The temperature is climbing, birds are chirping at an earlier hour each day, and there is a palpable sense of relief in the air. That can only mean one thing: it is finally summertime.
For many, after a year spent mostly indoors, the perfect way to celebrate summer is with an outdoor party. Sunshine, a fresh breeze and the scent of flowers wafting from a nearby bush – it’s the stuff summer dreams are made of.
Planning an outdoor event isn’t trickier than organizing an indoor one, per se, but it does require a few special considerations. This post won’t touch on the granular aspects of throwing together an outdoor bash (the permits and ordinances, etc.).Instead, let’s look at a few ways to make your outdoor gathering as dazzling, gratifying and memorable as possible.
Weather-Wise: Choose the Best, Plan for the Worst
As far in advance as possible, consult a weather app. Long-term forecasts are often unreliable, but they are the best resource you have. Look at historical temperatures and precipitation, and choose a day you believe carries some sense of weather-related security. If you have the luxury of planning a last-minute event that is a week or two away, pick a day according to the more accurate two-week forecasts online.
Once you’ve chosen the best date, plan for the worst. Leave wiggle room in the budget for tent rentals and heat lamps (depending on the season). Find a spot abutting a wall, hill or escarpment for decent wind cover. And plan for plenty of refreshments in case it gets too hot.
Find a Crowd-Pleasing Caterer with Outdoor Event Experience
Food is the heart and soul of an outdoor party. The Italians even have a term for the vibrancy, conviviality and cheeriness of an outdoor meal: al fresco.
To make sure your food is as vibrant and cheery as its outdoor surroundings, hire a crowd-pleasing caterer with experience serving outdoor events. You want a company that arrives coordinated, prepared and ready with delicious food. For inspiration, take a look at Mcewancatering.com – they have a video on their site of a Gairloch Gardens dinner that looks like it’s straight from a fairy tale. A delicious, countryside French fairy tale, that is.
Lighting Should Be Both Functional and Aesthetic
Lighting plays a dual role at an outdoor event: beauty and function. On the one hand, lighting should indicate walkways, obstacles and areas of interest. Once the sun sets, you want your guests to safely, easily find their way around.
On the other hand, lights are an excellent opportunity to add flair and elegance. Better Homes and Gardens has an excellent article about lighting outdoor events. In it, they suggest several styles to choose from, depending on your theme and preferred ambience.
Besides the three tips above, just remember to lean into your outdoor theme. Accentuate the floral, natural aspects of the great outdoors with plenty of plants. Choose natural elements like wood, linen and wicker to decorate tables. And embrace the sunshine with light, bright colours.