Outdoor Event on a Mountain Ridge Backdrop

Your Ultimate Outdoor Event Planning Checklist

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The event industry will undergo a 10% growth through 2024.

Some of the biggest reasons people attend events is to network, learn something new, or entertainment. If you’re in charge of planning an outdoor event, there are a lot of important aspects you must keep in mind to ensure its success. The average B2B company spends 5 to 8 weeks planning an event. If it’s an event like a wedding, many event planners will plan 6 to 12 months in advance.

Outdoor events present unique problems separate from an indoor event. There are different permits to consider, not to mention the weather.

This guide will go over event planning tips you can take and use to help things go according to plan without any problems.

1. Choose a Location

Whether you’re planning an outdoor wedding or a concert, you’ll need to have a venue reserved. While searching, try to find a location that offers an indoor space. If you experience a bad turn of weather, you’ll at least have the option to shelter inside during the storm.

Also, make sure the outdoor space you reserve is able to accommodate the number of guests you are expecting. It won’t do you much good to reserve a small section of a park that can fit around 100 people if you’re expecting thousands to show.

Another factor you’ll want to look into is the accessibility of the venue. If the location is too far from where the majority of guests are coming from, it’s possible that many will fail to show as planned. 

Do you expect to serve alcohol to the guests during the event? If so, you’ll want to look into any restrictions the venue might have. Some locations don’t allow alcohol, or have a rule against bringing in outside food or caterers.

Some venues provide tables and chairs free, or for an additional fee. You’ll want to find out if you’ll need to supply your own or can expect them to.

Last, if there aren’t any nearby restrooms to the outdoor venue, you’ll want to look into porta potty rental companies. Some outdoor venues might be against this, though, so be sure to ask.

2. Look Into Permits

Once you have your location finalized, getting the appropriate permits needed should be at the top of your event planning sheet. Holding an event without a permit is the fastest way to have things shut down.

Some of the most common permits you need to acquire for special events include:

  • Food Permit – The most important party planning tip you should know is that selling, serving, or even giving away free food requires a permit. If there’ll be food vendors at the event, you’ll also need a temporary food vendor permit. There will need to be hand-washing sinks for public and food safety reasons.
  • Alcohol Permit – If you plan to serve alcohol, you’ll need an alcohol permit to make it legal. Depending on the venue, you might also need a letter of authorization to be allowed to serve alcohol. Every venue is different and has varying policies on the matter.
  • Structure Permits – Tens and other canopy structures may all require permits. This permit will depend on the size and safety issues surrounding the structures.
  • Electrical Permit – Certain events require electricity to function. If you have an outdoor wedding checklist, take into consideration you might need a mic or speakers for music. Many locations will require a permit for you to make use of electrical systems.
  • Sidewalk Permit – If the event will be held partly on the sidewalk or street, it will need a permit to do so. It doesn’t matter how small the event is or how brief. Any activity that takes place on sidewalks or streets needs special authorization from the city.

3. Logistics of the Event and Layout

If possible, take photos of the venue or find an outline map online of the location. You’ll want to denote where vendors should set up, where decorations will be, where events will be staged, where to place guest event seating, and more.

You’ll need to decide how the equipment will be brought in and when. Who are the crew that will help you? 

You should create two different day-of schedules. One schedule will be for your attendees so they know where things are located and at what times. The other schedule should be for your event team so they know what kind of timeline to follow when it comes to setting up and then breaking down the event.

Have a meeting in advance of the event to go over all the logistics involved. You want everyone involved in throwing the event to be on the same page to make things run smoothly. An organized event is a successful event.

4. Monitor the Weather

Weather will be either your greatest ally or your biggest enemy for your outdoor event. Everyone always hopes that the weather will remain nice and cooperate for the day of their event. However, this often doesn’t end up being the case.

Keep an eye on the weather for the week preceding the event. The most common reason behind an event cancellation is inclement weather. You’ll want to buy weather insurance if possible because of this.

5. Have an Alternate Plan

In case the weather does turn sour on the day of your event, you’ll want a “plan B” to turn to.

Either know where a nearby venue indoor structure is, or bring along canopies. You need to know in advance where electrical equipment needs to go, where to move live entertainment, where to put food at, and more.

If you bring along a portable pavilion, you can adapt to a fluid situation with more ease. Many pavilions also come with sidings that can roll down to block out rain.

Plan the Perfect Outdoor Event

As long as you do the proper research and create a checklist for yourself, you should host an outdoor event free of any hitches. The more prepared you are for the event, the fewer problems you’ll encounter. Of the issues that do arise, you’ll have already instated plans for how to deal with them.

We hope you found this event planning checklist helpful. Be sure to browse the website for other informative articles.


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