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Planning for Memphis Weather

As I sit here this morning listening to the rain outside and thinking about the 65 degree temperature we’ve been enjoying these last few days, I can’t help but think about just how difficult it can be to plan a wedding around such fickle Memphis weather.  I’ve seen my share of weather wedding disasters and hope to share a couple tips about how to make the most of these situations.

What’s your back up plan?

Some event professionals will tell you to not worry about the rain…we’ll just figure it out “if” something happens.  Obviously, these guys haven’t lived in Memphis long enough to realize that the weather here can change instantly, leaving you out in the cold, or rain, or snow, or heat, or…well, you get the picture.  It is so important to have a plan for unfavorable weather conditions.  If you are planning an outdoor ceremony, see if your location has an indoor facility that will accommodate you if it rains.  I’ve worked with a number of reception venues such as thePink Palace MuseumThe Memphis Botanic GardensMaple Grove Farms, and Carahills II that have gorgeous outdoor spaces for ceremonies but have graciously worked to accommodate last minute indoor changes.  You may also want to locate a secondary facility such as a church, hotel, or even your reception venue that you can put on standby, just in case you need to hold the ceremony there.    If you are renting a tent for your ceremony or reception, be sure to reserve sides, heaters, fans, etc. as early as possible to make sure they’re available.  Some people choose to keep a tent on standby, just in case it rains.  Keep in mind, however, that tent companies usually require a non refundable deposit and like to you decide several days in advance if their services are needed.

What about your guests?

Bad weather can affect your event in several ways.  Don’t get so caught up in how it will affect your pictures, your hair, or your vision of your special day that you forget about another important part of the event…your guests.  Remember, the more your guests know about what’s going on, the more likely are to still participate in this exciting time instead of just staying home.  You may want to consider including a note in your invitations with rainy day instructions or keeping you guests updated through your wedding website or through email about possible changes.  If you still have your ceremony outside, after it rains, try to remember to have someone dry off the seats.  You and your bridal party won’t be sitting down but a lot of other people will and wet chairs can make for some very unhappy individuals…I’ve seen it!

What about your vendors?

Check with each of your vendors about their plans for poor weather.  Also, understand their policies for severe weather (tornadoes, ice, or snow) knowing that some may not feel comfortable in these conditions.  I always insist that my brides settle on and agree to a back up plan, even if they’re certain everything will turn out ok.  One of our brides was very fortunate to have a beautiful outdoor wedding at the zoo.  However, as soon as the ceremony was over, the rain came and we put our back up plan to work.  Although the bride did not have her plate-served meal outside under the stars, we were able to serve all 200 of her guests a delicious buffet-style meal under one of the few covered areas of the venue.  Had we not planned for the weather, we may not have had all of the equipment available to make that happen.

Make the call and enjoy your day!

Everyone understands that your wedding day is very special and it is important to make it happen according to your vision.  However, sometimes it doesn’t quite work out as planned.  Make the call about when to put your back up plan in action and then just let it go.  I’ve seen brides who have gone back and forth, even to the extent of moving chairs from outside to inside to back outside again…that’s the kind of stress that can just ruin your day.  Remember, this day is about you marrying the one you love and creating memories with them.  Just let the rain or snow be another memory, a story that the two of you can look back on in the years to come.

-Ryan Draper, Operations Manager, Draper’s Catering of Memphis

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