With over 125 acres of event space, Riverview Recreation Park is one of the most beautiful outdoor event venues in Southern California. It offers multiple unique settings for your event, allowing a multitude of atmospheres.
As an outdoor venue, we thought it might be helpful to share some great ways on how to make your outdoor event a success. Here are 10 helpful tips that we have learned over the years.
Offer Some Shade
Remember that, especially during the summer, an outdoor event tends to be affected by the sunlight. Try to hold your event in a shaded area, like our amphitheater or Renaissance village. Providing a great space with reprieve from the sun will allow your guests to be more comfortable.
It’s always a great idea to make sure your guests have access to non-alcoholic drinks like water, lemonade, or iced tea. Staying hydrated is an important part of an outdoor event, so make sure there’s something on-hand to help you keep cool.
Help People Stay Comfortable
Try to make sure you have a way for your guests to stay comfortable. Plenty of seating in the shade is a big one, but there are a few other tricks too. If you have a program (like you might for a wedding), make sure it’s a convenient size to be used as a fan.
We’ve also heard of some events offering alternative footwear to those who wore something inappropriate for the heat. From baskets of inexpensive flip-flops to 99 cent store slippers, offering something to help your guest’s feet is an incredibly thoughtful gesture.
Weather Can Affect Decor
If you chose to decorate with paper goods, like place cards at the dinner table, a light breeze can make a mess of things. That’s easy to prevent, though. Combine your paper goods with a decorative weight, like a ribbon-tied-rock or small branch tethered to the card.
Cut Flowers Don’t Like Heat
Some events, especially weddings and quinceañeras, tend to be decorated in floral arrangements. These beautiful additions can look especially wonderful in an outdoor, natural environment. However, they often don’t have a long shelf-life in the heat.
Try not to set your arrangements out in the sun for more than an hour before your guests arrive. Less time is better, so the closer to your guests’ arrival you can set them out, the better.
It Gets Dark At Night
When you hold your event outdoors, your light is at the mercy of the sun. If you plan on your event trailing on into the later hours, you need to make sure you have adequate lighting. We advise something that won’t ruin the ambiance. Use string lantern lights (the LED kind will avoid fire problems), “party light” strings, and other subtle lights that won’t be affected by a breeze.
Also, remember that your parking area should be well-lit. Either parking lights or flood lights should help your guests’ visibility once they’re in their cars.
Iced Cream Melts
While a summer wedding might prompt you to offer a frozen delight, it might not be the best idea. A big scoop of iced cream or gelato served up by catering staff will likely melt and pool before it gets to your guests.
Instead, consider something that either doesn’t have to be plated (like a tray of mini popsicles) or a chilled dessert that simply won’t melt, like a strawberry rhubarb fool.
Your Caterer Knows What To Do
Some foods are better kept when it’s hot, and others when it’s cold. You’ll want your menu to be prepared for the weather. Make sure you discuss your outdoor event with your caterer. He or she should be able to help you come up with a menu that won’t be affected too much by the predicted conditions.
Insects Like Fruit (And Cheese)
Fruit is a natural go-to part of a meal, especially when it’s hot out. And cheese? Well, who doesn’t like cheese? However, these two favorite appetizers don’t fare so well in the heat. Both tend to get less appealing in long exposure to sunlight. They also often attract insects that can otherwise pester your guests.
Fans Are Your Food’s Best Friend
If you plan on serving a buffet-style meal, we highly advise having a few fans nearby. Still, hot air will make your food stale and sour faster. Having air circulating in the area will keep it fresher and a little more “temperate”, which helps it stay tasty. As a bonus, it will help keep insects away.
Have A Weather Backup Plan
Let’s face it, the weather is out of your control. No matter what the meteorologists predict for the day of your event, you could be plagued by bad weather. Make sure you know what could happen and have a backup plan just in case. Walk through the plan with your event team to make sure there are no surprises.
In the event of rain or wind, you’ll need a covered location available. Thankfully, Riverview Recreation Park has several amazing spaces to take advantage of if you and your guests need shelter from an unexpected rain.
What other tips do you have for a successful outdoor event? Leave them in the comments below.