There is nothing better than being outside with a clear blue sky and the sun on the back of your neck. Most of us live for patio season, and any excuse that we can use to get outdoors, we take it! Many of us would rather be outside enjoying the weather than having a party inside with the AC blowing. And outdoor parties are always the coolest. When dusk turns into evening and candles flicker and some music is playing in the background, well, it really is the best. BUT……if you are planning something that HAS to be outside, and if it will have more people than inside can handle, then you have to plan appropriately. There are a number of elements that are beyond our control when you move things outside and being prepared and having things at the ready will make your event run extra smooth. I list some things to keep in mind below.
The one element that we always think about when planning an event outside is of course, the dreaded rain! Obviously for you this will not happen. You’ve checked the long range forecast and meticulously planned for clear skies, but nevertheless, we do always need to consider it. The checklist below keeps the rain situation in mind but also provides some food for thought on other elements you should think about. The size and scope of your event will really determine the need for some of these elements, however, it’s still good practice to always keep all of this in mind when planning anything outdoors.
- You must consider renting tents to be available for your event. Tents are available in a variety of sizes and price ranges and there would be options for you to set up yourself or for the rental company to do that for you. Do a bit of research and determine what’s the best tent for you. Trust me, even if you don’t ever need it for rain, it will provide other needed elements like shade (which leads into the next point)
- Is there enough natural shading? If not, make sure to have sun umbrellas and/or tents available so that people can get a reprieve from the sun
- Have extra rain umbrellas ready. Put aside a small amount of your budget to purchase some extra umbrellas and just have them around should you need them. We purchased large, golf umbrellas for our bridal party and family for our wedding just in case it rained. We never had to use them (thankfully) but we did have a great umbrella that we used for many years afterward.
- Plan out the area where you want your event to be and make sure that there won’t be any mud if rain falls. Always look for areas that are more flat, have good grass coverage, have patios or stonework. Having access to more solid areas quickly will be a life-saver for your event.
- Have appropriate microphones and sound system ready. With all the natural noises around like bugs, traffic or planes, even the hum from lights, your voices and key moments or speeches will be lost. Amplify them so everyone can hear.
- Consider what your power source options are? If you need to plug in music, microphones or amplifiers, where are the power sources and how many are there?
- Is there a back up space available? Somewhere the event can be held should it rain? Map out your plan of getting there should you need to move quickly.
- How’s the bug situation? Is it the time of year when lots of bugs may be out? Have various natural repellets (like citronella candles) or position the main event area where there will be less attraction for bugs (under a tent, area with subtle wind, away from densely forested areas)
- Where are the bathrooms located and how accessible are they? Do you need a key to unlock them (like in a park) or will the venue have them open?
- Do you need to consider renting portable or temporary bathrooms? Make sure to budget for that expense….very super important!
- Consider how you will keep food and drinks cold and fresh. Is it a place where you can bring your own coolers or will it be at a facility that can keep it in the fridge for you?
You can also have a look at the Venue Checklist as well to get more items. Above all else, as I always say, the more prepared you are, the better you’ll feel and the smoother your event will run. Every event can be ruined by natural occurrences so thinking about options and being prepared will ensure that the only thing that is disrupted is where you have to sit! Enjoy every moment of glorious weather you can get!