It’s raining today and I am so very happy because here in Napa Valley we are in need of some water.  However for those of you hosting outdoor parties, the idea of rain the day of your event is the last thing you want to deal with or think about.  Several years back while I was hosting parties, I had a client who was having a Barnyard theme.  My staff and I were handling the decor and activities.  We all knew that rain was expected, but was trying to hope for the best.  The client however refused to accept the idea of it raining on her parade and requested that we still set up outside.    We set a very cute table with gingham cloths and rustic table ware, there were hay bales in the back yard and game activities as well.    The petting zoo arrived just after set up and that is when the rain began.  Prior to setting the table though, I had some staff  members make a large enough clearing in the client’s family room.  The long table and chairs was immediately carried inside and the party took place indoors instead without a hitch.  As for the petting zoo, they too had a roof over their heads in the garage.   Having a “Back up Plan” is a major must.   So, if you are planning an outdoor event and rain occurs you have some options. Below are some tips that I suggest.


Be Decisive:  

As women, many of us are emotional by nature.  I am a planner by nature. I need to always be organized and in control; I need to micro manage, this is just part of my DNA. But I am only human after all, and one of the things I cannot control is the weather. With that said, we all need to be able to go with flow when unexpected things happen. I always say that things happen for a reason, so just let it go.   Take a deep breath and start making some decisions.

Move it Indoors

When rain threatens an outdoor party,  you may have to move the party indoors. This unfortunately is not always easy to do  without some preplanning. When planning your outdoor party, it’s a good idea to start plan for an indoor party as well. When creating the guest list, for example, consider how many people you can reasonably fit indoors.  Take into consideration your house’s floor plan.  Are there pieces of furniture that can be easily moved to another room for some additional space? Many themes can easily make the transition from outside to inside, while others are definitely suited for an outdoor setting. Ex. a pool party.




Indoor-Outdoor Party

Several years back I hosted a Jurassic Park party for a client and for that event it was pouring rain.  In this particular case, the client’s house was really small and she had invited a group of 12 -15 children and did not want to cancel on her son.  We therefore decided to set up 2- tents outside and this is where we did our activities such as dinosaur digs and excavation craft kits as well as serving and eating lunch.  The indoor  space was utilized for our storytelling part of the party which was totally fine.  The main challenge at this event is that it was a bit muddy outside so we had to make sure that the children removed all of their shoes before going into the house.  This may have not been the most ideal situation, but the show still went on and that is what the client cared about.  If you have a deck, patio, awning or gazebo you can easily do an outdoor part with coverage.  Some people are even willing to use their garages if needed.  Tents are pretty inexpensive to rent and purchase.  Places like Orchard’s Hardware sells 10 x 10 canopy tents for as little as $99.  You can also ask friends to see if they have one to borrow.

Word of advice though.  Call parents on the day of the party and ask them to pack their kids’ rain gear.  Being a parent myself, I would want to know if you are planning a party outside. If the temperature is warm enough, it won’t hurt your guests to get a little wet. If the temperature is colder, they will be prepared for that.





Setting a Rain-date:

Not many, but some clients will opt to reschedule their event due to the rainy weather.  If your party truly relies on its outdoor setting and a sunny day, you may have no choice but to reschedule. Choose a rain date and add it to the invitation.  Depending on where you are located, you most likely won’t have to use it, but it’s best for guests to know ahead of time what to do in the event of rain. A rain date is also a good way of letting guests know to keep the secondary date free, as well.   If hiring a character company, a bounce house, petting zoo, etc, it is extremely important to find out if you will be billed a fee for rescheduling.




For my client’s Barnyard party, her husband was grilling hotdogs and hamburgers.  Most men are fine standing under an umbrella if needed, but you may want to change your menu selection to something easier if you have a few days warning.