Now that spring has returned, outdoor events are back on the agenda for groups that were once hesitant about outdoor activities in the winter. Yet, depending on your schedule and activities, rain can really dampen the mood. Here are some tips for dealing with corporate events and weddings when mother nature does not corporate.
- Schedule a back-up rain date. This used to be standard fare for outdoor events but, due to the difficulty in coordinating schedules and making sure that everyone is available, it isn't frequently used for corporate events.
Select a venue with waterfalls, greenhouse, chalet, wedding chapel or a tent, so that you can move part of the event indoors. Tenting can be expensive and it must be ordered in advance. Here are some tenting options at various price points.
I remember a few years ago, during Toronto's Polo for Heart, the fields were too wet for polo but corporate guests had a relaxing time enjoying gourmet cuisine in their tents. There were some equestrian games that did not require speed (e.g. riders from other disciplines like dressage and show jumping) had a chance to try their hand at shots from a polo pony. There were prizes for the winner.
- Consider using a venue with a beach. As long as there is no lightening or thunder, the group can have a blast in the water while it rains. (They're going to get wet anyway if you the activities include rafting, raft building or a tug-of-war.)
- For all summer and spring events, ask attendees to bring rain gear including boots if rain is forecasted. With the proper attire, they can still have a lot of fun.
On the way to the event, pick up extra umbrellas from the dollar store as some people will forget to bring theirs.
A few years ago, I did a stopover in Paris on the way back from Asia. It was during the Paris Marathon. Although it was pouring, organizers were prepared with inexpensive rain ponchos for everyone and protected areas for rest stops.
If the event is catered, make arrangements for the caterers to deliver the meals or lunch boxes to the company's office in the event of rain. Do part of the agenda in the company boardroom.
My company organized an urban rural safari for a corporate client. The kick-off was at a golf club. At the start of the race, the client opted to pull the plug due to rain and try again on another day. They enjoyed the time they spent together over a nice meal back at the office.
- Flip your agenda. My company planned an event that was supposed to start outdoors in the morning and end with lunch In advance, we made arrangements to kick off the event with the lunch and do the outdoor portion in the afternoon.
- Develop a detailed event plan for a rainy day scenario.
Photo Credits: Steve & Jemma Copley