7 Ways to a Great Outdoor Event

Old Man Winter has finally been shown the door here in New York and so a lot of people are talking about planning outdoor events, and that’s where renting large tents come in.  It’s not hard to answer your questions about tents (call us anytime, and I’ll write about them more soon), but I thought today we’d talk about something that may help you just as much: the rest of the party under and around that tent!

Food

First you’ll have to decide whether to make the food yourself, get catering, or do a pot luck.  You get the most control in the first two options, and the least amount of control over the last one.  You can also use your food choices to tie into a theme.  Backyard cookout?  Hawaiian?  While food may not be *the* most important part of your outdoor party, it is the lynchpin that holds everything together so think about it carefully.

If you do choose the pot luck option and don’t want to tell people what to bring, at least tell them what kind of thing to bring (entree, appetizer, dessert, etc.).  There’s nothing worse than having too much of one thing and too little of another.  Unless you are a dessert hound, and then maybe you planned it that way!

Furniture

We rent tents, tables, and chairs here at the Rental Center.  You may have all the tables and chairs you need (make sure you have enough seating for everyone – this is one of the most overlooked parts of an outdoor event) and a tent is the perfect addition to that summer event. It gives a place for people to get in out of the sun, as well as provide wind protection for your food.  Call us to see if we can help with your needs.

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Decor

As with the food and furniture above, you may be aiming towards a theme.  You may end up decorating the tent, or bringing out props, or hanging some fun lighting for a change of mood when it gets darker.  You’ll need to coordinate your decorating with the delivery of your furniture and/or tent.

Pests

This is different for every locale and there are some basic principles, like:

Cut your grass

Make sure there isn’t standing water around

Make sure your trash is removed from where your guests are

But you may choose to use a bug zapper or citronella/tiki candles as an additional deterrent.  Again, try to place these strategically so that they aren’t in the immediate path or way of your guests.

Guests

For a while it seemed evite was all the rage.  Now it’s a small player and facebook events is a popular way to invite people.  Still others resort to email or (gasp!) old-fashioned phone calling with pen in hand.

While talking to someone on the phone is probably the best barometer of whether they will be able to come, most people use electronic means to track RSVPs.  But there’s a science here also:

Of your “Yes” people expect 80% to show.

Of your “Maybes” expect 30% to show.

That should help you plan accordingly.

Weather

A friend of ours lives in Kansas City and got some unexpected May snow last week.  While such a freak occurrence won’t necessarily hamper you – but make sure to have contingencies in place should the weather change or not be exactly what you want.  Check the forecast 2 months out, a month out, two weeks out, etc.  Weather changes frequently and you should leverage our current technology to get ahead of changes.

Time

You might have a start time – although very few people usually come when the event starts.  But giving them an end time can usually give them a good gauge about when to arrive and how long to stay.  Consider not making your event open-ended, because even when you have an end time you know there will be stragglers.

Most of all, have fun as you are doing this.  A well-put on event is talked about for months, sometimes years afterwards.  And the warm memory of a great host is treasured by many.  Thanks for taking the time to read through our tips and if we can help in any way, just give us a call at 845.794.0100.