Culture / Events

Outdoor party ideas: 7 tips for a successful event by The Arabian Tent Company founder Katherine Hudson

Forget those four walls that confine guests at parties and try a marquee that can be modified to suit the theme of your party

Feb 16, 2017 | By Vimi Haridasan

You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to plan the perfect party — though having her on hand to contribute wouldn’t hurt. While we have yet to establish a strong bond with the hostess with the most-ess like Blake Lively has, we do have a few friends such as Katherine Hudson to provide us with tips. Armed with over a decade of supplying marquees and organising events in the United Kingdom, she knows more than a thing or two about throwing stunning outdoor parties. Known as the party tent extraordinaire of The Arabian Tent Company, she shares seven of her top tips that can help to make an outdoor party a success.

Size matters….

Bigger is not always better when it comes to choosing an outdoor venue. According to Hudson, a structure that is smaller in size can help provide a relaxed atmosphere with “kookier places”. The party maven shares that “It also makes it easier when dressing the venue, as what may look like a lot of dressage can look spaced out in a capacious venue.”

Create a space for people who do not want to dance

With a dance floor ready for the party animal and the cocktail table for the food connoisseur, one must never forget those who would love nothing more than a comfortable space to people-watch. Hudson says, “This may seem counter-intuitive to the previous tip, but for those ready to take off their dancing shoes an area that they can go off and explore, or a little cosy, chill out area will mean the non-dancees are not left sat at the discarded dinner table — and away from the fun. Putting this behind a hidden curtain for party-goers to explore and find will make it the secret all your guests will want to find!”

Dance the night away — by the bar

There is more than one benefit to having the bar close to the dancefloor. Firstly, Hudson says that having both side-by-side allows guests to shimmy over to the bar to replenish their thirst with ease as they dance the night away. She explains that “groups of people are like magnets”, meaning that the more people there are in one location, the larger the draw. Another tip is to have cocktail tables by the dance floor. With both in close proximity, guests will have a place to leave their glasses, preventing breakages and clean ups in the midst of the crowd.

Dynamic Music

Music can help to either kick start the festivities or signal and end to a night of revelry. Husdon advises that the right tempo will help set the tone for the night, beginning with when guests start to arrive. As the evening continues, you can slowly increase the volume and mood.

Hide the pudding!

Now, this is not something that many would find to be important but if you are not hosting a party for a foody crowd then this is a point to take note of. Hudson says, “Most people want to get up and move around/visit friends/get on the dance floor/go to the bar after dinner and at parties plated puddings are often left on tables and then cleared away. Instead, much better to have a pudding table or way of people helping themselves to what they want, rather than being given something specific. Even better, invite your guests to bring a pudding – you’ll be surprised at how guests like to give something back. It also gives guests an opportunity to offer something other than an alcoholic beverage as a gift if they would like to do so.”

But don’t hide the loo

While we may consider this to be a big no-no, having the facilities in plain sight during an outdoor event, Hudson suggests the opposite. In fact, she says that having them positioned near the entrance assures guests, especially older guests of where the conveniences are. To make things interesting, the facilities can be made into a feature by choosing fun themed versions that have been used by The Arabian Tent Company.

Contingency planning is key

We can plan an event but we cannot control all the minor details that are involved in making it a success. For events held outdoors, one must always prepare for rain and the top tip from our party-planning friends is to ensure that there is enough space. Within the venue, ensure that there is interesting décor so that there is fun for all.

This article was based on a story written by Katherine Hudson, Founder of The Arabian Tent Company.