Outdoor Event Planning: a 10-Step Checklist

When the weather is good, we like to stay outdoors longer. So, it’s no surprise that outdoor social events are so popular.

However, as fun as outdoor events are, planning one is not easy. There are many factors you’ll need to consider before you send out those invites.

Outdoor Event Planning

Throw away your worries with this 10 step checklist for planning your outdoor event.

Choose the Location Wisely

We often stumble upon beautiful locations and think “hey, this place will be great”. But choosing a location is not that simple. Only after asking the following questions should you settle on a location:

Is the location hard to find?

If the location is too far away, many guests will opt out of the event. If it’s difficult to find, they’ll have to go through a lot of hassle.

What amenities are available?

If the place has no bathroom or shaded areas or nowhere to sit, you will have to provide those. In that case, the event will become expensive.

How accessible is the location?

Choosing a place on top of a mountain is a bad idea. If the place is on rocky terrain, moving about will be difficult for people in wheelchairs, elder citizens and parents with infants. Consider your audience.

Consider Weather Unpredictability

You can’t control nature. Even after the weather reports promise you a sunny day, it might start pouring with rain out of nowhere.

Don’t let the weather dampen the mood. Choose a location that has additional indoor areas so that in the case of a sudden change in the weather, people can find shelter indoors.

Even if your event heavily depends on outdoor activities, keep some backup indoor alternatives ready.

Find the Best Way to “Power Up”

In any outdoor event, you will need access to electricity for your lights, sound system, and other electronic devices.

If the location doesn’t come with an indoor facility with an electricity supply, find an alternative power solution. The most common option is using a generator.

Generators will keep all your electronics powered up. You have to keep it in a safe, dry and covered location, to avoid accidents.

However, what will happen if your generator fails? This is where the diesel generator synchronization process comes in as a game-changer. This process uses two generators in sync which is great in case one of them fails.

What Facilities Will You Provide?

Ensuring your guests are comfortable is the top priority. Their number one requirement is usually accessible washrooms.

Hot weather will make people thirsty which will lead them to drink a lot of water. If the venue doesn’t have enough or any washrooms, you should provide portable toilets according to the number of guests.

Prepare a private area for baby care, such as diaper changing or breastfeeding.

Another important factor is the water supply. Whether it’s for cleaning up or drinking, every event needs water. For a location without access to water fountains, you’ll need to provide water.

Renting water coolers are a great option as buying bottled water can be expensive and not environmentally-friendly.

Pest Defense

The outdoors, especially during the summer, will be filled with insects. If the bugs are constantly bothering your guests, they won’t be able to enjoy the event.

You can find aromatic incense that can repel insects. Burning these will keep the bugs away.

Citronella oil is well known for repelling bugs, especially mosquitoes. You can find citronella tiki torches that are used to repel mosquitoes outdoors.

You can also splash the guests with a perfumed oil at the entrance or spray it around the area before the guests arrive.

Let The Guests Know What to Expect

Before the event, give your guests an idea of what they can expect. This way, they can come prepared for the event.

For example, if your venue doesn’t have as much shade, suggest bringing parasols. If there aren’t as many sitting areas, suggest that they bring their own picnic blankets.

If your event is during autumn or spring, it might get cold after dark. Ask your guests to come prepared with layers.

Choose Food Accordingly

Choose the food for the event according to the type of event it is and the amenities you’ll be providing.

If you serve food that requires sitting down and use of cutlery, you’ll have to provide tables. In a casual event, you might serve easy to eat food like hot dogs, etc.

A formal event means your caterers might require an indoor area for preparing or arranging the food you ordered. Talk it out with your caterers about what they might need to make the food you’ve asked for.

Get Enough Help

If you are short-staffed, preparing the venue for the event will take a long time. You’ll require a lot of help before, during and after the event to make sure it runs smoothly.

Consider the size of the venue and the number of guests before taking on staff. Assign people tasks and, if possible, put someone in charge of a group covering a certain assignment.

Things May Not Go As Planned

Understand that things may not go without hiccups. Be mentally prepared for any issues and be prepared to improvise.

No event is ever perfect and problems will occur. How you handle them will ensure whether your event is a hit or miss.

Prepare For Post Event Clean Up

Have you seen the mess after the Times Square New Year’s Eve event? People are going to make a mess. We just have to accept the fact.

The degree of the mess will depend on the number of people attending. The use of paper cups and plates is also a factor.

Provide trash cans to minimize your post-event clean up. Have a team prepared to clean right after the guests leave.

You can also hire a few people who will keep an eye on any mess during the event. They can clean up the cups and plates right after the guests leave them somewhere. This will reduce your after-event cleanup time.


Outdoor events are not as difficult to arrange as one might think. Following this 10-step checklist will ensure that you have covered all angles.

Even if things don’t go exactly as you planned, you can always make the event memorable. Keep an open mind about any possible issues and improvise your way through the trouble.

As long as you consider the checklist above, you can have a successful and memorable outdoor event. Good luck!