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    How to weather the storm

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    The unpredictable British weather can play havoc with outdoor events. Amy Braund, sales and event manager at the Bingham, reveals her tips on how to combat its unreliable behaviour and why you shouldn’t let the weather hold your event back.

    Love it or hate it, the British are known as a nation of weatherobsessives among their continental counterparts. With days that may be cloudy, sunny or snowy, we know that us Brits do have a slight obsession with our temperamental weather

    It’s not as bad as it seems though, as it only rains in London for just under a third of the year. This is less than the average rainfall of Sydney, Miami and New York. Nevertheless, when you’ve spent days, weeks or months planning a spectacular event with outdoor activities, why should you still be at the mercy of the great British weather?

    Firstly, wet-weather contingency has to feature in the planning process and making sure you have a back-up option if ‘rain stops play’. On the bright side, 70 per cent of the time it doesn’t so there’s a more than healthy chance you won’t need to put your plan B into action.

    When you find a venue that meets all your requirements in terms of location, capacity and has the right facilities, talk to them about the weather-what-ifs. Share your itinerary and see if they can help with finding solutions that keep your attendees engaged.

    “When you find a venue that meets all your requirements in terms of location, capacity and has the right facilities, talk to them about the weather-what-ifs.”

    If you’re planning outdoor activities as part of the event, find ones that aren’t entirely dependent on blue skies and sunny weather. Then map out the attendees’ journey and route through these activities and think how comfortable and safe they’ll be in different weather conditions. It’s not too difficult to lay your hands on a garden gazebo to provide a bit of shelter from the showers or to offer branded blankets and shawls as give-aways. It’s only when it’s coming down hard and fast, that you might have to relocate indoors.

    While topics like health and safety are key in event planning, so is keeping a bountiful source of food, drink and water. Plan enough food to keep your attendees nourished and motivated to transition through the next phases of activities or sessions. It’s an aspect of event planning that inspires the most feedback from delegates. Most food and snacks can be tailored to the weather so you can have hot chocolate on standby in the cold and healthy smoothies for a blissful bright day, while barbecues can be served all year round.

    Communication is key. Not just limited to your attendees or on-site personnel, but consider the venue, suppliers and partners as part of your extended team who may be attending your event or may be affected by changes to your soirée. Keep your eye on the weather forecast right up to the day and effect any last minute, real-time changes if you so require.

    There’s no point in stressing over the weather, which is out of your control and certainly don’t let the weather hold your event back. With meticulous planning, your function could smoulder and sizzle rather than being rained off with drizzle.

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    Jade Burke

    Jade Burke, Editor for PA Life

    All stories by: Jade Burke