Planning the Perfect Outdoor Event

11 November 2016

It’s that time of year again! The sun is shining and the weather is warming which means it’s time for an outdoor event!

At End2End Events, we know that Canberrans love a good outdoor event.

From Picnics in the park to Christmas parties, the beauty of the outdoors in an idyllic setting can often seem like the perfect venue.

But all too often, things go wrong. Outdoor events mean dealing with the forces of nature – which are out of our control. Which means if we take the time to acknowledge the things that might ruin our big day out, we can create a plan to avoid or recover from them if the need arises.

Here are Six things to plan for at your next big outdoor event…

Weather Changes

This is arguably the biggest concern people have when preparing for an outdoor event.

In the days leading up to it, the weather is beautiful and sunny. And then, on the day, you’re staring at black storm clouds and trying to escape from 40km/hr winds. Or (and sometimes worse), it’s a 39-degree day!

There are two ideal ways to plan around this, and it won’t hurt to have both ready to go:

  1. Create temporary shelter.

Hire or buy a bunch of marquees, gazebos and outdoor shelters. You can generally find these at a local event hire shop, or if you are willing to invest in them you can buy them online.

You might also like to consider a bucket of cheap umbrellas at your disposal.

  1. Have an indoor space ready to go.

It may not be the perfect space, but you must have a place you can go if everything turns south on the day.

If you’re planning a wedding on the beach, book the local surf club.

If you’re planning a budget event in a park, then consider your local community centre or a large restaurant as a back-up.

If you’re planning a corporate Christmas party, look at large local venues or meeting rooms in the area.

Paying a deposit on a backup venue can be fairly inexpensive, and if the weather is great you can cancel. You will lose your deposit, but if the weather is terrible, it’ll be the best money you’ve ever spent!

Complaints and Permits

There are regulations about planning outdoor events, and you will often need to get pre-approval from the local council before setting up.

Whether or not you need approval depends on how many people you are going to have, how long you intend to stay, and whether you want to put up any structures (such as marquees and gazebos!).

Do a Google search for your intended space, or ring your local council and ask. In Canberra, you can visit The National Capital Authority website.


Outdoor spaces present greater dangers to your guests than (most) indoor ones. So it’s in your best interest to thoroughly suss out your space in advance.

Get to know the area, and look for anything that could be a danger to your guests.

On the day, you can put up “Watch for …” signs, or rope off dangerous areas with a bit of caution tape.

This may seem over-the-top, but there has been a rise in the number of lawsuits where guests have sued organisers when hurting themselves. And the best way to avoid this happening is to show that you took every reasonable action in helping the person avoid their injury.


This could fall under weather and dangers, but we think it’s important enough to get its own category.

Most people use plastic plates, cups and cutlery in an outdoor setting. But if you want to create a stylish and elegant feel, plastic is not an ideal choice.

On the other hand, glass breaks and can be a danger to your guests; particularly on a windy day when champagne glasses have a habit of falling like dominos!

Think outside the square on this one, and investigate “unbreakable glassware”. Companies like The Outdoor Table make specially-designed products for outdoor entertaining (so they look great, and don’t break!).

Bad food

Heat and wind are enemies of tasty food. Not only does it dry it out and taste awful, but it can be a breeding ground for salmonella and cause your guests to become very sick.

As with unbreakable outdoor table wear, you can also investigate a range of options for keeping your food covered and cool.

Food covering nets have been a popular choice for years, and while they keep the insects away, they do little to protect the food from the elements.

If it’s a warm day, ice will be your best friend. Have plenty of ice buckets on hand and someone willing to do ice runs throughout the day. You can layer ice under food (such as seafood), or within large sealed bags under plates of sandwiches.

Some online stores even sell table-long food tents, so all the food can be placed in the tent. And with scattered ice to keep it cool, your guests will be enjoying good food for hours.

If you’re really worried, consider hiring a caterer to take care of it for you. They own commercial-grade equipment that will keep the food protected for the whole event.


Here are a few logistical considerations to make before your event day:

  • Can people easily find, and get to, your event space? Is there parking? Consider putting a map on the back of your invitation.
  • Can you easily carry tables, chairs, marquees and so on to your ideal spot?
  • Is the ground level or hilly? How can you place things to ensure comfort and safety?
  • Are you planning to have music at your event? How are you going to connect to electricity if required?
  • Do you need lighting?


And those are our top six things to watch out for when planning your next outdoor event! If you plan to plan for all in advance, you’ll be on your way to creating the most memorable event of the outdoor season.

And if you need any help, don’t hesitate to call us on 02 6280 9356 or complete the contact form below.



Planning the Perfect Outdoor Event


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