While outdoor events can be executed perfectly all year round (with proper planning, of course), summer and fall are generally the seasons boasting temperatures that make outside soirees ideal.
But while a setting sun backdrop, warm breeze, and expansive space are hard to replicate indoors, hosting events outdoors brings with it a whole new set of challenges. Luckily, we’ve got a handy checklist that’ll help make sure you and your events team have all bases covered, so you can host an outdoor event with success.
☑ Have a bad-weather backup
Weather is only so predictable — to put both you and your client’s mind at ease, it’s always a good practice to have an indoor or covered space that you can move the party to in the event that unforeseen weather or other circumstances deem your outdoor area unfit for an event.
☑ Make directions clear
You don’t want your client’s guests to be asking, “Where’s the bathroom?” or “How do I get back to the parking lot from here?” all night long. Make restrooms, exits and walkways clear by posting signage for directions and battery-powered lighting to guide people along pathways and sidewalks.
☑ Offer ample power sources
A power surge can be a disaster for an event — it turns a fun time into “party’s over” in a flash. Avoid a potential power outage by not having all extension cords sourced into one outlet or one room, if possible, and consider offering power drop boxes that eliminate tangles of cords everywhere.
☑ Include seasonally minded accessories
If the temperature is due to drop after the sun sets on an evening’s event, consider having stacks of light blankets or small mobile fire pits around for guests to get warm. If things are extra toasty outside, a few plug-in fans will do wonders for cooling.
☑ Prepare space ahead of time
If you’re looking to keep bugs at bay, it’s wise to schedule someone to come spray around the area a week or so in advance of the event. For a chic day-of option, you can have a few bug spray bottles on hand, and even line the outdoor space with tiki torches for a fun look that’ll also keep critters out — just keep them far from tents or anything potentially flammable.
☑ Know the rules and ordinances
Unsure of the crowd or noise ordinances for your area? You may want to check in with your local PD or fire department to be familiar with fire and safety codes, or to see if an outside DJ needs to quiet down by a certain time.
☑ Don’t forget shade and water
No matter the temperature, sunny outdoor events can have guests sweating. Offering a shady area attendees can retreat to, along with plenty of water on hand in bottles, cups or pitchers will help keep everyone cool. (The last thing you want is someone overheating or fainting at your venue!)
☑ Source outdoor-friendly menu options
Food that spoils quickly, especially in warm temps, can turn a successful event into a dud. Opt for things like crudite, tacos, and crostinis that are easy to eat and don’t have to be super hot or cold. If the staff has the capability, try not to bring all dishes out at once, so everything being served is as fresh as possible.
☑ Embrace your space — and have fun with it!
Outdoor events have a slew of customization options, from bubbles and sparklers to lawn games and live entertainment. Play up the outside aspect of your space — and don’t forget to have fun!