07 Dec Think Beyond the Tent: 11 Important Factors to Consider When Hosting an At Home Event

So, you want to host a big event and think you have the perfect spot selected. You’d love to get married at your uncle’s farmhouse or host the entire office in your own backyard to celebrate your employees’ successes. But, are you sure you can pull off the party of the century?

Your backyard may be beautiful, but is it the right space for your event? Check out our top questions to ask your caterer (and yourself) before hosting a party in your own space.

1. What Rentals May Be Needed?

You know that you will need tables and chairs, but let’s get real: your dream party will likely also require a tent, tent flooring, a dance floor, tent siding (plan for rain), kitchen equipment, lighting, heating, cooling and portable generators. That can seem overwhelming, but a professional caterer will help you navigate that rental process like a pro.

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2. Do You Have Bathrooms That Can Accommodate Your Guests?

One thing hosts can easily overlook is restrooms. Most home septic systems are not equipped to handle 100+ guests, so you may need back-ups! Consider renting portable restrooms. And, don’t worry, there are some seriously classy portable options out there that will be sure to pamper your guests.

3. Have You Evaluated Your Space to Choose the Ideal Spots for Your Ceremony and Reception?

Consider if the site’s land is flat or hilly and if the terrain will make it possible to host your event. If your party area is at the foot of a hill, that could mean that rain will be rolling downhill, right into your party.

Be realistic: you also need much more space than you might think to accommodate seating, decor and feasibility. The space that you’ve daydreamed about for years should be accessible for your guests and any limitations that they may have. That tree that you grew up reading under may be the perfect spot to exchange vows, but it may not be reachable for Great Aunt Betty, who doesn’t get around easily. It’s important to plan ahead for your guests to get to the main event areas safely and comfortably.

Backyard Ceremony (Warrington)

4. Do You Have a “Plan B” in Case of Severe Weather?

Of course you envision bright, sunny skies on your special day, shining down on the very place where you built childhood memories. But if you wake up to dark clouds and storms on the horizon, it’s important to have a plan B. You want to ensure that your celebration is a complete success despite of Mother Nature’s curve balls, so talking to professional planners about backup arrangements will keep you (and the event) covered.

5. How Will You Protect the Landscape and Take Advantage of Its Natural Beauty?

The well-groomed, blooming backyard that is perfect for your party makes a stellar backdrop that you want to preserve (not unintentionally ruin). You not only want to pick the right time of year to showcase the natural seasonal beauty of your unique property’s landscaping, but you’ll have to plan for protecting the space as well. Hosting a huge event under a tent on your meticulously maintained lawn seemed like a good idea—until the morning after. After dozens of high heels have walked across the lawn and the tent, dance floor and other rentals have headed back to the warehouse, the only thing you should be doing is basking in the glow of the party of the century. Relying on the experience of those who do this weekend in and weekend out will minimize destruction of your golf club-worthy grass and secure your landscape and your sanity.

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6. Do You Have Adequate Lighting?

Once you find a power source (and extension cords) to help light up your night, you’ll want to think ahead and plan to string and install lights well in advance of your event to test, test and test again. Trust us, projects like this take twice as long than you think, and sufficiently lighting up the evening sky with strands of twinkle lights requires three times as many lights as you thought it would. Also be sure to plan for the safety of your guests. Once night time falls, you don’t want to be searching the garage for flashlights or candles from the emergency drawer. Have a good lighting plan in place.

7. How Will You Keep Your Guests Cool or Warm?

If you’re hosting an outdoor event in the heat of the summer or the chill of the fall, you will need to keep your guests comfortable. Consider portable fans to cool the summer air or heaters that are safe to use under a tent to keep your guest toasty and warm.

8. Do You Have the Power?

Not only will you need a power source for lighting, heating or cooling, but your vendors will likely need energy too. Nothing stops a party like a DJ (or band) losing power or a kitchen that can’t prep food. If the property can’t accommodate all of the power needs, you will need a portable generator.

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9. Where Will the Kitchen Staff Work?

If your kitchen happens to be equipped to handle serving a flawless five-course meal for 150 guests, fantastic! If not, you’ll need to figure out what is needed to execute your well-thought-out menu. Certain dishes will require ovens, grills, warmers or propane, and you’ll need the space to house that equipment. The right company will survey your property and offer suggestions as to where to set up and what you will need.

10. Have You Considered Local Curfews, Noise Ordinances and Neighbors?

When you’re hosting a big event, it’s always a good idea to extend the invite to the neighbors. If they’re enjoying your party, they won’t be home to complain about the noise. At a minimum, do some door-to-door outreach to make them aware of your event and pass along a phone number for any complaints day-of (rather than them calling the authorities). Also, get to know your local noise ordinances, so that you can keep the party going and avoid it being shut down.

Desserts Display

11. Where Will Your Guests Park?

Don’t forget to evaluate your parking situation. A good rule of thumb is to plan for a one parking spot for every two guests. If your property doesn’t allow for adequate parking, consider what local alternatives might be for your guests. Perhaps a local church, business or park may offer a large parking area to accommodate your guests and spare your neighbors the imposition of cars near their property? Shuttles can also be used if a large parking space is a little too far away. Consider taking the extra step and offering a valet service to allow your guests the ease (and VIP experience) of door-to-door service.

The Nitty-Gritty

Hosting a party at your home may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. Don’t go at it alone. Hiring an experienced and highly rated professional company is a necessity; it’ll help you plan for, plan around and execute your event with perfection. Let the professionals do all the work while you have all the fun!

Ready to start planning your party? Schedule a consultation with one of our event managers today!

Robert Ryan Catering and Design plans and executes over 400 events each year, boasts a five-star rating on WeddingWire and has received WeddingWire’s Couple’s Choice/Bride’s Choice Award seven years in row. Learn more about Robert Ryan Catering & Design and tour our venues. Subscribe to our e-newsletter for exclusive offers, up-to-date news and recipes from our executive chef.

Ronna Dewey

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