For wedding and event planners, the great outdoors offers many delights but also poses challenges. In preparing for an outdoor ceremony or reception, it’s key to be prepared for the unexpected.
Dealing with the elements requires research, consideration and planning. Your value to your client will increase greatly when you know venue features and locations, weather forecasts and special guest needs at your fingertips.
An Outdoor Event Checklist
To help you plan for the unexpected, here are some items to consider for your emergency kit.
For an outdoor ceremony or reception, even the most beautiful day still has its elements to consider. The hot sun in a crystal blue sky can cause issues with sunburn or heat exposure. In addition to having plenty of water on hand, consider distributing travel size sunscreen.
If you choose electric fans, be ready to deal with the buzz of many tiny motors, but this may be more tolerable than high humidity.
Whether as cover for an unexpected shower, a brace against a brisk breeze or a shield from the blistering sun, extra umbrellas on hand may be much appreciated by your clients and their guests.
Outdoor heaters can extend an event into a cold evening or through an unexpected cold front. The average stand-up heater can comfortably warm up to 10 guests at a time.
When the show must go on even after a strong rainstorm, bring along a bag of mulch as a solution for puddles, muddy ground and soggy grass. This can keep guests’ shoes from getting wet and muddy and can even be used to rescue the aisle for the bride.
Some outdoor locations may have an issue with bugs. While a repellent spray is an option and can be produced without harmful chemicals, many planners swear by soy candles or citronella torches.
The Outdoor Venue
In addition to weather considerations, the features, rules and layout of the chosen venue have to be taken into account. Today’s couples are getting married in backyards, parks, beaches, zoos, outdoor theaters and any manner of outdoor venue or location.
Research any permits and other considerations required for food, beverage and entertainment. Is the chosen caterer equipped for outdoor service? Is alcohol allowed to be served? Will the band violate a noise ordinance? Even private residences must adhere to the local homeowners association or other regulations for public and private gatherings.
Learn the peculiarities of an outdoor venue. When does the tide come in at the beach? Is there a sound system to ensure every guest can hear? What restrictions are placed on decorations? Is there an indoor space available nearby in the case of inclement weather? What reservations are needed to secure a public space for a private event? Each type of location will have its own challenges and opportunities.
Planning for Success
To successfully plan and execute a memorable outdoor event, start with detailed preparation. Talk to your client and to venue staff or owners. Learn about past events at the location. What went wrong? What went well? Then compile your own set of rules for ensuring your outdoor events are remembered for your efforts and not for Mother Nature.
Event Solutions magazine
by Cho Phillips
Cho Phillips is the founder of Lovegevity and The Wedding Planning Institute.