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Online Exclusive: Planning Outdoor Events

Planning Outdoor Events

A Q&A With Sara Barnes, facility rental sales assistant
with the Atlanta Botanical Garden

Planning an outdoor event is very different than planning an event indoors, said Sara Barnes, facility rental sales assistant with the Atlanta Botanical Garden. We asked her to share her insight on what you need to know to make your next outdoor event a success.

Q: What do you advise meeting planners when it comes to being prepared for inclement weather?

A: Always have a rain plan in place in case such weather occurs. Depending on the space, our clients can rent a tent through our approved tent company, TLC Rents, or move into one of our indoor facilities. The indoor facility may be an additional cost, depending on the difference between the prices of the spaces. We place a hold on the space and the client only pays the additional cost if they use it.

Q: Insects can be a nuisance; what are some ways to avoid having a problem with them during an event?

A: Actually, the insects in our garden are so distracted by all of the flowers that they are hardly a concern. However, advise your guests to avoid wearing perfumes or anything scented is always a good idea.

Q: Formal dress events held outdoors can be awkward; do you have any solutions for “heels on grass” and other situations?

A: Make sure your guests are aware the event is outside so they can dress appropriately. Guests should bring a jacket just in case. Also, no pointy heals. These will get stuck in the grass. Wedges and wider heals work fine, but for the ultimate safety it’s best that guests wear flats.

Q: What are your solutions for protecting guest from the heat or cold?

A: Clients can always rent heaters to battle cold or pass out fans as favors when it’s hot. In cold weather, providing a warm beverage at all times is a good idea. So is providing cold drinks and/or water to guests at events in hot weather. Plan outdoor events during the time of the year when conditions are pleasant. Some people don’t care if their guests are too hot or too cold and that is a huge mistake.

Q: What is your best advice for serving food and beverage outdoors?

A: We only allow tray passed hors d’oeuvres and cocktails in our outdoor areas to avoid any complications.

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