How to Ensure Guest Comfort at Outdoor Venues

Photo by Chelsea Elizabeth Photography

Outdoor venues are often magical. Watching the sunset, being surrounded by live foliage, and taking in the crisp fresh air are all amazing reasons to host a wedding, Bar or Bat Mitzvah, or other event outdoors. Whether oceanside, lakeside, or on the side of a mountain, the gorgeous photos can’t be beat. Especially here in Los Angeles, the outdoor possibilities are endless. However, there are some additional issues that may arise when you’re at the whim of the great outdoors. A joyous event needs physically comfortable guests, so planning ahead to make sure your guests are comfortable outside is a must. There is nothing worse than being too hot, too cold, getting a sunburn or eaten by bugs while trying to celebrate. Use these tips to give yourself and your guests the best experience possible!

Inform your guests. An outdoor venue can greatly impact what guests wear and bring to your event! Communicate with them so they can take steps to make themselves comfortable. Let guests know what type of ground they’ll be walking on. Sand, grass, and cobblestone may affect the type of footwear guests wear. Knowing an event is outdoors means guests will grab a sweater on their way out the door.

Photo by Rachel B Photography

Cool Weather. If guests are shivering there probably won’t be much dancing or mingling. If temperatures will be chilly, or if it will cool off in the evening, it’s worth it to invest in renting heaters. A good rule of thumb is 1 heater per 10 people. Another great option is to offer beautiful throw blankets or shawls for guests to help themselves to. This is a nice way to add more color and coziness to the event as well! You can lay them on the back of every other chair or put them in a basket where guests will see them.

Photo by Erin Leigh Photography!/HOME

Sun Control. Sitting in direct sunlight can make guests uncomfortable even if it isn’t very hot at your event. Providing shady options is always a plus. Pergolas and umbrellas can do this beautifully. If your guests will be in the sun for an extended period of time, consider providing sunscreen. Consider the direction guests will be facing while sitting at your ceremony or even while eating. Where will the sun be in the sky at that time of day? No one wants to stare directly at the sun instead of at the bride and groom or Mitzvah kid! If temperatures will be warm consider supplying guests with light paper or wooden fans that provide cooling but don’t take away from the elegance of the event. And if you don’t have umbrella coverage for everyone, consider having some parasols on hand to give to those in need.

Photo by Erin J Saldana

Lighting, lighting, lighting! If your event will take place after sunset it’s important to consider lighting. Lighting is an amazing way to set the mood of the event. Is it romantic and whimsical, dark and moody, or colorful and bright? Make sure guests have enough light to see food, read menus and participate in activities.But, at the same time make sure that lighting isn’t too harsh or direct. With an outdoor venue it’s important to take into account power sources, extension cords, and generators. Without enough outdoor receptacles a generator may be necessary, and extension cords should be hidden and secured safely. Also, don't put your caterer in the dark, be sure to light their scullery area if needed!

Photo by Duke Photography Photo by Beth Herzhaft

Wind Worries. The wind can be one of the most unpredictable aspects of your outdoor event. Make sure all decor, linens, and table settings are weighted or secured down to avoid them flying away. Papers such as table assignments, food labels, or signs are an integral part of your event and it’s worth the extra effort to secure them! Your decor was expensive, took a lot of effort, and sets the tone of your event, so be sure it doesn’t blow away with the wind. A lesson I learned the hard way- potted plants are not heavy enough to withstand wind. A better choice would be a centerpiece that has a lot of water to help weigh it down. :)

Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography

Unfortunately…factor in BUGS! My least favorite aspect of any outdoor event is the possibility of insects joining the party. With the nature of an outdoor event, this can be unavoidable, but there are a couple ways you can make guests more comfortable. Cover food appropriately when it is not being served. Consider providing insect repellant for guests to use if you expect insects such as mosquitos that can leave a painful memory. Bring in some insect repellent candles or plants to keep those bugs at bay.

Photo by Laurie Bailey Photography

Have a Rain Plan. Think of the worst case scenario and make a plan for it. If you plan ahead, it will take away many of your day-of jitters about whether everything will go smoothly. Can you move to an alternate area of the venue that is indoors or covered? It’s totally okay if your plan is to embrace the weather and dance in the rain (this can lead to some great pictures and a lot of fun), but it helps to intentionally decide this in advance to avoid stress!

Photo by Erin Leigh Photography!/HOME

Factoring in all these details may seem like a big task, but this is truly the type of advanced planning and problem solving that ensures your event goes on without a hitch. Guests will remember your event for the gorgeous views and great company rather than their lasting sunburn.

If you want help making sure these details are covered, consider hiring an event planning company! Mitzvah Sisters is a Los Angeles based event planning and design firm that specializes in planning meaningful and joyful events such as bar and bat mitzvahs, weddings, corporate events, and milestone birthday celebrations. For a complimentary consultation, contact us here:

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