Hall’s Septic Services Inc.
  • Phone: 410-838-0046410-838-0046 

    Fax: 410-836-3534
    1410 N Tucker Road, Street, MD 21154
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    Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    Outdoor Event Planning Checklist & Coordination Tips

    Outdoor Event Venues & Planning TipsIn comparison to planning an indoor event, outdoor event planning typically takes a little more effort and forethought. Although outdoor events allow flexibility and creativity, it has its trade-offs as there are more details to take into consideration.


    But, don’t stress. Hall’s Septic Services is here to help. Follow these tips to help your outdoor event planning process go as smooth as possible.

    #1 – Choosing a Venue – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    When searching for the perfect venue for your outdoor event, consider one that has an indoor space option as well. This can help alleviate some of the challenges you may face when it comes to unexpected weather issues.


    Will your venue accommodate your guest count? While venue hunting, be sure to think about your expected guest count. If your event venue is too big for your event, you can use a partition to recreate the space size. If your event is by invite only, request that your attendees RSVP by sending an invitation back by a specific date. In many cases, you will probably have to follow up with attendees who forget to RSVP, so be sure to give yourself enough time to get a final count.


    Cater to your target audience. Choose a venue that will meet the demographics of your audience. Think about their income, what their likes and dislikes are, what their tastes and needs are, etc. These factors will aide in making sure your attendees feel comfortable at your outdoor event venue.


    Is the venue location convenient for your guests? The number of people that will attend may come down to whether or not the event venue location is in proximity to where your guests live or work. If your event will supply guests with alcohol, you may also want to take transportation into consideration. Don’t have guests drink and drive, provide them with free or cheap transportation options.


    How much experience does the venue have? Their level of experience can greatly impact the event. Ask them for past pictures of events, layout options and references. Meet with the staff to determine if their personality will fit your event needs and to determine how accommodating they are. Ask them details such as ratio of servers to guests, their event attire, their hours of service, what aspects of the event they will take care of, such as decorating, set-up or tear-down.


    Does the venue have any restrictions that could affect your decision to book them? Restrictions may or may not be limited to what can and can’t be decorated, photography/videography, alcohol sales, bringing in outside food or even caterers. Some event venues have preferred caterers that you’re required to use.


    Ask the venue for a list of associated fees. Are tables, chairs and linens included in the fee? Do you need to rent porta potties? What is the liability coverage? What is the corkage fee and is the liquor license valid and up-to-date? What is the price range for a plated dinner, or what is the cost per person for a buffet? Are there bartending and bar set up fees? What is the payment schedule, refund and cancellation policy?


    Choosing an event venue is one of the most important decisions in planning an event. Your venue will set the whole tone for your event. Do your research and ask as many questions as possible before making a final decision.


    Appropriate Permits


    Once the event site is chosen, this should be the first thing you do. Avoid having your outdoor event shut down by contacting the correct authorities and obtaining proper permits.


    Common Types of Permits for Special Events:


    • Food Permits
      • If you intend to sell, serve, give away, or sample food or consumable products, a temporary food sponsor permit may need to be obtained. If there will be other food vendors at your event, they will also need to have a temporary food vendor permit. Public safety features, such as hand-washing sinks, will need to be included for food handling requirements.
      • Outdoor event planning requires special considerations, especially with catering and event food services.
        • Think about the weather
        • Choose the best tents. Tents will provide protection for the food from the hot summer sun, from spring rain and from strong winds. Food and dessert tables should be secured to the ground to avoid any unpredictable scenarios.
        • Ensure food safety. Choosing a caterer who has experience with catering outdoor events will be very beneficial. They will be able to help you decide what food is best for guests and will know how to keep it fresh. Food that is left out in the heat too long is harmful.
        • Choosing utensils. If wind is expected, it’s probably not a good idea to use paper plates or plastic cutlery. Heavy dishes and cutlery will ensure the food remains on the table, or plan a menu that’s tailored to finger foods and portable consumption.
        • Food transportation. Think about how the food will be transported to the venue. Warmers and heat lamps will help keep the food warm and as fresh as possible. Ice is a necessity, especially with outdoor events scheduled during the height of summer’s heat.
        • Keep guests hydrated. Serve refreshing drinks such as iced tea, lemonade or cucumber water. The time of the year will affect the food and drinks you serve.
      • Alcohol Use Permit
        • Depending on the location of the event, you may be required to not only have an alcohol permit, but even a letter of authorization to serve alcohol. Different venues will have different policies and even restrictions as to how alcohol is managed.
      • Tents or Canopy Structure Permits
        • Onsite inspections may be required due to size, complexity and safety issues to determine if a permit will be needed.
      • Temporary Use Permit
        • This type of permit applies to the use of private property and can allow certain uses, for limited time periods, in location where the uses would not typically be approved.
      • Electrical Permit
        • If you need to supply electrical power via electric generators or by connecting to existing permanent electrical systems, you may be required to obtain an electrical permit.
      • Fireworks/Special Effects Permit
        • Activities associated with open flames may need to be reviewed for approval. Whether It be fireworks, lasers, or any other special effects, each may have a different permit needed.
      • Sidewalk/Street Activities Permit
        • A permit will be needed for any type of activity that takes place on the street/sidewalk/plaza, regardless of size and duration. Examples of activities that require permits: couponing, sampling, collateral or any free giveaways.


