Outdoor activities are wonderful for a variety of reasons. They allow people to get outside and enjoy the environment, they promote a more laid-back atmosphere, and they’re not your average event. However, while outdoor events may be informal in certain ways, organizing them is far from easy!
There are several factors to consider when planning an outdoor event, including weather and time of day, food and beverages, the need for shelter from a beautiful sunny sky or dappled shade trees – all of these must be taken into account when creating your ideal outside experience. Here’s everything you’ll need to plan your event.
Outdoor Event Planning Guide
What are the steps in planning an outdoor event?
Consideration For Outdoor Events
It is important to be aware of a few factors before hosting an event outdoors, especially if you’re putting together a large-scale conference.
- Consider the primary function of your event and your overall goals. If one or more of these can’t be accomplished outside, then it may not make sense to go for outdoor space.
- The size and scope should also be taken into account when choosing between indoor versus outdoor venue space. For example: Was there no room at the inn? Do you want to take advantage of breathtaking views?
What is the best way to choose an event venue? Here are 5 things to consider when choosing an outdoor venue:
1 Event Venue Cost
The cost for an outdoor venue will vary depending on a number of factors, such as the size and complexity of your event.
The type of event you are hosting plays a major role in what kind of location best suits your needs. For example: Whether it’s an outdoor wedding, corporate event, or even a family gathering; if you want to take advantage of nature, going outdoors may be the way to go!
2 Event Capacity (Facility Size)
Event types often dictate which venue space is suitable. Outdoor events can range from small-scale meetings with fewer than 50 attendees to large conferences with over 500 people in attendance. If one or more aspects of your event cannot happen outside (i.e., breakouts), then indoor might work better for you.
3 Venue Services and Amenities
Does the venue have the necessary amenities to run your event? Outdoor venues often do not have the same level of catering, guest services, or technological capabilities as indoor venues.
Considering asking these questions: Does the venue have a kitchen? Does it have tables, chairs, and linens you can use? Does it have a setup/clean-up crew? Does it have Audio/Video equipment?
4 Guest Parking
Does the venue have parking for your guests? How close is it to the event site?
Guests will want an easy parking experience and ideally, their cars should be parked within walking distance of the venue. One way to accommodate this need is by providing a shuttle service. This can also help reduce traffic congestion in surrounding areas as well as decrease pollution for outdoor events that happen near public parks or preserves where there are no designated parking lots available.
5 Event Insurance
Does the venue require you to purchase event insurance?
Event Insurance is a requirement for many outdoor venues and some indoor ones too. Event insurance protects you from financial liability in case of injury or death that might occur while they are at the venue. The coverage can vary by state, so it’s important to consult with your agent about what kind of protection will be needed depending on where the event will take place.
Event Planning Venue Checklist
If you’re planning an outdoor event, then there are certain tips that can make it a success. Here’s what you need to know:
- Choose the right venue – There should be plenty of parks and outdoor concert halls in your city that you can have access to. It’s important to understand the capacity, amenities, and activities each facility is able to provide so that you make the most out of it as possible.
- Get all necessary permits -Failure to do this could get your event shut down.
- Understand local bylaws – You’ll want to find out about any restrictions on street closures or noise limitations in order for everyone attending your event be comfortable and happy at all times.
Weather Planning (Have a Backup Plan)
Your event being run outside, it’s essential to prepare for inclement weather and monitor weather forecasts leading up to the event.
Your strategy will depend on how your organization deals with nasty weather: can you still hold your outdoor event inside or do they offer enough rain-covering? If tents are in order then which kind will fit your arrangement best? On the day of the event can you deal with any obstacles on an as they arrive basis so as not to affect both logistics and planning of other aspects of your wedding, christening or company meeting, etc.
Be prepared for any sudden weather changes by equipping yourself with knowledge, options, and experts to ease the process of cancellation or damage.
Equipment And Gear Appropriate For An Outdoor Venue
Outdoor events are typically less formal than indoor ones, so expect them to be more casual. However, you will need some key pieces of equipment—sound systems, lighting, or Wi-Fi access for example.
Here are 15 types of equipment to check off your list before your outdoor event:
- Power outlets/electrical sockets – make sure you have enough in order to charge devices for guests.
- Outdoor sound equipment – a powerful outdoor speaker that can be used as an alternative if the event site doesn’t have speakers. And, a microphone for announcements, toasts, and greetings.
