Emergency Plan B: Preparing for Rain at Your Outdoor Event

You know the saying “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst”? Well we think rain on the day of your event is the perfect embodiment of that statement.


While planning your big company picnic grill-out or your dream wedding under flowering trees in a garden, it’s easy to forget that your entire day can be drastically transformed by a change in weather, especially in Michigan. We all joke about snow in June, but a part of you knows that there is still a small chance it could happen…

Don’t be left out in the rain. Here are a few tips from our years of experience on how to create a Plan B for Cloudy with a Chance of Percipitation. Best case scenario? You won’t need to use it, but now you’ll have the knowledge.


Tents – It is always good practice to have a tent at any outdoor event, even if you’re hoping to have an all-outdoor event. A tent keeps the food shielded from the wind and sun, it offers guests a place to sit in the shade, and it creates a warm and intimate conversing space.

  • Create 2 different floor plans for the tent: one for rain, one for clear skies. In case of rain it’ll be a snap to move tables and elements of your event under the tent without crowding the space. Was your wedding reception going to take place under a tree? The dance floor under your tent is a great place to exchange nuptials. Also scout out just-in-case spaces if you are utilizing an outdoor grill (garages are always a great alternative to the great outdoors).
  • Always order sides for your tent. This is a great way to block the wind in rain or shine, but it especially helps out with the rain. At an extra price of $200-$400, it’s not a huge expense to ensure your guests stay dry and non wind-whipped. If you’re 100% sure it won’t be raining, you are sometimes able to cancel your tent sides with a few days notice. Extra tip: opt for tent sides with windows, it will give the feel more more space, and you’ll still be able to enjoy your outdoor surroundings.
  • Enjoy your dry ground. Tents are normally set up at least a day in advance, so the ground won’t be soggy from the morning showers, and your guests will be able to enjoy your event with dry feet.


Umbrellas – As a rain shield or a sun accessory, umbrellas are always a thoughtful element to offer your guests to ensure they are comfortable in whatever type of weather you encounter during your event. It’s easy to find them of any size, price, and pattern nowadays.

  • Utilize your Ushers. If the rain is going strong at the beginning of your event, arm your ushers, servers, or good friends with a few umbrellas to meet your guests at their cars and walk them to a covered area. Trust us, your guests won’t forget this extra hospitality.


Bugs – If you have the fortune of seeing the sun come out and the rain recede on your event day, don’t forget that this is when mosquitos and other bugs like to come out. As we like to say “rain stops, mosquitos begin”

  • Fog the day before. There are many easy and inexpensive bug bombs you can utilize, and even if there’s no rain, it’s always good practice to try and rid your event area of as many bugs as possible.
  • Cut your grass before your tent goes in. A well manicured lawn will cut down the amount of bugs hiding in your grass, therefore limiting their access to the all-you-can-eat buffet that is your guests.
  • Offer spray. Before the event assemble a discreetly placed (and attractively put together) basket of multiple bottles of bug spray for your guests to use. We try not to use Citronella candles when possible because the smell can sometimes be overwhelming and negatively interact with the food served.

So fear not when you see that forecast of 80% chance of precipitation on your event day, you  know how to circumvent that obstacle. Now all you have to worry about is making sure the bathrooms are clearly marked…


Spotlight: The Brides Project

On March 12 we had the honor to visit The Brides Project, located on Plymouth Rd in Ann Arbor. It is a Bridal Shop specializing in selling high-quality donated gowns, whose proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor. Their business survives on many donated items (such as amenities, marketing materials, etc) so all of the proceeds from retail sales go directly to the Cancer Support Community.  While there, we asked Jacquie Willis, Special Projects Coordinator for The Brides Project a few questions about the business:
LogoWhat are some brands that you frequently see?  

We currently have 450+ gowns in stock by designers such as Casablanca, Pronovias, Casablanca, Mori Lee, Demetrios and Moonlight just to name a few!


What if you receive a donated dress that is dirty or really outdated?  

