We all love outdoor events. The setting itself becomes as much a part of the design as the décor and entertainment. But whether a large outdoor festival or an intimate dinner, when planning for your perfect soiree under the stars, there are a few extra things you need to factor in to ensure a flawless guest experience.
Welcome to the Jungle…
You’ve made the commitment to the great outdoors. Yay! Buuuut…sometimes the great outdoors hasn’t made a monogamous commitment to you. Most outdoor spaces are publicly accessible with multiple points of entry. To keep your event private, consider what type of security you need. Is it as simple as rope and stanchion or do you need to hire security personnel? At all times, the comfort and safety of your attendees should be top priority, so plan accordingly for their experience.
Being in the open brings a few more challenges with production. First, when you are siting your location, make sure you have enough open vertical space. You’ll need to get high enough for your lighting to cover the entire area without the dreaded light-line into attendees’ eyes. Corey Hart may have worn his sunglasses at night, but your guests shouldn’t need to!
Remember too that sound will travel more outdoors. This may mean you need additional speakers for coverage, but most outdoor locations have sound ordinances or other regulations. What is a planner to do!? It’s important to pre-test sound with “sound scouts” at various locations and distances outside the event perimeter. Depending on your location and how strict the regulations, you may consider leaving them at their posts for the duration of the event.
Bonus Tip! Prepare for the elements. Do you need fans or cooling units? Heaters? Bug spray? Sunscreen? We can’t stress enough—plan for guests’ comfort!
We’ve all seen the photos. Gorgeous day, gorgeous setting, gorgeous décor, sideways linens showing off those ugly table legs! Gasp! If you are in a location with known high wind activity like oceanfront or rooftop, make life easier on yourself and go with a spandex linen. Since their introduction, the color and pattern selections have expanded exponentially, so chances are you’ll find a look you love.
Spandex is definitely not for you? Hey, we get it! It’s not always our vision either. If your perfect look can only happen with linen, try to bump up one size. That will give you enough length to tuck under the table, and the extra weight at the bottom will help keep your look photo ready.
Bonus Tip! Patterned runners are a great way to add dimension and style to a table. Pin the runner to the linen underneath with a hidden safety pin to keep it secure for a clean look no matter what the weather.
Let’s Talk About Centerpieces
If there is one thing we love at Koncept Events, it’s a tablescape that gets noticed! Which leads us to centerpiece design. As you are planning, make sure that all elements, vessels and accent pieces are heavy enough to withstand a gust of wind. This may mean filling the bottom of your vessel with rocks or sand to create additional weight. This may also mean that some visions just need to go in a different direction. The idea may be beautiful in concept, but if a lightweight vase falls over at the event and water spills all over the linen, it’s not a good look! And while we are on the topic of centerpiece bases, remember acrylic is your friend. Broken glass + outdoors = a mess you don’t want to deal with!
Once you’ve got your outdoor-friendly look ready to go, remember most flowers are delicate creatures. Odds are, if you are setting up a large event, there is a fair amount of time they will be out in the elements. Help extend the life of the little guys by storing them under umbrellas or in the shade before they go onto tables, keeping them out of hot, direct sunlight. We are pretty sure wilted flowers weren’t a part of your vision.
Bonus Tip! Always use LED candles with outdoor centerpieces. Always.
Clean up your Act
If you are at a hotel, they most likely do a pretty good job of keeping the area clear of debris. But if you are planning in a park or other public location, that job will fall on you. Have your team do a full sweep before set up begins to clear the area. Then, just before doors open, do one more to make sure all left over packing materials, ladders and boxes have been removed and are out of sight lines. If you are under trees, check tables and event surfaces for any leaves or pollen that may have fallen. Our guess is dead leaves weren’t in the vision either.
Bonus tip! Bring in extra trash receptacles. Beaches, parks, lawns, etc. may not have enough or in a location that’s convenient for your set-up team or your guests.
Following the tips above will help you on your way to the perfect outdoor event. But we know it’s a lot to think about. Luckily for you, the Koncept Events’ team is well versed in the ways of the wild, so give us a call and let us take care of it all for you. We’re helpful like that!