Yesterday, a major storm passed through the New York City area. The warnings of impending doom were pretty dire; while we were spared the wrath here in Brooklyn, other parts of the region got hit really hard. The timing was somewhat ironic for me, however – I had just been asked if TrivWorks could be the “rain backup” activity for one of our longtime clients, should their scheduled outdoor event need to be changed.
When the weather gets warm, offices seeking to show their staff and clients alike a good time start looking for New York City summer corporate entertainment ideas. However, both this and yesterday’s thunderstorm got me thinking: how prepared are event planners for inclement weather? Nobody wants to think about this, of course – the “rain plan” is never as glamorous as the original outdoor one, after all.
Several years back, I attended a springtime wedding at Oheka Castle – regarded as America’s #1 wedding venue. It’s absolutely stunning, with an estate modeled after the manicured gardens of Versailles where most of the wedding ceremonies are held. However, on the morning of the big day, it was extremely overcast, with the chance of rain. The bride and groom had been planning the wedding forever, and of course wanted it to be held outside – however, the venue had perhaps the best “Plan B” one could possibly hope for: a glamorous gilded ballroom, adjacent to the even larger ballroom where the reception would take place afterwards. It was a tough call, but ultimately they chose to hold the ceremony outdoors – we got lucky, since the skies opened up mere minutes after we all moved back inside!
With corporate events, having a rain backup isn’t always so easy. Yes, most outdoor venues (including party yachts) do have indoor spaces, however they’re not always designed to comfortably accommodate as large a crowd as they can fit in the outdoor space. When I was in charge of running adult education & enrichment events at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y, there were a couple of times we had to relocate singles mixers from the roof deck to the gym. Not great, not great.
The point is this: when the goal is to show your loyal employees or valued clients a great time, outdoor entertainment can be awesome – however, if the weather turns sour and you don’t have a viable backup plan, the experience will be a bad one. This will reflect poorly on everyone involved, and have the complete opposite effect as the one you intended.
Be smart – plan accordingly for weather contingencies!