How to plan a successful outside event

February 16, 2023Lauren Windle

With a little know-how and a few tips from the experts at Jacquie’s Gourmet Catering team, you can pull together a terrific outdoor event now that the weather is getting nicer!

That’s right, we are caterers – and event planners, and have been in the Indy area for 20 years.

We understand the key to success is planning – for the unexpected – as well as what you can anticipate. Here’s what to do and when to do it.

Choose a date and location:

  • Make sure your date and time make sense for the celebration.
  • Want to ramp the party up? Choose a Friday or Saturday evening.
  • Want to keep things tamer? Sunday afternoons can be lovely.
  • Lock in the date and send “save the date” e-vites well ahead.
  • If you are considering a backyard affair, make sure you consider through-house traffic. (Fifty guests will make an average of 100 trips in and out of the house for bathroom visits, for instance.)
  • Two words: Ample parking.
  • 50 to 100+ people will likely mean a venue other than your yard. That could mean anything from a clubhouse to an indoor or outside venue.
  • Make sure you invites are clear as to who can come (i.e., are little kids welcome?)

What’s your budget?

  • Make sure it’s realistic -- covering food, catering and beverages, sure – but also table and linen rentals, paper products, tent, candles, flowers, lighting, ice, and/or music.
  • Remember that everything is more expensive now than it was last year.

Outside events may make things a little more relaxed

  • This can also be a brilliant way to keep costs down.
  • If you have a large backyard, consider renting a tent. It adds instant class and protects guests from the sun, wind and any rain in the forecast.
  • Need nearby outside venue ideas? Ask us! We can help you with new ideas.

What to serve

  • If you have the food catered you can cross a big worry off your list. No cooking and preparing. Just enjoy your guests!
  • Choose a caterer – with options. You can ask for everything to be cooked, laid out and served… or just choose a few pans of entrees delivered or picked up –ready to serve.
  • The type of food you serve is so important. It can set the mood for your party and give guests something to talk about. Let’s make sure they are complimenting your choices!
  • Hand-held, easy to eat food is great for mid-day – especially in warmer weather.
  • Seated dinners make a statement. Plan around your theme and those you are inviting.

Décor and theme

  • What’s the event? What are your colors?
  • Relaxed or upscale? Centerpieces? Flowers?
  • Set up a music play list and figure out your sound system.
  • Many outdoor venues have restrictions when it comes to music levels, and when boisterous music and partying needs to come to a close. (Especially important if your yard is your venue!)

Back up plans

Stuff happens. And rather suddenly. Make sure you have a back up plan in place in case:

  • It rains
  • Someone becomes too intoxicated to get safely home
  • There is a minor injury
  • A guest hits someone else’s car coming or going

The best parties are well planned-out, with no surprises – right up to the very end – so you can enjoy your event just as much as your guests. If we can help make that possible, just give us a call.



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