Spring may just be getting into full swing, but it’s not too early to make plans for summer events in outdoor venues.

Despite what many think, planning an outdoor event isn’t always easier than hosting an event indoors.

In this issue, we’ll talk about ways you can prepare for just about any situation at your next outdoor event so your guests are happy and your event is deemed a roaring success.


The Key to a Successful Outdoor Event is Having Contingency Plans in Place

If you want to assure the success of your outdoor event, having contingency plans in place is critical so your vendors and guests know what to expect in almost any situation.

Outdoor events are often subject to factors beyond our control and weather is at the top of that list.

A contingency plan might include provisions for rescheduling or relocating the event in the event of severe weather, having backup power sources or generators on hand, establishing emergency communication protocols, and providing medical personnel and first aid stations.

Here are some other steps you can take.


Shelter Your Guests From Rain or Shine

Having a full contingency plan is great for severe weather, but some situations call for much simpler solutions.

Whether your event is at a park, zoo, or beach, provide shelter from scorching sun or popup rain showers. Many venues have permanent shelters guests can take cover under, but providing a cabana or marquee for your event offers a central space for your guests to gather even in the calmest weather… and togetherness is what many events are all about.

If tents and cabanas are out of the question, provide shade and shelter with large umbrellas either at individual tables or arranged throughout your event space.

Of course, you can always put shade control in the hands of your guests with colorful paper parasols, hats, and sunglasses. Many of these items can be branded and all make for great swag gifts.

Pro tip: As part of your plan, have someone assigned to lower smaller umbrellas in a popup storm so they don’t become projectiles.

Keep the Air Moving for Maximum Comfort

Keep the air moving on warm, humid days to help your guests stay comfortable. Fit cabanas and tents with solar or electric-powered ceiling fans.

Check with the tent vendor to make sure the base structure will support the weight of a fan.

Standing fans are also an option, but may pose a tripping hazard in tight spaces.

If a large fan is not an option, supply your guests with handheld, battery-powered fans or branded paper fans.

Pro tip: Have someone assigned to unplug standing area fans and other electronics before showers arrive to minimize the risk of electric shock.

Hydration is Critical for Safe Outdoor Events

Providing adequate hydration is among the most important safety considerations for outdoor events, especially when alcohol is being served.

If your outdoor location doesn’t have a built-in water source, consider bringing in a water station so your guests can refill branded water bottles or keep coolers filled with ice and bottled water located throughout your event space.

Hydration doesn’t end with the beverages you serve, many foods are a great source of water and it just happens that the fresh fruits and vegetables on the list are easy to serve and eat without a lot of fuss.

Pro tip: Communicate menu requirements to your caterer that go beyond the food you want to be served. If hydration is a goal, tell them so they can plan the entire menu around that objective rather than making it an afterthought.

Be Prepared for Medical Emergencies

Before hosting an event, it’s important to assess your risks and prepare for them.

Think about the type of event you’re hosting, the expected number of attendees, and the activities involved. This will help you determine the type and amount of first aid equipment and personnel you need.

Depending on the location of your event and the type of activities, you might want to have trained medical personnel available at the event or have a staff member trained in CPR.

Have a first aid kit stocked with bandages, gauze, antiseptic wipes, and pain relievers. Make sure that you have enough supplies to treat minor injuries and illnesses.

For large festivals and athletic events, you can designate an area at the as a first aid station, where medical personnel can provide initial treatment and assess any injuries. Make sure the station is easily accessible and visible to attendees.

Finally, make sure your event is accessible to emergency medical vehicles and that you can communicate parking and access to the event so precious minutes aren’t lost.

A well-planned event can minimize your exposure to risks and maximize the safety and fun of your guests. If you’d like help making sure your next event has solid contingency plans in place, I’d love to chat. 

Aurice Guyton

Author Aurice Guyton

More posts by Aurice Guyton