Having your event at the perfect outdoor venue is a wonderful way to create a one-of-a-kind experience for your guests. The fresh air, the natural light, and the beauty of nature add to the comfortable atmosphere. Whether you’re planning a formal wedding, a fun corporate event, or a casual social gathering, here are six things to look for in the ideal outdoor venue to help you make the best choice for your event.
1. A distraction-free zone
For special events like weddings, birthdays, and retirement parties, you want all eyes on the guest or guests of honor. To achieve this, it’s important to choose a venue that’s far away from any noisy disruptions or activities. The farther away from interstates, traffic zones, or other events, the better! If the venue hosts multiple events at once, don’t hesitate to ask about shared and private amenities for you and your guests.
It’s also important to ensure that your event won’t be a distraction to others. Is the venue equipped with the permits to accommodate live music or crowd noise? Discuss noise expectations before you book — a working A/V system and stage don’t imply permission for high volume.
2. An enjoyable atmosphere
At any event, your guests deserve a great experience, and your venue sets the scene. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure that your outdoor venue provides a pleasurable and comfortable environment, especially in areas like bathrooms and dining spaces. Thankfully, even venues located in camping locales have stepped up their game over the last decade, offering updated spaces that balance natural beauty with modern conveniences.
If you’re booking a more remote event, it’s essential to ask about high-speed internet and power outlets. While most locations have these things covered, there may be limited bandwidth, particularly in off-grid getaways. It’s always good to know what you’re getting into when booking a remote location. And don’t forget to communicate any limitations or restricted access to guests before they arrive, so they can prepare accordingly.
3. Plenty of flexibility
While the draw of holding an event outdoors is the natural element, unexpected weather happens. Consider what might happen if the temp turns chilly or a flash storm appears. Does the venue offer an indoor space for last-minute needs?
Even if you’re certain that your special day holds nothing but blue skies, consider that full exposure to the elements isn’t a good choice for everyone. Guests need a way out of the sun and wind, so opt for venues that provide adequate shade and a way to cool off or warm up as needed. Accessories such as mist fans or outdoor heating lamps are nice perks for events in weather extremes. If your venue doesn’t provide these, ask if you can rent them from outside vendors to include in your event.
Venue pick: Restaurants with outdoor space make a nice compromise for those who want the joys of fresh air on the rooftop patio with the option to go inside if needed. Tied House in Chicago is the perfect spot for tasting delicious food and wine options in their fireplace garden while still having cover from the elements!
4. An accommodating plan for parking
If your event includes bringing in vendors, talent, or businesses, make sure your venue can accommodate them all comfortably. Will food trucks have plenty of room? Do bands know where their buses can park? Even if you have just one or two caterers coming, make sure they have space to set up and do what they do best.
Likewise, guests should also expect accommodations. Parking should be accessible for those with mobility issues. Roads leading in and out – as well as parking spaces – must be paved or at least drain well in times of rainy weather. (Guests getting stuck in the mud is a real thing!) Knowing that your venue is prepped for seasonal parking headaches will give you peace of mind, which is exactly what you need while hosting an event!
5. A focus on safety
Outdoor events can often come with more unpredictability. Even with most people understanding the hazards the natural world presents, it can’t hurt to double-check areas that can be a risk to children or pets. Are lakes or rivers located too close to the main activity, and if so, is there a boundary to prevent accidents? Will railings or decks be safe for the smallest of attendees?
The last thing you want to have to worry about is the safety of your guests. While your job isn’t to babysit, parents and caregivers can easily become overwhelmed at big functions. Plus, if you don’t have event insurance, you may end up with a serious issue on your hands. Know what obstacles exist to keeping guests free from harm, and see that the venue makes matters of health and safety a high priority.
6. A photo-worthy environment
When it comes to events like engagements and weddings, photos and videos are two essential components that make a big impact. Thanks to social media, people love sharing their stunning photos and videos with others, so it’s important to have an outdoor venue that offers a beautiful backdrop and great lighting. In fact, it’s perfectly acceptable to choose a location based on how it will look in your professional pictures.
Don’t feel ashamed to ask the venue for the best spots for capturing picturesque moments. Depending on the type of event you’re hosting, this could be the perfect location for staged photos, a DIY photo booth, or even a cocktail hour where everyone can capture amazing shots.
Check out EventUp, the leading global venue marketplace, for your venue search. EventUp makes finding an event space of any type or size easy, whether you’re hosting a small soiree on a restaurant patio or a big blowout bash on expansive farmland. EventUp has what every event planner is looking for.