    Outdoor Event Logistics & Planning Tips


    #2 – Logistics – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    Hold a planning meeting at the venue with all your suppliers/vendors to coordinate the logistics of your outdoor event. Logistics may include loading and unloading, parking, timing, floor layouts, power arrangements, lighting, security, crew, portable toilet rentals, etc. Hashing out these details well in advance can keep the planning process from getting too overwhelming.

    Commonly Missed Event Planning Details:

    • Food
      • Allergies & Food Preferences: Determine if there are any guests who have food allergies, or preferences such as vegan, gluten free, etc. and plan the event catering appropriate to ensure options and food safety for everyone.
      • Food for Vendors and Volunteers: Don’t forget to feed any staff or volunteers that are helping you pull off your event. They’ll be working hard, so it’s important to keep their energy levels up.
    • Dollies & Hand Trucks
      • If you are moving heavy items, have one of these items handy to help.
    • Day-of Timeline
      • When it comes to day-of schedules, there are typically two. One that attendees will see and one for the event team. Share timelines with all involved to ensure a smooth process.
    • Printed Master Sheet
      • A master sheet should include contact information for all vendors and exhibitors and Wi-Fi passwords.
    • Name Tags
      • These are helpful for attendees, sponsors, and volunteers and will allow easy networking.
    • Emergency Kit
      • Expect the unexpected and be prepared. Showing preparation of an emergency kit can put your staff’s minds at ease. Here are some ideas as to what you can include: scissors, pens, tape, notepad, first aid kit, Clorox pen, Ibuprofen, etc. It’s also wise to notify local emergency responders of your event. They may choose to have medical and/or police personnel attend for event safety and prevention.
    • Charging Stations
      • This will be a huge convenience for attendees and provide an added benefit for your organization. Setting up charging stations with tables and power cords can enable continuous social media coverage and photography for your event.
    • Porta Potties
      • If you need porta potty rentals, be sure to rent accordingly to properly facilitate your guest count. The last thing you want is for your guests to be standing in a never-ending portable toilet line. And let’s be honest, that’s the last thing your guests want too.
    • Security
      • As the organizer of an event, you’re going to be faced with abundant challenges, and safety should be a main concern. Outdoor events usually cover a much bigger area than indoor events, which requires more planning and depending on the type of crowd, more advanced security.
    • Walkie-Talkies
      • Yes, cell phones work too, but walkie-talkies can allow you to add several people to a conversation or situation at once. This is extremely helpful if any issues occur and you’ll need to communicate with staff members.
    • Confirm Volunteers
      • Be sure to verify volunteer attendance, as well as their roles and responsibilities in the days leading up to the event. Consistent attention to this can mitigate whether or not your short-handed at event time.
    • Survey your Attendees
      • Don’t forget to survey your attendees within one week after the event. This is important because you’re able to gather honest feedback as to what worked, what didn’t, and how you can improve your next event. It shows that their opinions matter while alerting them to the fact that another event will occur.



