Having an outdoor event in Alaska, while wonderful, also means always planning to have either an indoor or at least, a covered, backup option. Even in Summer, the unpredictable nature of Alaskan weather can make planning an outdoor event quite challenging. Finding a suitable venue and proper event rental items will be essential components, as you never know when a sunny day could quickly turn into a rainstorm, or when those pesky uninvited mosquitoes will crash your party.
While this may sound simple enough, we would be remiss to say all venues are created the same. But rest assured our Toast of the Town event planners have compiled a guide to help you navigate the myriad of Alaskan venues available, to find the right fit for you, as well as other decades earned advice to keep your next outdoor event dry and successful.
Here are some factors to consider when planning your next outdoor event:
How much space do you need?
If you are planning a large outdoor Summer event you are surely envisioning warm and sunny, with your guests frolicking around the grounds soaking up the sun and enjoying every moment. But when that cloud moves in and the passing showers hang around a little too long, you will be surprised how quickly you run out of (covered) space, and how cramped your event suddenly feels. We love any venue that offers multiple areas for staging, such as an arrival area in the foyer, a tented outdoor garden area for the reception, or an indoor banquet hall that is steps away. Multiple smaller areas can be a fun way for your guests to explore during the event, but also provides plenty of options should weather become an issue.
What utilities will be provided?
This is so often an overlooked component of an outdoor venue rental agreement, leading to upset feelings and lots of extra charges along the way. Keep this in mind from the beginning to plan ahead and also avoid any unnecessary headaches or inconveniences of planning an outdoor event. A few things to take stock of include:
- Electricity (or at least access to power)
- Heating elements
- Cooling elements
- Strong wifi
- Fresh potable water
- Trash receptacles or dumpsters
Location! Location! Location!
Let’s just start by saying Alaska is huge! Which means from an event perspective, there are tons of cool, quirky, remote locations that are fantastic for hosting groups and special occasions. But this also means you could end up waaay out in the boondocks. And no matter how gorgeous the space, your guests won’t get to see it if they can’t find it.
Wherever you decide to host your event, it is crucial to keep location as a key factor in your decision, as you want to best accommodate your guests, but is also key in terms of your event needs. Caterers, rentals, tents, generators, florists, etc. all need to be able to find the location, and get loaded in quickly and efficiently. Any extra distance or hurdle, expect an added delivery, setup, or travel fee to be added on to the final bill.
Decor and other event needs
Following the notes about location, we focus on event decor and needs mentioned previously. While reviewing locations that may or may not have the utilities and common conveniences is essential, and the lack of them is not necessarily a drawback. In fact we often relish when a venue doesn’t have the main event staples listed above, in their current inventory. Why? Because then we can source whatever we want! This provides an opportunity to design the event layout, look, flow, etc. any way you want, and could even save some money. But we mention this as a follow on to location, as again – your vendors need to be able to get there easily and load in efficiently. Make sure when reviewing locations, you take note of vendor and guest access. You could have the best weather options imaginable, but if you can’t get them setup correctly, it could mean the difference between a successful and fun vs wet and dreary event.