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Rain planning creates successful wedding

Project Briefs | August 1, 2008 | By:

A well-developed rain plan comes in handy for this Minnesota wedding.

Multiple meetings, repeated site visits and hours spent on the phone going over details are some of the least glamorous aspects of throwing a large wedding. But the best rental people and planners know that elaborate preparation is the key to any event’s success, especially when tents are involved. Last-minute hassles that arise—for example, from heavy hanging decorations or threatening weather—are much easier to solve when they’ve been thought about in advance.

On the Saturday of the wedding, the florist’s team sat in the center of the reception tent and built the immense floral chandelier, complete with amber LEDs and romantic garlands. When florist Martha Lunde and Lynn Oehler, the mother of the bride, first came up with the chandelier concept, they knew that weight would be a problem. The chandelier’s designer, an acquaintance of Lunde’s who does work for the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis, incorporated aluminum that looks like wrought iron to lighten the piece. Lunde says Jim Bach, Apres Party & Tent Rental, helped out by designing a pulley system that would help the team raise the chandelier to the tent’s ceiling.

Despite careful planning for weight, the team discovered after building it that the finished product was too heavy. “The chandelier was heavier than we thought,” Bach says. “We couldn’t even lift the thing.” The event team was worried that removing lights would affect the chandelier’s visual impact, but they had no reason to worry. “It still looked great,” Bach says.

Aside from the planned 80-by-70-foot reception tent, the couple didn’t really want extra tents. Local forecasts indicated scattered showers and thunderstorms for the day of the wedding, so they decided to go ahead with walkway canopies and a ceremony tent at the last minute. That Saturday, ominous clouds rumbled through periodically, and all the deliberations about the complicated rain plan paid off in the end. There were some showers, but the canopies and tenting system allowed guests to go between tents on the varied property without worry.

Oehler says she was pleased with the result. Bach and his team stayed on-site during the wedding, and it’s a good thing they did. Sidewalls went up, came down, went up again, and came down again. Misting rain made the sidewalls necessary at some points, but nicer weather—and no room for air conditioning—meant that the walls had to come down at other points. Oehler says Bach and his team sprung into action with the sidewalls—and did so “with grace and good humor.”

Proper rain planning meant that the event was a success overall. “That’s why people put tents up,” Bach says. The uncertainty the Oehlers were dealing with is typical of Minnesota weather, he says. “If you plan accordingly, you’re fine—but if you don’t, you’ll be put through the ringer. It was worth every penny because they couldn’t risk not having it done.”

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