    Outdoor Event Weather Planning Tips


    #3 – Monitor the weather – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    The biggest reason outdoor events get canceled is due to inclement weather. Begin monitoring the weather as far in advance as possible. Have a “plan B” in case of precipitation and an alternative layout if a tent or some sort of shelter will be needed.

    • Weather Insurance
      • Rain insurance protects all outdoor events from lost profits due to incidences of rain. The most common events are fairs, festivals, golf tournaments, air shows, art festivals, concerts, tv & commercial filming, corporate functions, sporting events and many more.
    • Types of outdoor events
      • Concerts
        • Extend Lead Time
          • Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need to get things lined up.
        • Save money, think local
          • Between travel, transportation and lodging costs, it all adds up. Opt for a local act.
        • Know your audience
          • Find out who is popular in your area and what is trending. You want to give your audience what they want to hear.
        • Choose an appropriate venue
          • Pick a venue with enough space to comfortably house all the guests, but small enough that it’ll look like a sold out show. Take into consideration acoustics and space for on-staff sound engineers.
        • Rent the right stage
          • If you can’t find a venue that has everything you’re looking for, especially a stage, you’ll need to rent one. Make sure you get one that can safely support the event’s activities.
        • Get insurance
          • Event insurance will protect you if anything goes wrong, such as a stage mishap or crowd crush. Any contracted workers or entertainment should also have proper insurance.
        • Check schedules
          • Make sure there are no scheduling conflicts, such as another local concert that may steal ticket sales from you.
        • Research permits
          • If you’re planning to have your event in a public space, like a park, you’ll probably need to obtain a permit.
        • Promote
          • Put the word out on social media, radio, newspaper ads, flyers, etc.
        • Have a weather plan
          • Arrange for a weather plan that easily lets you move things to an alternate date or location.
      • Weddings
        • Make your guests comfortable
          • Think about what the weather will be like at the time of day and month of the year of your outdoor wedding. If it will be sunny and hot, give guests ice-cold bottles of water as they’re being seated. Make your programs into wedding fans so guests can cool themselves. If it will be cool and damp, be sure to tell guests to wear extra layers. Renting portable heaters would also be a great idea.
        • Have a backup plan
          • What if it rains? If there is an indoor location at your venue, move the event indoors. If that is not an option, consider renting a tent.
        • Plan for wind
          • Many outdoor weddings suffer from windy conditions. Avoid light fabrics such as chiffon in your dress and bridesmaid dresses. Have your hairdresser style your hair for the weather so you don’t have Einstein’s hair in your wedding photos.
        • Sound
          • Make sure everybody can hear the wedding proceedings. Consider renting a sound system with clip mikes for the bride, groom and officiant.
        • Décor
          • Natural beauty surrounds outdoor weddings, but you’ll still want to ensure the grounds are well kept and flowers are blooming. Maybe plan for rented structures such as arbors or gazebos.
        • Food
          • Make sure your caterer is planning a menu that will keep well outdoors in the heat, avoid dishes that could spoil quickly.
        • Quench their thirst
          • Consider serving your guests a variety of lemonades, teas or punches instead of a bunch of alcohol that is dehydrating.
        • Bugs
          • Put out citronella candles so your guests won’t be swatting at bugs the whole time. Maybe even consider paying to pre-treat the area with a pest/extermination service.
        • Permits
          • Be sure you have approval for your location if needed.


        • Sporting Event
          • Boost community spirit
            • Garner the support of the local residents and businesses. Create an advertising campaign that ties in the community, or even shows how you plan to give back to a local organization from event proceeds.
          • Create stunning visuals
            • Entice your attendees by creating branded visual displays like tents, flag, banners, balloons, etc.
          • Get insured
            • Consider insurance that covers your contests and prize giveaways.
          • Find a sponsor
            • Partner with the right business that can help defray some of the event costs, but also draw a larger audience.

