Outdoor parties are a feature of summer. Outdoor kids’ parties let children burn off energy without laying waste to the house. For adults, garden parties mean barbecues, extra space and a chance to enjoy the sun. But we can’t control the weather, and if it’s seriously inclement, an outdoor party simply isn’t possible.
The trick to coping with this possibility is a little fallback planning. You can’t rescue a rained-out event without preparation, so keep this scenario in mind when planning your party.
Outdoor parties are a favorite of people who have more friends than can fit inside their house. However, the reality is you just might have to fit those people regardless. Don’t invite so many people you can’t be a proper host. They will be forgiving if things are a little cramped, but if there aren’t enough places to sit and they all have to shoulder their way through the hallways, no one is having fun.
Falling Back to a Restaurant
An alternative to this scenario is to fall back to a restaurant in case of rain. While your event will no longer be an all day affair, you can reasonably spend a couple hours together. And, of course, the weather might change in that time, letting you return to festivities after a good restaurant meal.
However, you do need to research ahead of time what places can take a party as large as yours in a reasonable amount of time.
Sheltering in the Garage
If you just have to invite all those people, and they don’t fit inside your house, the garage can take some pressure off of space limitations. Pull out the cars, as it’s not like a little rain is going to hurt them. Tuck everything you can against the walls, and move your picnic tables and lawn chairs inside. It doesn’t offer the best of views, but you can still have a great afternoon with friends and family.
The garage can also be a place for grilling. No one wants to stand in the rain flipping burgers, but grills can be pulled into the shelter of a garage to provide food for people who have retreated indoors.
Erecting a Gazebo
Find a company which rents temporary gazebos/canopies/tents, and inquire how far in advance you need to reserve one. Check weather forecasts as you approach that deadline. If you decide to schedule one, you might as well erect it even if the forecasts eventually turn less dour. Some need professional installation, and, if not, you don’t want to be erecting the thing as a surprise storm rolls in.
Inside the house, you’ll want to put out extra floor mats, so people moving between house and tent don’t track in mud.
Do remember that tents shelter guests from rain, but heavy winds can topple them, and they provide no protection against lightning. For really inclement weather, your guests need more substantial shelter to remain safe.
Providing food is a major task for any party organization, and even more so when preparing food (such as on a grill) is dependent on the weather. Be sure there’s plenty of foods which do not require outdoor cooking. Finger foods are great. On a good day, they’re appetizers, while on a bad day they can at least help tide people over. Also, consider side dishes which stand on their own merits rather than looking terribly alone without food from the grill.
Another alternative is to order pizza. Yeah, it might beak the mood, particularly if your party has a theme, but it can be provided at the last minute for any number of people. Make sure you know what the approximate wait time will be for an order large enough to feed your guests on the day in question.
If you can’t bear the thought of pizza, you can also cook casseroles ahead of time and throw them in the freezer. Come party day, thaw them out and warm them up as needed. Not needing them? Keep them in the freezer for the next party or if you need to bring a dish to someone’s potluck.
Having your party rained out is never fun, but it doesn’t have to be a complete wash (no pun intended). Let your preparations be applicable regardless of weather. Keep a backup location in mind. Consider alternative food options. And, of course, remain safe. A little rain never hurt anyone, but wind and lightning certainly can. With a little planning your party can be great no what the weather.