Feathery pink blossoms drift to the ground. Flowers and shrubs are ablaze with color. The birds sing merrily on your behalf. Suddenly the sky turns dark and threatening, and the heavens release a minor flood on your perfect outdoor event. Guests scatter trying to find protection from the rain but the wind searches them out, drenching all who remain.
The Perfect Outdoor Event
Outdoor events can be perfect, and then again not so perfect without a bit of extra planning. The extra planning can also save a great deal of money. Don’t assume that all event planners (such as a wedding planner) have experience with outdoor events or all venues in your area. Most event planners have superior experience with indoor events, and little or none with particular outdoor venues. If using an event planner, be sure to ask about their experience both with outdoor events and with the venue of choice.
Local Event Coordinators to the Rescue!
Most of these venues have an event coordinator who keeps track of reservations. An event coordinator provides a different type of service compared to a general event planner. For instance, an event coordinator will help with the paperwork which can include calculating fees that would be unique to the site, reviewing use guidelines (can alcohol be served?), interpreting the proof of insurance requirements, and helping with some of the basic event planning as it applies to the specific venue.
Event coordinators typically know the best, and most frequently selected, places for photos and locations for a particular number of people. They will know the little things such as how long it takes to set up a tent of a specific size, and how long it takes to break it down in the dark, how difficult or easy it will be to get trucks in and out, and other details that, if ignored, can break the bank. In general, they will know much more than a generic wedding planner about that particular locale, but may know less about the overall planning process.
Getting Everything Done in Time
The task list for any event can be enormous and task list for outdoor events can be even longer. A general wedding planner can help manage and complete many of the typical tasks. The task list for outdoor events needs to include a back-up plan that addresses, at the minimum, the weather.
Storms and rain may not be the only thing one needs to worry about. Having a spike in the temperature, and a lack of shade or adequate liquids can also cause problems for participants. The local event coordinator should be able to provide several alternatives and details about how long it takes to do certain things (such as set up or tear down a particular sized tent in the dark).
It is very important to explore all of the alternatives for an event, not only for peace of mind, but also for managing the budget. Missed planning steps can cause delays which may push the event over time. Going over the agreed upon time always costs more, and going past midnight could easily double the costs.
The other problem is that accidents and problems are more likely to occur when people get in a rush, when everyone is tired, when it is dark, and when things run late. Failing to clean up after an event can easily add another couple hundred dollars to the overall costs, and potentially lead to fines (if the location is owned by the city, for instance).
Avoid Extra Costs and Problems!
Working closely with the venue’s event coordinator can help avoid these extra costs and problems. Their advice and assistance is typically included as part of the original fees. They can help save a great deal of money and avoid even more anguish and frustration.
Their goal is different from a regular event planner, who is primarily focused on the event itself. The local event coordinators are often personally dedicated to the locale and feel strongly about protecting the site while creating the best event ever. Be sure to take advantage of their knowledge, skills, and experience for your next outdoor event!