          • Market
            • Create a theme that will excite an audience, tie in local media members to advertise, and use social media to get the word out.
        • Music Festival
          • You will need a lot of technical equipment and logistical support to keep the live music running smoothly.
            • Stage, lighting equipment, sound equipment, and stagehands.
          • Give yourself plenty of time to plan
            • There are a lot of players and aspects involved. Arrange bands, vendors, and the venue. Plan your marketing initiative and how you’ll sell tickets to the event.
          • Plan your space
            • A fair amount of space will be needed between stages, backstage areas, catering vans, vendor stands and porta potty rentals.
          • Budget for artists
            • Don’t spend your total budget on one huge artist, you want enough entertainment for your festival-goers. Try having a mix of unsigned, local talent, up-and-coming bands, and then a big name (if budget allows). Be sure to poll the surrounding communities to learn the best mix of music that’ll draw the crowds to your event.
          • Permits
            • If your festival will be held on public land, you’ll probably need a permit from the city. Do your research and get appropriate permits to prevent your event from being shut down.
          • Porta Potty Rentals
            • Festivals typically don’t have standard restrooms, therefore, you’ll probably need to rent porta potties. Portable hand washing stations and portable handi wipe stations are also great to consider for your festival as they will provide extra sanitation for your festival-goers.
          • Entrance
            • How will attendees enter? Will they be given wristbands, handstamps or by using a ticket? Wristbands are a popular choice when it comes to festivals lasting more than one day or requiring age identification.
          • Security
            • Music festivals can be pricey. Hire enough security to watch for those fence hoppers and shoplifters, providing peace of mind to your paying vendors. Also fests attract a mix of crowds, extra security will help keep everyone safe and manage problems quickly.
          • Other entertainment
            • When there is downtime between sets, make sure you’ve made other entertainment arrangements; art, dance shows, magicians, comedy acts, etc. Don’t forget to appoint or hire an MC.
          • The essentials
            • Don’t overlook these other important aspects; food, drinks, bathrooms, first aid, trash/recycling points.
        • Block Party
          • Size and scope
            • Determine how many people you can realistically host. Townships may limit your attendance levels to comply with safety codes and regulations.
          • Timeline
            • Once the date and venue are confirmed, check local community calendars to avoid conflicts.
          • Policies & permits
            • Apply for and comply with a city’s application requirements to hold an event on public property (closing a street). A permit will be needed if the event involves a public park, alcohol consumption and sound-amplifying equipment.
          • RSVP’s
            • Enforce a deadline to obtain a head count so you can determine how much food and beverage you’ll need.
          • Rentals
            • You may need to rent tents, tables, chairs, portable restrooms, grills, coolers, etc. Research rental fees and services to find the best deal.
          • Sanitation
            • If you are expecting a large group and the area doesn’t have accessible restrooms, your best bet is porta potty rentals and wash stations.
          • Food and beverages
            • Coordinate a community sign-up sheet for volunteers to bring certain food or beverages. If that isn’t possible, you may need to enlist the help of a caterer.
        • Beer Fest
          • Get permission
            • Obtain necessary permits to put on an event of this size and for the distribution of alcohol.
          • Location
            • Location is crucial. Also, make sure the venue is large enough to hold the amount of guests you’re expecting. For a summer beer fest, consider an outdoor location, but one that can offer shade to the beer vendor tables.
          • More than beer
            • Besides the obvious beer, you’ll need food vendors as well. Food trucks are an easy and trendy way to offer your guests food to help soak up the alcohol. If it’s a hot summer day, stock up on H2O.
          • Important guests
            • Hiring entertainment will give your guests something to do in between tastings. Hire security to keep the event and attendees safe and under control.
        • Company Picnics
          • Pick a location
            • Since it will be outdoors, pick somewhere with a great environment. Check with a local park, outdoor sports complex, amusement park, outside at your company site, etc.
          • Choose a theme
            • Having a theme makes it that much more fun!
              • Theme ideas: circus, casino, costume, fiesta, luau, sports, western
            • Decide on a menu
              • Your menu should match your theme. What fits best with your theme? Pig roast or BBQ? Caribbean or Tacos? Have fun with it! Fun foods such as cotton candy, sno cones, and ice cream trucks should not be overlooked.
            • Plan activities
              • Activities can include painters, photo booths, dunk tanks, sports activities, etc.
            • Rent equipment
              • Depending upon location, you may need to rent tables, chairs, tents, porta potty rentals, etc.


