PHILADELPHIA OUTSIDE EVENT PLANNING ADVICE AND PARTY CHECKLIST
By Stu Leventhal (Your Philadelphia Restaurant Consultant)
Nice weather is here Philadelphia and that means Philly’s Elite Event Planners and Party Throwers will start looking to utilize the great outdoors for hosting events and celebrations. Throwing an outside event certainly presents special challenges but nothing beats Mother Nature for ambiance and setting the mood for a party! The outdoors, when chosen thoughtfully and prepared well can save you money on renting and decorating a hall. Plus, Philadelphia has got some great natural terrain; public and private parks as well as estates of famous historic and present day personalities with fantastic gardens full of scenic dazzle and historic lore which can raise any celebration to a memorable experience!
The Morris Arboretum of the University of Pennsylvania is my choice for Philadelphia’s best outdoor celebration venue. The Morris Arboretum is a horticultural wonderland! Ninety two acres of thriving, colorful plant life and breath taking garden after garden; one of which I am sure will be the perfect setting for your wedding or event! The Morris Arboretum is located at 100 E. Northwestern Avenue Philadelphia, PA. If you are seeking flowers, flowers and more flowers, the Morris Arboretum is the place to book your next event!
My number two choice for an outside celebration is of course, Philadelphia’s wonderfully maintained and city managed Fairmount Park which has numerous venues, buildings and areas ideal for hosting parties both big and small, formal, private or public. My personal favorite party place in the park district is Fairmount Park’s Horticulture Center because it is ideal for special gatherings of all kinds formal or casual. There truly is something charming for everyone young or old to admire and fall in love with here. Located in the Centennial District of West Fairmount Park, The Horticulture Center features a large exhibition hall with a greenhouse full of many kinds of tropical plants mixed with the more than occasional fine art statue. Outside you will find nature trails traversing through flowers galore, beautiful trees of many genus, a very romantic small pond setting, a lush creek and wetlands! The Gardens showcases perennials, herbs, a vegetable garden, evergreens of all kinds and a butterfly garden! Best of all there are semi secluded picnic groves everywhere! Twenty aces of nature plus beautiful sculptures make for great memorable picture taking!
Whether you are planning a BBQ, an Office Picnic, a 4th of July style Block Party or an outside Wedding Ceremony there are things you need to make sure of before you print up your invitations.
1. PRE-VISIT THE PARTY SITE:
Always pre-visit the site you chose to throw your outside Philadelphia party. Scoping the party site out in advance is the most important thing you can do to assure everything will go smoothly on party day. Make a list of all the things you will need to bring or get done for party day then jot down names of people you will put in charge of each item. Is there electric outlets? Bathrooms? Lighting, for if your proceedings run after dark? What equipment will you need to rent? What supplies and services will you have to buy?
*HINT: You need to visit the party site in advance on the same day and time that you are planning to have your outside Philly party, so there are no surprises. If you are planning an early Saturday morning sunrise wedding in a park along the river go see what the park is like at sunrise on Saturdays. Perhaps a dog owners group meets and lets their dogs play every Saturday morning right where you wish to set up! Are you prepared to clean up the doggie mess before your guest arrive? Or, do you need to find a new location!
Make sure there is enough parking available close by, so people do not have to walk too far. Particularly, Formal dressed guests do not want to traipse a mile through the grass, dirt or sand wearing high heels and dress shoes to get to the festivities.
3. LAWS AND RULES:
Find out what the restrictions for your chosen party location; liquor, music, capacity of guests allowed, hours of access allowed, insurance requirements, permits needed, booking requirements…
4. INSECT CONTROL:
Make arrangements for insect control! Mosquitoes, gnats, flies will ruin the best party plans!
5. RAIN PLANS:
Pre-pare a plan for freak RAIN or sudden weather changes like harsh winds or very dark cloud cover, sudden drops or extreme rises in temperature.
6. EXTRA SUPPLIES:
Besides adequate amounts of food and drink, make sure you have plenty of serving utensils, plates, eating utensils, napkins and cups. You will need lots of ice especially during hot days! If you are throwing a BBQ, make sure you have plenty of charcoal or propane on hand.
7. CLEAR WALKWAYS AND ROPE OFF HAZARD SPOTS:
Pick a spot for your party that has clear walkways or that the walkways can be cleared by you easily and cheaply. You don’t want kids or older guests tripping and falling as they try to move from one important area to the next. Clearly rope off any hazard or dangerous areas!
If your party will include dancing activities, make sure you choose a location that is big enough for setting up an adequate size dance area. The dance area needs to be flat and clear with short grass and no hidden rocks, logs or branches to trip over!
The sun can be brutal especially during the summer months. Make sure your picnic, party or event location has adequate places for people to rest, relax and mingle in the shade.
10. FIRST AID:
Make sure someone will have a cell phone in case of an emergency that you need help with or that should be phoned in to authorities! Be sure to have basic first aid equipment with bandages, antiseptic, aspirins all on hand. If you will be hosting a very large crowd consider hiring a first aid team to be on hand with an ambulance.
11. GARBAGE, BATHROOMS AND CLEAN UP:
Make sure you set up adequate garbage cans all over the grounds so the party does not become messy and consider renting bathroom port-a-johns if the bathroom facilities are small or inadequate. Clearly find out who is responsible for what part of the clean-up. Never leave a mess!
RECOMMENDED RESOURCES FOR OUTSIDE PARTY EVENTS:
• MERIDITH’S PHILADELPHIA OUTDOOR CATERING & EVENTS
NEW GRADUATION PARTY MENUS!
Unique office party menu options!
PARTY PLANNING ASSISTANCE BY EXPERTS!
*Call for daily catering specials (610) 251-0265
• PHILLY CATERING:
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