You'd Never Believe This Gorgeous Day Was Their Backup Rain Plan
July 13, 2016
Al FrescoWeddings in WineriesOutdoor Weddings
No Bride dreams of rain on her wedding day, even if it is supposed to be a sign of good luck. And, unfortunately, as David Pressman Events LLC says "wedding designers and planners can’t control weather." So, when the forecast called for rain, this amazing team of vendors (including Bob Gail Special Events, Premiere Party Rents, Images by LightingLilla Bellocopper willow paper studioContemporary Catering and Event Production and The Butter End Cakery) came together to make sure Plan B was as spectacular as could be. See it all from Next Exit Photography and Film Foto Fusion in The Vault!
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From David Pressman Events... The last several shots (in the Vault gallery) are from my iPhone during the set-up which happened during those freak thunderstorms last May and are great fun because they show the blank canvas of the Garden lawn at Saddlerock and the various stages of the main tent going up as the weather turned against us.

The chances of rain in Southern California in mid-May average about 9% as the month starts and taper off to about 5% by the end of the month, so it’s pretty safe to plan an outdoor wedding without much worry. But any good Wedding Planner will be checking weather reports at least a month before an outdoor wedding after already having studied rain averages for previous years months and months before the actual wedding date. So regardless of what month your client wants their outdoor wedding & depending on where in the greater LA area (because it can be raining in West Hollywood and blue skies in Malibu), communicating with them regularly about the chances of rain is so important. Since Wedding Designers and Planners can’t control weather - despite what some clients may expect - a rain plan is always something to have in your back pocket, especially with the kooky weather here in SoCA. And even then, we can’t really get a handle on what is forecast until ten days out and then, like most of my colleagues, I will check as many different weather forecasts as possible literally every hour and more the closer we are to the actual start of installing a wedding.

No client wants to hear that rain is forecast the week of their wedding. And no Wedding Planner wants to tell them, but managing expectations is a huge part of our job along with being completely honest about what the options are so that months of design work and planning aren’t tossed aside at the last minute. Hence the rain plan. And this wedding had many moving parts, from shuttling the guests on arrival at the Vineyard to the ceremony site at the beautiful Chateau Le Dome (accessible only via a windy and bumpy gravel road) with Million Dollar views, to then shuttling all 150 guests to Camp Cabernet, about a 5 minute drive away on the property and equally difficult to access by any vehicle larger than the Vineyard shuttle, especially if the roads and grounds were going to be wet.

So with a smile on my face I went to see my clients at their home in West Hollywood, where they have a home in addition to their primary residence in Hong Kong, where they had arrived from just days before. And with family and guests already arriving from around the world, they really didn’t want to believe that it would rain on their wedding day and I couldn’t blame them one bit. I had worked closely with the owner of Premiere Party Rents - a trusted colleague who was suppling not just the tables, chairs, china, glassware and a variety of furniture and other items, but also building an onsite kitchen for our caterer, Contemporary Catering, to prepare the food for Cocktail Hour and a sit-down multi-course dinner for 150 guests - to prepare a rain plan for both locations that wouldn’t send the budget into the stratosphere. And I was also prepared with a suggestion to move Cocktail Hour and everything else to a different location at the Vineyard, the beautiful Garden area immediately adjacent to the home of Saddlerock’s owner, Ron Semler. In fact I had already negotiated a heavily discounted rate for this last minute switch, with his blessing, because he knew it was going to rain and that the rain, anytime during the week of the wedding, would be potentially dangerous for not just the wedding guests but also for his employees and all of the vendors who were involved with helping to create the magical wedding the bride had trusted me to design. The new location was easier for everything involved and also on a flatter and far more majestic setting that also boasted the presence of Stanley, Saddlerock’s resident giraffe.

