I have never been to a wedding with an outdoor ceremony.
The ones I’ve seen on television and in the movies, the weather is always perfect. The ceremony usually takes place on a tropical island or other sunny, weather-predictable location.
My niece and her fiancée decided to have an outdoor wedding in northern Michigan in October. The ceremony and reception were at a golf and ski resort. The setting was the top of the ski hill overlooking miles of fall colors in full force. They probably knew they were rolling the dice when it came to weather. I mean, it can snow up there this time of year.
When we arrived on Friday, it was raining. Saturday morning, the day of the ceremony, it continued to rain but forecasts called for clearing by midday, with no more rain expected for the rest of the evening. My niece is an engineer and a stickler for details, so she had contingencies for everything, including an indoor option in the event of more rain.
Being in the trade show and event industry for more years than I care to admit, I politely asked if there were any loose ends I could take care of. By habit, I just wanted to make sure she had all of her bases covered. I told her I could jump in anywhere needed (except to pick up the bar bill).
She thanked me and said everything was covered. Like clockwork, two hours before the wedding was about to begin, the rain stopped.
Right around then, the husband-to-be instructed the groomsmen, armed with towels, to start drying off the chairs. My son, who has been in the hospitality and trade show industry for 7+ years (including for a wedding caterer for a few summers), was standing with me overlooking the scene.
“It’s too soon,” he said.
“Too soon for what?” I asked.
“Too soon to dry off the chairs. Those vinyl seats will pick up any moisture in the air and be just as wet in another five minutes.”
I was impressed with his observation. He’s worked his share of outdoor weddings and probably has seen just about everything.
“What do we do?” I asked.
“Wait,” he smiled.
Twenty minutes before the ceremony, both of us started wiping down the chairs again with new towels we retrieved from the resort’s event planner. We finished five minutes before the ceremony was about to begin. The seats were dry and ready for all the invited guests.
The rest of the ceremony and the evening went well. There were lots of moving parts, least of which were the rain and wet chairs. Experienced observation, though, taking care of the little things and attention to detail made it all come together. My niece and her new husband did an exceptional job. I was also particularly proud of my son for having the heads-up to keep everyone’s back end dry and comfortable. He reminded me of the difference between being an experienced industry professional as opposed to a casual observer. Missing the one detail that would be overlooked by those less experienced, could have resulted in a disaster.
Experience and the attention to detail go a long way, whether you’re talking about planning a wedding, a home improvement project or even a trade show.
At Prairie, we ask a lot of questions. We’re not just being nosy - we take being industry professionals seriously. We want to make sure your display properties or graphic updates arrive when and where they’re supposed to, and looking good. Like my niece’s wedding, we are on your side of the aisle.
Never underestimate the importance and comfort of sitting on a dry chair. Maybe we should include dry towels along with the instructions.