The Brides Project has a dedicated committee of volunteers who work to clean gowns that come in and are not quite showroom ready. The volunteers take the gowns home and often spend numerous hours working to clean the gowns by hand or washing them in front loading wash machines whenever possible.  For our most exquisite gowns we rely on our partnership with Janet Davis Cleaners based in Royal Oak to return a couture gowns as close as possible to their  original condition.  Janet Davis Cleaners generously donates their services to The Brides Project.  The Brides Project never says no to any dress! However not all dresses end up being featured in our shop for resale.  Vintage gowns are often purchased by crafters, or stores specializing in such clothing, while some other gowns are reserved for marketing purposes such as window displays, or worn by volunteers and volunteer organizations who will wear the gowns at community based events.

The Bride's Project

A fabric bouquet created by a local artist from some of the more out-dated dresses donated to the shop, available for sale

Since opening in September 2011, we have raised nearly $100,000 through the sale of gowns and accessories.

The Toronto Brides Project graciously allowed us to open our shop using their time-tested model and guidance.  We are independent from one another but strive for the same goals.  We are very grateful to Helen Sweet for allowing us to do what we do here.  If Brides find themselves in the TO area we encourage them to visit them.  They are amazing!

A special story behind one of the shop’s most expensive dresses, a Vera Wang, which we were lucky enough to see in person while we were there:

This Vera Wang is a Light Ivory, strapless, elegant gown with lace organza overlay.  Waistline includes a ribbon sash with a flower detailing on the front.  It has a slim A-line skirt a is layered in beautiful lace and does not have a train but does have simple buttons down the back.  The Vera Wang originally retailed for $13,000.00 and was donated to The Brides Project by a lovely bride from the greater Chicago area who heard about The Brides Project while undergoing cancer treatments at U of M.  The gown was promptly shipped to The Bride’s after the wedding in the fall of 2011 and was carefully cleaned at no charge by Janet Davis Cleaners.  The gown was returned to the project and prominently featured in December of 2011.  A local bride came into the shop in March of 2012 and immediately fell in love with the gown.  That bride was married in August of 2012.  She looked absolutely amazing in the gown and kindly shared numerous pictures with The Brides Project.  By mid fall the gown was lovingly returned to The Brides Project and immediately sent out to Janet Davis Cleaners who once again donated their amazing services and returned the gown back to us so that it may dance yet ANOTHER day!  The gown is currently on hold with a deposit for a lovely bride who was thrilled beyond belief to find such an amazing gown at our shop that will make her day one to truly remember! Furthermore the bride and her family are extremely proud knowing that the proceeds will be going back to The Cancer Support Community of Greater Ann Arbor to help people whose lives have been touched by a diagnosis of Cancer.

Other Notable Items at The Brides Project:


Amsal Kenneth Polle Dress
Purchase Price: $4500 Bride’s Project Price: $1125


David’s Bridal Dress
Purchase Price: $350 Bride’s Project Price: $175


Maggie Potter Dress
Purchase Price: $800 Bride’s Project Price: $375

We are very lucky to have such a great business in our community. Brides-To-Be: this is a wonderful way to get ready for your big day, while supporting a great cause. Past-Brides: This is a great way to clear up some closet space and donate to a great cause.
For more information about The Brides Project, visit their website here, and their Facebook page here.

Event Invitations

Birthdays. Grand Openings. Corporate Getaways. Weddings. Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Baby Showers. Holiday Parties. Just Because It’s Saturday. Whatever the celebration, you need to get the word out to your future guests. While various online groups, message boards, and email have taken the reins as the modern-day party invitation vessel, there is always something substantial and romantic about a hardcopy paper invitation.

Here are some great invitation examples we’ve come across for various celebrations (you can click on each picture to be taken to it’s original site)

Graduation Celebrations




Children’s Birthday Party Invitations




Wedding Invitations





Just Because





While Pinterest has become a great resource for searching and inspiration for invitations (and anything else you could possibly think of for events!), we are more than happy to work with you to create an invitation for your event, or help you find the perfect place to get them made.

{ A few local Ann Arbor places to get started }

Rock Paper Scissors


The Write Touch

Paper Station