get freezing! Whatever you serve, think of a fun but classy theme and stick to it.
On cooler nights, warm up your guests with dishes both hot and spicy. Something like a curry buffet or spicy Thai will kick things up a notch. If it’s plated, your caterer will know how to make each dish look delightful. If spicy food isn’t your thing, end the meal with a warm dessert instead of cake. A warm sticky toffee pudding or apple crisp will warm your guests’ souls and tummies.
Hot days call for cold drinks. Set up your bar under a flowy tent and make sure you have lots of ice. Think beyond the regular bar menu and create something special like your own version of sangria (maybe one made with rosé?) or a lemonade -and whiskey-based cocktail. A refreshing drink will keep your guests satisfied. Don’t forget to provide equally tasty non-alcoholic options and encourage everyone to drink plenty of water.
If your guests are enjoying an evening under the stars but it starts to get cool, roll out a late-night drink station serving hot cocoa, toddies, buttered rum or mulled wine. Not only will guests appreciate the warm concoctions, it will set you apart from other events.
Tents aren’t just for rainy days. A flowy open-air white tent can keep temperatures down and look beautiful billowing in the breeze. For something out of the ordinary, try setting up your outdoor space into different areas like a separate tent for drinks, lawn games and a cocktail buffet. Link them together with vintage rug rentals and the venue grounds will be transformed to a Moroccan market. Also make sure your guests have plenty of spaces to sit. Sometimes all someone wants when it’s hot and sticky out is to rest his or her weary feet.
Even if you’re inside, an air-conditioned space can be a shock to the system on a hot day. Opt to keep the temperature only slightly chilled and open all the windows to encourage a cross-breeze.
If your venue allows it, set up a bonfire pit to stay warm on chill nights. Bring out the guitars and your guests will be singing along in no time. It’s a great time to play games, tell stories and eat s’mores.
Provide your guests with parasols and hand-held paper fans during your outdoor ceremony. If the reception is inside, make sure there’s plenty of air flow and if there’s not, rent some powerful fans to create that breeze yourself.
For fall weddings, set a blanket on each seat or have a basket of them available as guests take their seats. For a personal touch, choose blankets in your wedding colours or have them monogrammed. These can double as a gift for guests to bring home.
An outdoor reception on a cool night is possible. Instead of the traditional white tent, rent one that has a clear top so guests can still see the twinkling night skies, while space heaters inside keep the temperature cozy.
If you don’t want to brave the weather, you can still get an outdoor feeling inside. Choose a venue with plenty of windows (think floor-to-ceiling windows and skylights) and bring the outside in. Decorate the space with lots of florals, but think about other plants as well. Trees, especially fruit-bearing ones, can transform a space to resemble an orchard or garden. Light candles for a soft, romantic light and hang string lights from the rafters to mimic the night sky. It’s all in how you present it.
Stay comfortable, friends!