Hosting an outdoor event might seem like a scary proposition for any event planner. There are so many variables with an outdoor event. What is your backup plan if it rains? How will you keep food fresh? Fortunately, there are many good reasons to host an event outdoors as well.

10 Outdoor Event Tips

There are many good reasons to host an outdoor event. The great outdoors can provide you the space you need to accommodate more people. You can easily go with country themes and use landscaping already in place to create a special, one-of-a-kind event. Here are some tips to help your event go off without a hitch:

Tip # 1: Have a Backup Plan

The number one thing you should do when planning any outdoor event is to have a backup plan. What will you do if it rains or is extremely cold or hot?

  • Rent a tent
  • Have an alternate venue
  • Reschedule the event

By having a plan in place for any number of contingencies, you will be able to smoothly handle any problems that would normal be out of your control.

Tip # 2: Choose Keep-able Foods for Outdoor Event

If you plan to serve food at your event, you’ll want to ask the caterer to stick with foods that won’t spoil and that are appropriate for the weather.

  • Avoid foods with mayonnaise or things that will spoil fast.
  • Avoid heavy foods during particularly hot weather.
  • Finger foods and small portions people can nibble on while talking are perfect for outdoor venues.

You can still serve a full dinner outdoors, but work with the caterer to come up with a menu that works well with the setting.

Tip # 3: Use Natural Elements for Decor

Outdoor events are the perfect occasion to use fresh flowers, LED lights in the trees, and other natural elements. Consider nature’s backdrop around you and use it to set the mood.

  • Add simple glass jars on the tables as a centerpiece and add fresh flowers or an arrangement of branches and leaves.
  • Weave white lights through the branches of the trees.
  • Use scenery as the backdrop for the podium or stage.

You can get ideas for beautiful place settings, seating arrangements, and decor by studying outdoor wedding decoration ideas. Many of these will work for a dance recital, cooking class, or martial arts event, or any other type of event you can think of.

Tip # 4: Inspect the Venue Thoroughly

The idea of having a small concert in the park might sound like a fabulous idea, until you realize there are no public bathrooms and you have to rent port-a-potties at a hefty cost. some things to consider:

  • Bathroom facilities and the cost if there are none
  • Is there electricity available?
  • Is there enough room to lay out the areas of the event you need? For example, a stage area, a seating area, and a place for food trucks?

Consider the elements you want your event to have and make sure the venue can handle the logistics.

Tip # 5: Check Local Ordinances

One of your board members offers his large empty lot for your outdoor dance recital. Sounds like the perfect and reasonably priced solution, doesn’t it? However, you need to keep these things in mind:

  • What are local ordinances in regards to noise and gatherings?
  • Do you need permits for everything?
  • Where will everyone park and what are local requirements?

Make sure that you touch base with neighbors as well. The last thing you want to do is alienate an entire neighborhood of people.

Tip # 6: Elegance Is In

Just because your event is outdoors doesn’t mean it can’t be upscale and elegant.

  • Asks guests to wear black tie.
  • Serve fancy hors d’oeuvres.
  • Hire an orchestra.

Anything you can do with elegance indoors, you can adapt for an outdoor event.

Tip # 7: Don’t Skimp on Lighting

Is your event being held in the evening? Be sure to light the way for guests to avoid accidents.

  • Rent bright lantern posts as part of the decor.
  • String tube lights along each side of the path to light the way.
  • Place small lanterns or large candles on tables and hang from the trees.

Make sure guests can see where they are going. While you want to set a soft tone, you don’t want anyone to trip and fall.

Tip # 8: Handling Security

Since your event will be outside where anyone can potentially approach, how will you handle security and admissions?

  • Hire a security team in case someone causes trouble, so they can be escorted off the property.
  • Set up barriers where possible to prevent people sneaking into the event.
  • Make sure your security team is equipped to handle emergencies as well.

A solid security plan will keep your event safe for everyone.

Tip # 9: Nix the Bugs

If your event is being held in the summer, mosquitoes, flies, or bees might cause issues.

  • Use citronella candles and have the area sprayed to keep mosquitoes away.
  • Keep food away from entertainment area to prevent bugs being attracted.
  • Trash should be at the far edge of the venue.

Thinking through how to lay things out is one of the biggest factors in preventing guests from being pestered by bugs.

Tip # 10: Provide Shade and Cooling

During the summer, days can get extremely  hot. That last thing you want is your guests getting overheated. You have a few options to keep everyone cool and happy.

  • Rent an enclosed tent and air condition it. This will allow anyone particularly heat sensitive a place to go. Just don’t make it too much fun or everyone will hang out there.
  • Put up tarps or drape fabric runners through the trees to create shade. You can also add misting fans to cool people off more.
  • Rent a venue that also has an indoor area where people can cool off and get out of the sun for a bit.

Keeping guests cool might be a challenge during extremely hot days, but it is worth the effort to prevent any heatstroke collapses.

These tips will get you started planning your outdoor event. Try to think through all the things you want to accomplish with your event and you’ll be certain to find success with this challenging venue.