On the fly

I have been trying to think of a way to document an event we just wrapped up at the end of July. It was challenging and fun all wrapped up in to a big ball of expectations. At the start of summer we met with a regular client who was doing an off site event for a couple. This event was to be just the start of their wedding weekend, a rehearsal dinner for friends and family who had travelled in for the event.

They wanted to capture the feel of a vintage farmhouse so I spent some time putting together an inspiration board. It is great when the client is open to ideas and isn’t sure what may be possible. The one thing they wanted was for it to be outside at the parents of the groom’s house. Sounds easy enough.

We all met and did the site walk through about 3 weeks before the event and chatted about some of the cool things we were doing from the Edison light bulbs in the tent to rustic harvest tables and bars. Everything was coming together.

The final approval of the proposal came about 10 days before the event, not to worry, calls were made, deposits given, and everything remained on track and moving right along.

The great thing about outdoor events is that they add character and nature, and they have a relaxed and fun feeling. The bad thing about outdoor events is that they take place outside. You are at the mercy of the weather. Needless to say we started checking the weather on the Monday, in Ottawa the forecast really doesn’t mean much as the weather can change in a heart beat.

The tent is scheduled to be installed on the Wednesday morning. I wake up to a torrential downpour and a text from the event manager to see if we can push the install to the event day. The forecast for the next 3 days was not good. Those little lightning bolts and clouds are not symbols for Care Bears and My Little Ponies. We spent the morning doing site visits at other possible indoor locations if we couldn’t go ahead with the outside event.


Besides potentially changing the location from outside to inside, we now have to consider that we may have to change some of the décor and add to it to make a farmhouse come alive inside a meeting room. My anxiety level shot up. Everyone is very calm and easy going but there is an underlying level of expectations that we have to deliver. We decide we will make the decision for location at 8am event day. My instinct is that we move it and plan accordingly. But I agree to wait and see.

Even if it gets nice, because of the downpour everything will be damp. When you put the tent on the wet grass, and with the humidity at 90% it isn’t going to be a comfortable outdoor space. There wasn’t really an indoor space onsite where they could move if the weather changed yet again.

Thursday morning arrives with thunder and rain, just before 8am we decide we are going with plan B and move everything to a new venue. I’m on the phone cancelling the tent two hours before it is to be installed. All the deliveries are shifted and thankfully I had the help from a great colleague who was free for the day and jumped in to help me get it done.

We spent over 5 hours draping lights, bringing in hay bails and wagon wheels and babies breath to make a lovely banquet room take on the feel of a rustic farmhouse. I had some serious doubts about pulling it together, at one point while sitting on the floor making a foot rest out of hay I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. Pushing aside the nagging self-doubt I kept working away and despite the hours it took, I think we put out a good product and they had one heck of a rehearsal dinner. With teamwork and flexibility, and if you simply refuse to take no for an answer despite what your inside voice is saying, you can make sh*t happen.

Bringing the outside in Custom bar for a signature drink An entrance to set the tone



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