    Outdoor Event Amenities & Planning Tips

    #4 – Provide Guests with Proper Amenities – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    If guests aren’t comfortable at your event, chances are they’ll have a hard time enjoying themselves. Here are some necessities you should have available to your guests: water or other beverages, sunscreen, bug spray, first aid kits, and depending upon temperature, either light blankets or fans.


    Outdoor Event Rentals & Planning Tips

    #5 – Rentals – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    Events require the use of a lot of different items, and some of them may not be included with your venue. Getting to pick all the things that go into your event, bringing your vision to life, will be a fun part of the planning process.

    The most common rentals

    Outdoor Event Sanitation & Planning Tips

    • Tents
    • Tables (dining and cocktail)
    • Chairs
    • Linens
    • Plates
    • Glasses
    • Beverage dispensers
    • Cutlery
    • Heaters or fans
    • Lighting and sound equipment
    • Dance floors
    • Furniture
    • Décor
    • Transportation
    • Portable Restrooms


    #6 – Sanitation – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    We have a lot of experience in this department and can provide some excellent tips. First of all, this is one area where you do not want be unprepared! Poorly planned sanitation, from missing trash cans to too few restroom options, can sink even the best outdoor events in epic fashion. Providing adequate and sanitary facilities will make your guests and crew happy, and your outdoor event run smoothly.


    If public restrooms aren’t available and you need to rent porta potties, keep these factors in mind:


    Outdoor Event Clean Up Tips

    • Location: Place porta potty rentals where they are easily accessible and on a level and dry ground. Ideally, 40 or 50 feet at maximum from truck access.
    • Quantity: As a general rule, make sure you have at least 1 porta potty per each 50 event attendees, especially if the event involves food and alcohol.
    • Model: Porta potty rentals are available for different types of audience’s. Determine the type of audience your event will attract and make sure your porta potty rentals will cater to your guests needs. Different types may include: the standard portable potty, flushable portable potty, handicap porta potty, or one that has a baby changing station. Once you determine the types you need, you can then determine the quantity.
    • Cleanliness: Provide your guests with a clean environment. If your portable potty rental does not include hand washing sinks or hand sanitizers, don’t worry, you can rent those separately. Halls Septic Services offers portable hand washing stations, small and large, as well as a portable handi wipe station. Also, assign an attendant to make sure all portable restrooms have enough toilet paper at all times.
    • Ventilation: To avoid health risks, be sure your porta potty rentals have proper ventilation. Plumbing vents and vents in the walls and floor are necessary.
    • Trash: If supplying your own trash receptacles, always err on the side of excess, if there are too little or they’re spread too far apart, you may end up with a mess of littered grounds and overflowing receptacles.
    • Recycling: Same rule applies with recycling contains as trash receptacles, more is better. Adequate recycling bins will keep glass and plastic from ending up in the trash containers.


    #7 – Event Cleanup – Outdoor Event Planning Tips

    Clean up efforts should be discussed in advance. Assigning a crew from the get go will eliminate any confusion as to who is responsible for what at the end of the event. Depending on your venue, failure to properly clean up may result in a fines and/or loss of any deposits.

    Cleanup Checklist

    • Restrooms
      • Restrooms require janitorial service before, during and after the event to keep your patrons content and facilities hygienic. If renting portable restrooms, be sure to discuss what’s expected with cleanup and collection.
    • Floor Care
      • Most facilities are composed of spaces with different kinds of flooring. Some have carpet, tile, concrete, wood, or even grass if it’s an outdoor event. Tile floors will need to be waxed, carpet vacuumed, concrete washed down, and waste picked up from the grass; prepare for your venue’s floor type.
    • Waste Management
      • Keep inside and outside areas of your venue litter-free; it’ll create a professional and sanitary appearance for your venue. Recycle plastic, bottles and paper into proper bins.


    Event planning is no easy task, and this most certainly holds true when it comes to planning an outdoor event. Planning an outdoor event brings even more challenges and may require a few extra planning initiatives. We hope our tips help to avoid some of the common pitfalls of event planning. Follow these tips and be sure to search the rest of the web for other great event resources, such as Bizbash.com and Eventmanagerblog.com.


    Good luck and have fun planning a successful outdoor event!