We all know how unpredictable the weather in Seattle can be, especially during late-summer and early fall. It’s as likely to be rainy as it is to be delightfully warm. And while we never hope for inclement weather when we’re planning an outdoor shindig, Mother Nature has a funny way of throwing a wrinkle in our plans.
But with the right planning, even a chilly, rainy night doesn’t have to drive you and your friends indoors. In fact, you might find that a bit of changing skies adds a little mood to your evening.
The following questions and tips can help you decide if throwing an outdoor party is a good idea and how to keep the patio a warm and inviting space no matter what happens.
How Cold is too Cold?
Temperature is always an issue. Generally speaking, when the temperature drops below 65 degrees guest-comfort can become a concern. It’s a good idea to consider who’s on your guest list and how well you know them? Elderly individuals, for example, have more difficulty dealing with lower temps.
Also, do you feel comfortable politely encouraging your guests to wear warmer clothes or bring a jacket? You might find it’s fun to turn the ‘jacket’ onto the theme of the party. For instance, you might invite guests to see “who has the best bomber coat” or “who has the best throw-back 80’s outdoor gear”.
Can You Warm up the Space?
In addition to inviting guests to bring a coat, consider ways you can warm up your outdoor space. For instance, an outdoor heater or fire pit can be a game-changer. Not only do these two outdoor features bring heat, they deliver ambiance. They also act like gathering hubs, as guests naturally gravitate towards them — helping everyone get to know one another better.
What Will You Do If It Rains?
Let’s not beat around the bush. Seattle is known as a rainy city for a reason. Sometimes it comes in a light drizzle and other times it comes in a torrential downpour. Either way, when it rains, it rains. And very few people like to mix and mingle while their wet.
If you think there’s a chance of rain, you’ll want to have a way for folks to stay dry. This could mean having an alternative indoor venue. But the name of this game is to enjoy your outdoor space. So in that vein, you might want to consider renting a tent. A large, clear tent can allow everyone to stay outdoors without getting wet. Plus, it’s a pretty neat thing to watch and hear the rain come down around you without feeling like drowned rat.
Serve Warm Drinks
Another good way to help you and your guests stay warm is by giving them something warm — like a warm drink. This could be anything from coffee and hot chocolate to a warm cocktail. It doesn’t have to be fancy. But it is best if it’s served in a cup they can easily wrap their hands around — as that’s part of the fun and function of a hot drink.
Have Comfy Seats
Another downfall of cold weather is that it quickly turns traditional outdoor furniture into cold ice blocks. Luckily this can be solved with the simple addition of plush cushions and pillows. If you plan on giving your guests a place to sit down, make sure its outfitted with some sort of comfortable, protective layer.
And, make sure that protective layer is dry. If it’s rained recently, make sure to move your cushions to a warm, dray space where they can dry out thoroughly before the party. No one wants to sit down only to realize their behind is no soaking wet.
Light up the Space
Take stock of how much light your patio has. While lights won’t generally warm up a space physically, they will definitely warm is up visually. And, perception is half the battle!
Consider the soft, natural glow of candles for an ultra-inviting touch. Outdoor solar lanterns are a fun and functional way to bring light to your space. Outdoor string lights are another good way to soften the look of a night-time vent and make it feel more intimate.