Don’t Be Put Out By Outdoor Events: 12 Tips to Help Plan for all the Possibilities

Written by A-mazing Events on June 15, 2017

Wisconsinites love their outdoor events because our four seasons are so beautiful and distinct. Sunny summer days, crisp fall leaves, snow-covered landscapes, or budding spring blooms come to mind when we envision a special outdoor occasion. While we all hope for cooperative weather, your professional event planner is ticking off the contingency plans from the minute he or she is assigned your outdoor event project. Here are some of the ways we help our clients’ dreams for outdoor events come true—even if Mother Nature has other designs:

  1. Apply for and retain all necessary permits for food alcohol, tents, or fireworks. Check with the jurisdiction (city, town, state park) to understand what permits are required and how far in advance they need to be secured.
  2. Have weather-related back-up plans: tent sides, additional tents, guest umbrellas, shuttles to and from parking, and wood chips or planking for wet or muddy walkways. If people will head indoors when the weather gets wet, have coat racks and floor mats available there.
  3. If your event goes past sunset, be very thoughtful about lighting. Plan for adequate lighting for guests and staff, including walkways, parking lots, hallways, and bathrooms. Flameless candles and hurricane lamps can help keep things pretty, but supplement these sources with enough light to keep people safe.
  4. Sunlight is another important lighting factor. Consider the location of the sun in the sky and plan for major presentations or ceremonies to occur with the sun at the guests’ backs, not behind the stage so they have to squint or look away.
  5. Similarly, listen and prepare for ambient noise as you plan your event. Beach waves, interstate traffic, a far-off baseball stadium, or a noonday siren can all be problematic right when you want ears and eyes on your special event. Plan the orientation of your seating, the sound system set-up, and the timing of your program to avoid disruptions like high tide or rush hour traffic.
  6. Have adequate seating for guests of all abilities and preferences. Accommodate people who use wheelchairs or walkers, and set up a special shaded area for people who cannot sit in the hot sun for extended periods. Shade umbrellas are a colorful idea as long as they do not block other guests’ views. Table and chair legs should be wide enough for soft ground.
  7. Floors are as important as chairs. Do you need a dance floor? Will guests be prepared to walk in the sand or grass, or should you put out planking? Is a parking lot or other cement surface a better choice for the main tent? Do you want guests to have a choice to sit on the grass and still hear and see your presentation?
  8. Plan for wind, or even light breezes. Flapping signs, loose centerpieces, and fluttering paper programs all need to be anchored down. What seems like a soft breeze can turn into a big distraction if guests are grabbing flyaway decorations. Table clips, weighted décor, and four-corner tie-downs on signs and banners will calm the chaos.
  9. Is there a potential for extreme heat or cold? Choose seating with possible temperature extremes in mind. Metal chairs can get very hot (or cold) and upholstered chairs will not fare well in the rain. Rent air conditioners or heaters to keep guests comfortable. Light blankets and shawls for cool days or evenings are a nice touch and can serve as guest gifts, too.
  10. Tend to restrooms or portable restrooms to ensure they are neat and tidy. Assign staff to their upkeep and refresh supplies of towels and toilet paper. Have running water for washing hands for your guests’ safety and comfort.
  11. Think about bugs in advance of set-up time. Survey the property for ant hills or wasp or bee nests. Consider having the venue sprayed for pests in advance of the event. On the big day, your event planners should install contingency wasp and fly traps, burn citronella, and have bug spray on hand for guest comfort.
  12. Provide sunscreen, hand sanitizer, folding fans and cold water for guests who will be outdoors for a long time. Set baskets of supplies at the entrance to the venue, place them at individual seats, or hand them out as favors.

With the right plans in place, an outdoor event is a beautiful idea. Professional event planners have the experience and know-how to help successfully manage nearly every possibility.

Are you interested in planning an event that takes in the beauty and fresh air of the outdoors? The staff at A-mazing Events can help you plan anything from a small team-building excursion all the way to a gala fundraising event packed with eager attendees. Contact us at 920-788-3000 or to kick off a friendly creative discussion.

Written by Autumn Grimm of A-mazing Events.

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