I also had lined up two new vendors that would be instrumental in making all of this happen, Images by Lighting to install over a thousand feet of string lighting for inside the 50’ x 135’ clear top tent, along with pathway lighting for multiple areas outside the tent, and Mike Shauger and his Designing Life team to drape & swag the interior of the tent along with creating a fabric wall that would be drawn back to reveal the dinner and dancing area after guests finished Cocktail Hour.

All of this was happening on Tuesday with guests prepared to arrive at Saddlerock that Friday afternoon come rain or shine. My clients had lots of questions, as well they should have, as we talked about the options of not implementing the rain plan, staying with their original location for everything after the ceremony, or moving everything, including the ceremony to the sprawling lawns by the Main House. Chateau Le Dome is truly a beautiful spot for a ceremony and my clients had fallen in love with it the year before and decided that even if it rained on that Friday, they didn’t want to give up the intimate setting and incredible views that their guests would enjoy. With a short ceremony planned, the thought of a little rain (and lots of umbrella’s if needed) was perfectly acceptable and for many a sign of good luck. Understanding how much easier it would be to move to the new site, they gave me the go ahead to make the changes needed and put the rain plan into effect.

I found a wonderful vendor in Denver, Splendor For Your Guests, who was able to overnight boxes of white 16-panel umbrella’s to have on hand for the wedding party (many of whom had relocated to a rented home in Malibu where other events were planned), the wedding rehearsal and of course the guests on the wedding day. Tents were loaded onto Premiere's trucks almost immediately (Sandy, Premiere's owner, was literally got ten phone calls that day from Planners with weddings scheduled for that weekend) for installation to begin Wednesday morning, Mike from Designing Life went to downtown LA to purchase fabric for the tent interior. By Wednesday morning, after speaking with the Photographer, the Caterer and the company supplying a String Trio for the ceremony, a Jazz Quintet for cocktails and a full band for dancing, I was able to reach out to all of the vendors with a new layout that took into account how I wanted to divide the tent, where the stage & dance floor would go and how the bar would help divide the area along with a new timeline for installation and delivery of everything from flowers and furniture to candles and the custom made cake that incorporated the clients' pets, Bernard the bunny and their dog Indy, with a few added surprises.

As the tents began to go up Wednesday morning it started to rain lightly, and fortunately the rain held off long enough for Premiere Party Rents to get the 50’ x 135’ tent up moments before the skies just opened and it began to pour for hours.

To their credit, the clients were calm and trusted me completely that I would deliver on my promise that everything they wanted and had planned for would be perfect inside the tent. And on Thursday, as it rained on and off, we were able to get the kitchen set up, the lighting installed and the tent draping completed as tables and chairs were put in place as the entire team worked well into the night.

And while the wedding rehearsal was a bit wet, the bridal party was in high spirits and didn’t let the rain dampen any of the celebratory activities that were planned before the wedding day.

Friday morning greeted us with grey skies and the threat of more rain. But as the bridesmaids were getting their hair and makeup done, the sky slowly began to change colors. And just a few hours before guests were to arrive at Saddlerock, we were able to remove the plastic sheets that had been covering the ceremony chairs at Chateau Le Dome and the Lilla Bello team was able to complete the installation of florals for the ceremony while Contemporary Catering was able to set up for pre-ceremony beverages and added tray passed hors d’oeuvre’s for post-ceremony to keep guests occupied while the shuttles would transport them in groups to the Main House area for Cocktail Hour and the rest of the evening.

As the Bride and her father made their way from the Chateau to the rose bush lined ceremony site for the ceremony, the final clouds mixed with a picture perfect beautiful blue sky and the groom was heard to say that it was his beautiful wife-to-be that had brought the sun out for their wedding day…

Not a drop of rain fell after morning, and as the afternoon turned into magic hour and then to night, this beautifully lit and decorated tent - with string lights above, pillar candles on the tables & bars and fabric fluttering in the breeze - looked as if it had always been planned. With everyone dancing the night away no one ever remembered the rain that had stopped falling that very morning.

Without clients who understood the importance of implementing the rain plan and a truly great team to make it all happen, this story would have had a far different ending.

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