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Embracing Plan B

S.D.J. Peterson said "Carefully laid plans aren't always the best. Somtimes, Plan B is the real dream come true."

Many event planners would vehemently disagree with this statement. My colleagues and I spend so much time planning every tiny detail that it can often be frustrating to hit a snag. But, if we're honest, most event planners will let you know that Plan B is always part of a good Plan A. If we have a contingency in place for the things that are LIKELY to go wrong, our day-of event stress levels are drastically decreased. So here are a few Plan B ideas that this Event Diva always writes into her Plan A.

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

Weather is always a concern for an outdoor event. If you don't have a Plan B for your alfresco fete, you're setting yourself up for disaster. This one has DIY brides on the edge of their seats for weeks prior to The Big Day. You want everything to be absolutely perfect and who could blame you? If there are storm clouds threatening your day, assume the lotus position, close your eyes, and take a deep breath. Now repeat after me... "Trash the Dress is in. Trash the Dress is in."

Rainy Day Plan B means you have baskets of white umbrellas and cheap flip flops on hand for guests. Remember that umbrellas are super romantic and rainy day weddings make the absolute BEST pictures. Trash the Dress photo shoots are so chic right now! Think of all the money you'll save! You don't have to do a second photo shoot! Say "I do" and start stomping in the puddles (make sure your photog gets it on film).

All outdoor weddings have some indoor reception space or a tent. Your guests will have a place to get out of rain, you've provided them with umbrellas, and way to dry their feet, now they will all be looking to you to tell them how the rest of the event will go. So, start dancing!

Please Sir, May I Have Some More?

No one wants their caterer to run out of food and no one wants pans of food left over at the end of the night. Uncle Bill will eat three plates food, but Jan from reception acts like the world will stop spinning on its axis if she eats more that two Saltines a day. How do you plan for guests like these? You know that it's never a good idea to low-ball your caterer. You've given them your best estimation of guest attendance and you know that they plan to bring a bit extra. But what happens if Uncle Bill brings his nine sons along (Suprise! You don't mind, right?) and you see the food supplies start to deplete?

Here's where prior planning is going to save you. Before the event, designate someone you absolutely trust to handle a run to the store should your food situaltion turn grim. You DO NOT... I repeat - YOU DO NOT NEED TO BUY A TON OF FOOD. At this point, your food budget has been busted. It's gone. "What am I supposed to do?" you ask. "Buy a few packs of Oreos and throw them on the buffet?" Weeellll.... yeah.

Hopefully, you've run out of food at the point in the evening when everyone has already had at least a bit of something more substantial to eat. You can totally get away with going sweet. Cookies and milk are a wonderfully trendy, ridiculously budget-friendly buffet filler. A few gallons of milk, some shot glass, and ten packs of ChipsAHoy will earn rave reviews from your guests. The trick to this treat is all in the simple, clean presentation.

If you're lucky enough to be near a specialty donut place that's open, there's no better visual than several dozen assorted flavors.

Play A Song For Me

You got referals for your band, so you know they're reliable. So, where the heck ARE they? Hey, things happen. Who knows why the band you booked, The Procrastinators, are late? They were supposed to bring sound. You were going to use their mics for your speeches.

Don't sweat it. You're covered. Your Plan B was part of your Plan A. You spent $100 at Wal-Mart and bought a couple of speakers and mic. They have plug-ins for your iPod and you've pre-loaded your playlist. Weren't you smart?

You Don't Have To Go Home, But You Can't Stay Here

Your guests are a late-night crowd. They love to party and they don't seem to want to go home. Guest who don't want to leave can be an annoyance, but they are also a testament to your event planning chops. They're just having too much fun! Here's where you have a choice: Turn on the lights, cut off the bars, and shut the band down (they can take a hint, right?) OR you make Plan B part of your Plan A.

Prior to your event, call your vendors and ask them the cost per hour of extending your event. You'll need to contact your venue, the band, and possibly your event planner if they provided you with linens and centerpieces. Once you are armed with the financial details of extending your event, you'll be able to make an on-the-spot decision about keeping the party going!

The Best Laid Plans...

Every Plan A is made in a "Perfect World" scenario. Even thinking about the things that could go wrong can be stressful. The thing to remember is that having a Plan B is really about having peace mind.

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