- Lighting – for atmosphere and safety, not to mention ambiance. This can include string lights, spotlights, or even large-scale lighting.
- Wi-Fi access – so guests can use their devices without feeling disconnected from the event.
- Stage/platforms – depending on your location you will need some sort of platform or stage in order to accommodate anything like speakers or presentations.
- Tables/chairs – if you are planning a sit-down dinner, for example, you’ll want something that’s easy to move around and won’t be damaged by outdoor elements such as rain or wind.
Table cloths/napkins – if your outdoor event is more formal, these may be needed depending on what kind of theme or atmosphere it’s going to be.
Food service equipment – platters, plates, etc. which are often rented from a catering company.
- Toilet facilities – this is essential for any kind of outdoor event whether it’s an all-day festival or just an hour cocktail party with friends.
- Tents or canopies to protect from the sun, rain, and wind; plus tarps for protection against the ground. Include spare tarps in case of breakage during setup. Also, include zip ties to secure tarp corners when it’s being used as a shelter canopy. Tarps are also great because they come with grommets that make them easy to hang on trees using rope or bungee cords!
- Any event decorations such as floral arrangements, or table centerpieces. (Make sure to have extra table cloths on hand in case of spills.)
- Ropes, bungee cords for securing tarps, and tents. These are great because they can be used as a clothesline or even an emergency hammock!
- Mobile charging station for phones, tablets, and laptops.
- Extra clothing such as sweaters/jackets if you’ll have outdoor events at night that could get chilly but also shorts/shirts should it turn out warmer than expected on the day of your event).
- UV protectant sunscreen protection is also important since UV rays will penetrate more deeply when there isn’t any cloud cover blocking them which means sunburns can be a bigger issue.
- Cleaning up supplies (buckets, brooms, paper towels)
- First Aid Kit. This should include bandages, water purification tablets, tweezers, scissors, and any other items you think would be useful in an outdoor event setting.
Welcome Guests And Keep Them Comfortable
If you’re hosting an event outside of a building, there’s plenty you need to take into account. Since everything will be happening in one space, it can be difficult for guests to stay comfortable should the weather be too hot or cold (or change rapidly) and they have fewer amenities such as bathrooms without running water.
Some of these steps include:
- Bring extra blankets or mats for sitting on the ground, even if there is some natural grassy area nearby. This way your guests don’t have to worry about getting dirty just by having to sit down.
- Make sure you have plenty of shade! It’s always a good idea to provide at least one canopy tent with both sides open so people who want coverage from the sun (or rain) can get under them while those who prefer being exposed can still enjoy the outdoors without any obstruction between them and nature. Shade tents are usually used during outdoor events because they are a great way to add shade to areas that may not be otherwise shaded. This also allows your guests who want some cover from the sun or rain to have an easily accessible place for protection
- Plan for bathrooms because people will likely need them at one point or another during the day (or night) of your outdoor event. There are many services available like porta potties that offer these facilities with no issues. You just have to decide which ones you’re comfortable using and then find out how much they cost beforehand. Restrooms are usually located nearby as well, so you will need to take that into consideration when planning your outdoor event.
- Dress appropriately for your event – Ask attendees to dress appropriately – this might mean more casual wear than a typical black-tie event. Some events require people to put on shoes upon entering (ex: weddings), which can lead to chapped feet or other annoying problems if they’re wearing sandals!
- Keep food and drink station clean – this will make the guest feel more at ease and less likely to get sick. If your event is going on for a long time, be sure to have enough food and drink stations so that the lines don’t back up too much.
- Keep in mind any allergies or dietary restrictions – make sure there are plenty of options available for people with such needs. For example, if you’re planning an outdoor event where most of the attendees will bring their own picnic baskets with them, it would be wise to serve vegan fare as well!
- Bring plenty of hand wipes and antibacterial sanitizer – people will need to clean their hands after handling food.
Outdoor events are a great way to have some fun in the sun, but be sure that you’re not forgetting your safety measures. Make sure there are plenty of emergency exits and make arrangements for medical staff if needed.
This concludes our outdoor event planning guide. We hope you found some useful tips and tricks to help make your next outdoor event a success!
As always, do your own research and speak to a professional event planner before making any serious decisions.
Also, adhere to the CDC COVID-19 recommendations for event gathering sizes and safety precautions. Keep yourself secure and have a great time!