The Wedding Troubleshooter: Rain stops play

Events planner Joan Summerfield recalls how she averted disaster when an unexpected downpour threatened to ruin the bride and groom's special day.

Bride and groom pose under rain clouds [illustrative] (photo credit: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)
Bride and groom pose under rain clouds [illustrative]
(photo credit: REUTERS/Gary Hershorn)
One of the big advantages of having a wedding in Israel is that the weather is very predictable - most of the time!
It's fairly certain that no rain will fall between the middle of May and October, June being the optimum month, when the sun shines, the temperature is not too hot, and the humidity very low.
Having a huppa outside in one of the many beautiful banqueting gardens is a very memorable experience - whether its by the sea, in a forest, or overlooking a lake.
However, there is always the chance of the unexpected, and having an alternative plan is not just a good idea, but a necessity.
One of my clients from America chose the beginning of May for her wedding,taking her family's commitments into consideration. She realized she wastaking a chance with the weather when she decided on a gorgeous garden inthe north of Israel, which had no indoor facilities.
We checked and double-checked the weather forecast in the week preceding the wedding and were relieved that no rain was predicted.
The day before the wedding, I received a phone call from the owners of the garden, asking if I thought we should order a covering for the area where the dinner and dancing would take place.
Although no rain was forecast for the next day, and being unable to contact the family, I made an executive decision to order the canopy. It wouldn't spoil the view, and was a good option in case of inclement weather.
On the morning of the wedding, there was not a cloud in the sky, the sun shone and the temperature was just perfect.
The huppa was held in the late afternoon, with a backdrop of blossoming borganias, and the reception was held amongst the trees of the garden. I wondered if I had made a mistake in ordering the canopy, even though it was fairly unobtrusive.
However, just as the reception was ending, I felt a few drops of rain, and noticed rain clouds gathering overhead.
The guests had started entering the dining area, when the rain became heavier and heavier, eventually turning into a deluge, complete with hailstones.
Luckily, all of the guests were by then under the protection of the canopy but, as the rain increased, and the wind blew furiously, the electricity failed.
The DJ's equipment was ruined by the rain, the lights went out, and the waiters unable to go to the kitchen and bring out the food.
I then had to make some very quick decisions. Fortunately, along with the DJ, we had hired two musicians, a guitar player and a saxophonist. As the DJ had to wait for alternative equipment to arrive, I requested the musicians to improvise and to play some lively music.
The guests responded with great amusement, and started singing and dancing around the - by then - soaked tables. Umbrellas were obtained from the offices of the garden, necessary for guests who needed the toilets, which were situated outside the vicinity of the canopy.
At some point, the rain was so heavy, there was even a danger of the canopy collapsing, but the waiters managed to dislodge the rain that had accumulated on the roof.
By then, we had managed to rig some sort of protection over the pathway leading to the kitchen, in order for the waiters to bring the food.
Tables were moved away from the edge, wet tablecloths quickly replaced, electricity restored, alternative equipment arrived for the DJ, and the food was eventually served.
In spite of the rain - or maybe because of it - the atmosphere was electric.  Everyone was having a wonderful time, and no-one wanted to stop dancing.
By the end of the evening, the bottom of the bride's gorgeous wedding dresswas soaked and dirty - but she and the groom said the wedding was fantasticand beyond their wildest dreams
I was congratulated on remaining so calm - but I was so relieved that I hadordered the canopy - the alternative was unthinkable.
Joan Summerfield is an experienced events planner.