Beautiful Outdoor Events - Host your own stunning outdoor event

By+Kelly Lenard, owner/designer of Intertwine

I love the excitement I feel when invited to an outdoor event.  I grew up in the Midwest, playing in fields and running through forests. Nature has always been my playground, full of adventure, magic, and mystery.  What better place to host an event? The great outdoors is a wonder; soft summer breezes, surreal sunsets, and the twilight twinkling of fireflies are just part of the enchantment. The fresh air and open space brings a feeling of escape and freedom that one just can’t get from an indoor gathering. The beauty of a well-orchestrated outdoor event is something that stays with you and your guests long after the party is over. 

Being prepared for less than blissful possibilities will help to make your event a success.  Here are some of the basics:  

- Have a backup plan for rain. Whether it’s a tent, house, pavilion, or a garage, if the forecast calls for stormy skies, you need to be prepared.

- Have the grounds sprayed for bugs. You can also use pest-repelling candles and have extra bug spray on hand for guests. Keep food covered or indoors (especially sweets and mayonnaise-based foods). 

- Prior to the party, discuss your site plans with all of your vendors so that everyone can coordinate their efforts.

- Temperature control is also very important in keeping guests content. Be sure to have fans or portable air conditioners on hand if the weather calls for excessive heat. Keep your attendees hydrated by having water and beverages easily accessible. For chilly nights, heating lamps, blankets, and extra jackets are a must.   

- Make sure that there are enough restrooms for the amount of guests in attendance.  

- Develop a plan for electricity and rent a generator if needed. Check with all vendors to see what their power requirements are for food, music, lighting, etc.

- Look into the local rules and regulations. Are there any noise ordinances, time constraints, call before you dig requirements, specific fire and safety codes, or permits needed? Careful research can help you avoid unwanted fines.

Once you have the basic fundamentals down, you’ll want to think about the style of your event.  Whether you are going for country, classic, or anything in between there are a few tips that can help your outdoor design plans succeed.  

- If using flowers for centerpieces, be sure to choose hardy blooms that are heat resistant. Dahlias, zinnias, sunflowers, daisies, orchids, lilies, and roses all hold up well in hot weather.  Potted plants also make great table decorations. Plus, they can then be planted or given as guest favors after the event. Consider placing them in unique and unexpected containers. Vintage glassware, tea tins, wooden crates and boxes add a stylish twist to regular floral pots. 

- Style your summer soiree with the bounty of the season in mind. Use flowers and plants that are available locally.  Choose colors that are fresh, inviting, and reflect your natural surroundings. Popular trends include mixing modern patterns with vintage elements and decorating “eco-chic” (stylish design with earth friendly materials). 

- Consider using patterned or textured linens for visual interest. Lace, rosette, burlap, pintuck, stripes, and decorative designs add personality to your event. 

- If out in the open, situate tables under trees wherever possible. This offers guests some shade and also allows you to hang décor overhead.  

- For evening events, use lighting to create an alluring atmosphere. Hang lanterns, candle jars, or chandeliers from low branches. String globe lights over tables and dance floors.  Illuminate walkways to direct your guests. To completely transform the ambiance in tents and outdoor spaces consider professional uplighting for a magical effect. 

- Be prepared for wind. Avoid paper products and lightweight centerpieces. If there is excessive wind, you also may want to secure the edges of your tablecloths. 

- Set up stations where guests can help themselves to water, tea, and lemonade. Use glass dispensers with fresh cut fruit inside to add flavor and flair to otherwise ordinary drinks.  Incorporate striped or decorative straws for fun and chic beverages.

Create cozy outdoor seating by renting or repurposing indoor furniture. Style the pieces to create an open-air “room”.  These welcoming and unexpected spaces are great areas for your guests to relax and mingle.  Add throw pillows in your color scheme and place floral arrangements on side tables to keep your theme running throughout your event.

If the thought of hosting an outdoor event seems like an overwhelming task, you may want to hire professional help. Event planners and designers can take the stress off your shoulders by coordinating and styling all the details. Event rental companies can also help you build an outdoor event from the ground up. 

Let’s face it, in our busy, often indoor lives it can be hard to make time for outside fun. So give your friends and family an occasion to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather in style.  Whether your event is big or small, a black tie affair or a backyard barbecue, gather your nearest and dearest and venture outdoors.


Event styling, floral & photography by Intertwine

Chair, place settings & linens provided by Burns Rent-Alls