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Things to Consider When Planning an Outdoor Event

an outdoor wedding in the distance at The 228 in Sterling

Hosting an outdoor event can be more complicated than hosting an indoor event. However, taking care of certain tasks before the event will make it more likely everything will go smoothly. Read on for things to consider when planning an outdoor event.

Type of Event

Some events are more suited to an outdoor venue than others. For example, events that require people to use electronic devices may better suit an indoor location. You need plenty of outlets and heat and air conditioning so the temperature will be at a comfortable level. Consider all aspects of the events. Think about whether being outdoors will be problematic for one or more aspects before planning an outdoor event.

The Event Budget

Before getting too far into the planning an outdoor event, decide on your budget. This will make it clear which venues are appropriate and whether an outdoor event will be suitable. Remember, with an outdoor venue, you may need to supply more amenities than with an indoor venue. You must take these expenses into account. Compare prices between all-inclusive outdoor venues and those where you need to provide everything.

Availability of an Appropriate Venue

Figure out what you need from your event venue, and then search for suitable alternatives. It may take research to find just the right venue. Look for a convenient venue for guests without a lot of traffic noise.

Legal Issues

Check whether you need any permits to hold your event. Apply for any permits right away. Check out local ordinances for safety, fire codes, and noise to make sure you keep the event legal.

Necessary Equipment

As with any event, you’ll need some equipment to pull off your outdoor event. If the event is in the evening, you’ll need lighting for all the walkways and parking lots. You’ll most likely need a sound system and other electrical equipment. Anything requiring power will need outlets with extension cords or to a portable generator. Make sure that the venue has enough outlets to handle the electrical needs when planning an outdoor event.

Backup Plan for Bad Weather

You don’t want your event ruined by rain or snow. Have a backup plan in case the weather doesn’t cooperate. This could mean moving into an indoor location or using tents so everyone can get under cover. Keep in mind that rain and snow aren’t the only weather conditions. Prepare for wind and fasten down the tents and any other loose items so they won’t blow away. Sometimes, you may arrange for a rain date postponement.

Communications During the Event

Check to make sure that event staff will be able to communicate during the event. This could mean using walkie-talkies if the cell phone service from one network or another is spotty. If WiFi is not reliable, consider bringing in a portable hotspot.

Plan Ahead

Use venue photos and sketches to plan out where to place everything at the event to make setup easier. This includes locating items that need outlets so the extension cords won’t be a tripping hazard for guests. Leave plenty of time before the event for set up. Make plans for the cleaning of the event space after the event. Leave time for that in the schedule.

Provide Advance Notice

Inform guests ahead of time about the conditions of the outdoor location. Tell them about the expected weather, appropriate clothing, what to bring, and any other important information. Women will appreciate knowing if the ground conditions aren’t suitable for wearing high heels.

Keep the Guests Comfortable

Make sure there’s seating for people. They won’t want to stand throughout the event, especially if they are elderly. Provide at least two portable toilets per 100 guests if no nearby indoor bathroom is available. Have fans or heaters available, depending on the time of year. Offer bug spray, hand sanitizer, and sunscreen for warm weather events and blankets for cold weather events. Make sure there’s plenty of food and water for everyone.

Parking and Traffic Control

Check to see if there’s enough parking available. Appoint someone to handle traffic control and use the parking space efficiently.

Keep Food Safe and Fresh

Be familiar with food safety rules. Keep food at the proper temperatures. Carry the food out to the event only when it’s time to for serving. Use chafing dishes or ice to keep food at the proper temperatures when using buffets. Opt for foods that don’t contain ingredients likely to spoil quickly when possible.

First Aid Considerations When Planning an Outdoor Event

Have at least basic first aid supplies on hand. Be familiar with the locations of the nearest emergency medical facilities. Know how to contact them. Depending on the event, you may even want to have medical professionals present or on standby.

Guest Entertainment

You’ll want to keep guests entertained during the event. If it’s a business event, you must take care of business first. Consider having lawn games or music to help keep guests happy.