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The Secret to Mastering Winter Event Planning: Preparedness

    Event planning is an art. It’s a demanding profession no matter the season, but especially throughout winter. Winter event planning is just a different ball game. When cold weather hits, it’s crucial to prepare for all types of conditions — because you can’t predict what comes next. Perhaps an unexpected cold front move in, a winter storm warning hits or freezing rain lays down a dangerous sheet of ice, right in time for your event. What’s your move?

    Have a backup plan, or two

    To succeed in winter event planning, you need to plan for it all — especially if you’re holding an outdoor event. Secure an indoor option in the event the weather is intolerable. Consider this situation: you have a plethora of patio heaters set up, but the wind is whipping and temperatures are below freezing. If you don’t have a warmer spot secured as backup, your event might look like a ghost town. Book a few rental tents or have a ballroom reserved nearby so you can pivot quickly if the weather turns.

    Take it a step further with these preparations:

    Know the venue’s limits

    Your event venue might offer a copious amount of help — or maybe it’s all up to you. Understand what they can help with before the contract is signed. If you need more help than they offer, especially in the case of a weather event, choose a venue with an emergency response process in place. Perhaps they’ll take care of snow removal or lay down ice melt to ensure guests’ safety. That’s a major benefit as something you can take off your list.

    Negotiate contracts carefully

    If winter weather could be a factor in your event, approach vendor contracts cautiously. Do so to protect yourself in the event of extreme weather and cancellation. How do you do that? Include language in the contract about what happens if the event is postponed or canceled. Clearly state what percentage of payment the vendor will receive and what their responsibility is for the rescheduled event.

    Lean into the season

    Make your event more enjoyable by leaning into the season instead of fighting it. Put warm food and beverages front and center to comfort guests as soon as they arrive. Consider a welcoming cup of hot cocoa, baked appetizers, hearty soups, marshmallow roasting stations and more.

    Add activities to the mix, too, especially if the event is outdoors. The key to a successful winter event is to keep attendees active and busy so the weather is a nonissue.

    You can do this! Your winter event can be successful when you’re prepared for every scenario. Your local rental store is your best friend when it comes to finding a patio heater for rent, alongside tents of all shapes and sizes. Planners can even rent chafing dishes to keep food piping hot. Locate a rental company near you with our store locator above.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    How much does a patio heater cost per hour?

    Rent a patio heater for an average of $60 per day. You’ll need to factor in operating costs in addition to rental costs, though. Depending on the type of heater you’re renting, whether propane, natural gas or electric, you will pay $0.25 to $3.00 per hour in operating costs. Use those benchmarks for a rough estimate of the cost per hour of renting a patio heater

    What is the best way to heat an outdoor patio?

    Natural gas patio heaters are a great option. They reach a high heat output almost immediately after being turned on. Aside from patio heaters, consider an infrared heater, fire pit or heater lamp.

    How long will a 20-gallon propane tank last on a patio heater?

    A 20-gallon tank will power one patio heater for up to 10 hours.