You’ve heard the saying, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade.” What do you do when life hands you snow? Make snow cream?
As I write this first post of 2017, I am looking out my window into a winter wonderland, coupled with frigid temperatures. I can’t help but think of all the events taking place at conference centers located near my home. Some events have been canceled; others decided to brave the weather.
As an event planner, there are many things you can control—weather is not one of them. Rather than throwing up your hands in despair at impending (and often inconvenient) weather, think of ways you can embrace it and even incorporate it in your event.
Here a few ways you can add to a guest’s experience in the midst of snow:
- Place hand warmers (the kind that fit in your gloves or pockets) in registration packets guests receive upon arrival. You could also pass these out at the door as guests leave a large group session.
- If you have extra staff or volunteers, clear the snowy windshields of guests prior to the last session.
- Set up a hot chocolate bar for guests to enjoy during the evening. Include hot chocolate and toppings such as whipped cream, marshmallows, syrups, chocolate candies, and sprinkles. (For an added twist, serve up a hot chocolate float—add a few scoops of ice cream to your hot chocolate. It’s hard to describe the goodness of such a treat, but I would definitely recommend trying it, if only for a tasty treat for yourself!)
- Host fireside chats in the evenings. If your lobbies or other meeting spaces have fireplaces, light a fire and invite speakers, worship leaders, or workshop teachers to spend a candid time with your guests. Ask them to share on a more personal level and give guests the opportunity to ask questions. Sometimes, some of your best moments can be in the relaxed, non-structured conversations that take place throughout your event.
- Most importantly, make sure the walkways are cleared of ice and snow. If you must, grab a shovel and do it yourself.
- If many guests have to cancel, yet your event is still taking place, consider recording the large group sessions and uploading them for later viewing.
While inclement weather can be an inconvenience and may even lead to canceling an event, there are ways you can adapt your program to incorporate its challenges. And, if you’re all out of ideas and there is fresh snow on the ground, grab some vanilla, sugar, and milk and have a snow cream party!