Planning Tips for Indoor & Outdoor Events

Depending on where you live, certain restrictions for events are beginning to lift, little by little. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) does have advice for those attending and planning events, but your own state or municipality may have its own rules. However, post-COVID events still have a focus on being outdoors for 2021, although in many states you are able to hold small gatherings — they are just limited by capacity. We’re starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and event planners and attendees alike can look forward to attending events again in a more normal fashion fairly soon. However, you will likely see safety measures in place for some time to come. Whether you’re personally planning a wedding, corporate event, or working with a professional event planner, read on to find out about some helpful tips specific to 2021. 

Planning Your Indoor Event

Planning any indoor event will still be met with some challenges as we move through 2021. Many states and municipalities still have capacity orders, meaning that you can only have a certain number of people inside at a time. If you’re planning an event like a wedding or corporate meeting, this poses some difficulty as you may have to exclude some people from the in-person portion of your event. Also, indoor events will have a different set of safety guidelines and measures. While masks should still be worn outside, venues would likely strictly enforce them inside, as well as 6-foot social distancing and perhaps even other measures, such as temperature checks. 

You would want to find a venue and vendors that are fully on board with health and safety practices. Event and furniture rental is also a perfect idea as the designers can help set up furniture and decor in a socially distanced manner, and this takes the stress off your shoulders. If you’re planning an outdoor event, there is different guidance. 

Family Gatherings

Everyone has been looking forward to being able to see their family again. Some people have been able to, but others not quite yet — and spring and summer 2021 is shaping up to be the time to do that. Whether it’s a simple backyard BBQ or a kids’ birthday party, it’s time to get together again. 

Backyard Fun

If you’re planning a backyard BBQ for Memorial Day or the 4th of July or just because, there’s no better time to open the grill. While you’re likely doing enough work as it is, minimize risk by serving food yourself (so that your friends aren’t reaching into hamburger bun bags, etc.) Have sanitizer out for guests and make sure seating is somewhat distanced. It’s great to have fun, but also to be careful. 

Birthday Parties

Unfortunately, most kids’ birthday parties took a hiatus and were replaced with drive-by parades over the past year. Avoid indoor ideas like trampoline parks, but having a party at the beach or at the park is a workable idea. Refrain from renting equipment such as bounce houses or slides where children are in close quarters together. It’s nearly impossible to keep children away from each other, but those are enclosed, tight spaces make it even harder. 

Keep Social Distancing and Safety in Play

It’s important to still talk to your family and friends about safety measures. Not everyone may be on board, but until everyone gets the “all clear” signal, social distancing and mask-wearing is important, even for your outdoor gathering — and even with your family. Have hand sanitizer available if you’re hosting a party or event for guests to use, in case they forgot their own. 

2021 Outdoor Wedding Tips

So many 2020 weddings got postponed to 2021, and there’s still a feeling of uncertainty in the air over whether they should be held this year. The answer is — it’s perfectly fine to still have your perfect wedding in 2021, but you just may have to be a little flexible with some of the arrangements. 

Takin’ It to the Beach

There may be no better backdrop for a wedding than a beautiful summer day and a beach scene, and weddings in 2021 are all about the beach. With event rental, there is easy setup and tear-down, and brides need not worry about those tall stiletto heels (which are out this year, anyway). If you’re able to book a block of rooms at a beach hotel with a rooftop bar, you can also have an outdoor reception as well, with fewer worries about having an indoor gathering. 

Selecting a Venue

Opting for a beachfront hotel is one idea, but there are many more when it comes to outdoor venues. Think of ideas such as wineries, farms, and picturesque parks. Some places may not even require rental, depending on the location. Look for waterfront or lakefront bed and breakfast venues, large farms with rooms for guests — there are many options to choose from. There is also the classic church wedding that could be held outside — you just have to think outside of the box.

Decoration, Food and Vendor Ideas 

When it comes to food, opt for restaurant-style serving and not buffet-style for safety. If your wedding is outside, nature is primarily your backdrop, but florals are a safe bet to decorate chair backs, gazebos, arches, fences, and all areas around the reception. Go for bright and bold rather than subdued hues — 2020 was dreary, so let’s keep 2021 cheery. Furniture, party, and event rental can help you situate chairs so that social distancing is in play. When it comes to wedding vendors, don’t skimp on the music. Your guests likely haven’t heard live music in some time, so this is the vendor to focus on. 

Charity Events and Fundraisers

The pandemic hit nonprofits especially hard as fundraising efforts are done so much better in person. All of a sudden there were virtual 5Ks or walks, and there were no more silent auctions or grand galas. However, as we return to normal, planners can begin to have some regular fundraisers in the mix. 

Hybrid and Remote Events

Over the course of 2020, nonprofits did start to get their feet wet with remote events, having the capability to raise funds via Zoom. Expect this to continue, but also plan for hybrid events as well, where there is an actual event (such as a keynote speaker) commencing in a venue, with members streaming at home. Hybrid fundraising works because it is far-reaching, so planners will likely continue with this, even post-COVID, as they can reach a stronger market virtually.

Outdoor Ideas for 2021

When it comes to charity and fundraising, you can begin to plan things such as golf and softball tournaments, 5K runs, and walks. Just keep in mind that capacities still may be limited for sporting events, so check the rules in your area before planning an event. 

Corporate Event Tips

Corporate events are the one type of event that you may see an equal amount of indoors as well as outdoors, as hotels and convention centers begin to open up capacities again. When it’s an indoor venue, simply follow CDC protocols to keep your employees and vendors safe. However, there are outdoor venues as well that may work for your corporate event. 

Finding the Perfect Outdoor Venue

When it comes to a corporate event, you may want to seek out a country club or beach club for the afternoon or evening (depending on your event). If it’s a cocktail party, this is a perfect idea, as these places usually have a lot of outdoor spaces. If it’s more of a presentation event, of course, you may have to stick to an indoor event or opt for a hybrid one. 

How to Cater the Party 

Similarly, as with weddings, there should be no buffet-style service at the moment; if it’s a cocktail party, have cocktail servers bring drinks and food to tables. If it’s a different type of event and only light refreshments are being served, it’s a good idea to have them individually wrapped for safety. 

Keeping Safety Measures in Check

As with all events, safety measures should be followed. But at a corporate event, there’s a higher level of accountability that comes with holding the event. Consider having contactless check-in, temperature checks, and partitions to help keep guests separated. Keep hand sanitizer available at all times, and ensure you find a venue that is meticulous about cleanliness and sanitation. Event rental can help you with the placement of furniture and partitions to help maintain social distancing without it looking clunky or awkward. 

For assistance in planning your next event in style but with safety in mind, consider CORT Events. We can help make your next event a success with furniture, decor, and designers on hand to make sure everything goes just right.


Photo by Ksenia Chernaya from Pexels