Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Outdoor Events

Outdoor events in Chicago are what we live for. Because winter is so long and dreary it's nice to be outside whenever possible. So why not throw your next event under the sky!

We've made a list of 6 things you should keep in mind when planning an outdoor event:

1. Time of year
Now if you live in Chicago, this one is a given, but there are many things to think about when picking a date: weather, hours of natural light, and wind to name a few. Take into consideration average temperatures for any particular time of year. But, you must always keep in mind that weather in Chicago is rarely predictable and can change faster than you can blink!

2. Location
Location also has a lot to do with weather. If you are near the lake you must take wind into serious consideration, more so than if you were not. It is also very important for other reasons: Be sure the location you choose has areas of shade if your event is during the summer months and areas to warm up if you chose an event date during the Spring or Fall. I would suggest walking the ground before your event and definitely make sure all animal waste is removed prior to your event. It's also a good idea to take measurements of the area you will be in just in case something changes last minute you can always be sure that what you are adjusting is going to fit!

3. Food
For summer months keep your serving sizes smaller and serve cooler menu items, make sure there are plenty drink options for guests to stay hydrated. During the spring and fall months serve warmer foods to help keep your guests comfortable, it is also okay to increase portion sizes a bit during these months.

4. Light/Power
Be sure that when the sun goes down you have the power source to light your event. Go green by using candles to light all or part of your event - but make sure that they're protected from wind. If you're going to use light bulbs of some sort make sure that your venue has sufficient outlets and in convenient locations so that you can light all areas to the desired level. Keeping the lights dimmer helps to save on energy usage/costs and it sets a very romantic mood! The lanterns pictured below are great and come in so many fun colors!

5. Bugs
Bugs stink! But they can be controlled if you think ahead. The Botanic Bug Deterrent works over a large area and is safe on the environment, which we love! Another reason we like it is because no bugs are harmed. If the BBD is out of your price range having sufficient citronella candles on hand can make all the difference. You may also choose to use a bug zapper (which, in our opinion, is kind of unappetizing!), or other technique to rid bugs of your area. Whatever method you use, be sure it works. Bugs are the last thing you want to steal your show!

6. Have a Backup Plan!
This is very important. If you're throwing a BBQ or backyard party make sure your house has room enough to fit all guests comfortably. If you're using a venue around town work with your planner to ensure there is a plan if the weather does not cooperate. Have an inside location that is dedicated solely to your event. Most venues include a small, inside area with the purchase of an outdoor one but it is always good to make this clear during the negotiations and in your event contract.

Did you have an outdoor event recently? If so, let us know how your planning went and what advice you found helpful!

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