Tips & TricksMay 29, 2018

Making It Predictable: Event Planning Outdoors

No wind. A clear sky. Not too hot, not too cool. No humidity. No bugs. It’s the perfect environment for an exquisite outdoor event. A near-ideal environment occurs often enough that one’s enthusiasm for planning outdoor events shouldn’t be dampened. But we all know Mother Nature can be an unpredictable collaborator with all sorts of tricks up her sleeve to challenge your fortitude and contingency planning. To help anticipate and manage the variables, here are a few tried-and-true tips from Bartha’s experienced team of event professionals.

Plan for the worst. Hope for the best. Always.

From the first day of planning until the last, assume the elements are not going to cooperate with your outdoor event and develop your contingency plans accordingly. This means ensuring rain (or wind) cover for your guests AND your equipment. A great event partner will help you identify these potential issues during your site visit as well as during your pre-production meetings.

It’s all about options.

During site selection, look for properties and venues that already have indoor-outdoor space and service options that work well together. Otherwise, have an indoor venue option available, whether it’s holding the event in the general session space, utilizing heavy-duty, professionally-installed tents or some other Plan B venue option you’ve managed to arrange “just in case.” If it’s an off-site event, motor coaches can provide shelter and transportation to safety.

Be ready for non-weather-related catastrophes.

Having an outdoor event increases the chances that one of your attendees will require medical attention. Incidents such as heat stroke, dehydration, bug bites/stings, turned ankles or worse are more likely to occur. Have emergency numbers at the ready and make arrangements for on-site first aid/paramedics if needed.

Acknowledge nature.

Consider branded gifts and amenities that provide protection from the elements… Hats, umbrellas, rain ponchos, sunglasses, fanny packs, water bottles, sunscreen, insect repellent, etc. Our team can help you design something consistent with your existing brand that ties into your event theme and message.

Let there be light.

When the sun goes down, it gets dark. Don’t forget the lighting. We offer a myriad of unique lighting solutions, from the most basic to the spectacular. Rope lighting along walkways provides safety and visual interest. Dramatic Air Star light orbs float above attendees’ heads to create a cool, near cosmic vibe. LED panels can support content and mesmerizing eye candy while also providing illumination. Projecting images, logos, branding or video on buildings or custom-built surfaces can turn the wow factor up to 11 to make a lasting impression.

What are they doing over there?

If considering hosting a private event in a public space such as a park, try to visit the site around the time you plan to use it. It’s always good practice to hire security officers when hosting an event on public property.

Watch your step.

The good news is, the severe thunderstorms ended six hours ago. The bad news is the ground is a soggy, muddy quagmire. Obviously, sun and wind are allies in this situation while mulch or similar ground cover can provide dryer walkways and surfaces. An abundance of fresh mulch produces a very noticeable aroma, but it’s better than the alternative. Be prepared for the aftermath of a severe weather event.

Gone with the wind.

Rarely is the air completely still. Secure signs, banners, backdrops and structures with tie lines, weights and sandbags. We can suggest specific solutions for your event during the design process. Also consider the effects of wind on tablecloths, napkins, centerpieces and other decor and service items.

More often than not, outdoor events occur without any major issues, but it’s important to plan for the risks that may be easy to underestimate or overlook entirely. Thorough contingency planning for outdoor events provides options, peace of mind and safety and security for attendees and those working the event.

Contact us to get started on your next major event!