We’ve been bringing ‘the outdoors in’ for some time now. There’s something magical about dining amongst carefully arranged foliage and potted trees; all the things that hint at the great outdoors, that take us on a great escape; leading us from the norm and in to the wilderness. But what, apart from the unpredictable British weather, is stopping us from taking it al fresco? What is it stopping us from bringing the inside, outside?
Back to nature
Recent studies in to biophilic design have found that the natural world can boost our sense of wellbeing by up to 15%. We have an innate connection to nature. It makes us happier. Therefore, it makes absolute sense when planning an event to harness the power of the great outdoors and use it as a canvas on which to… go wild.
So let’s start with the event planning
We know that British weather can take a sudden down-turn, and the production of your event cannot rely on fingers-crossed fate. A downpour is every event planner’s nightmare; and so, for the love of flora and fauna, a plan B is essential.
When considering the lay-out of your outdoor related event; you should hire, buy or build a tent or structure that will serve as a warm dry space that your guests can escape to in an emergency. There’s a high probability that the outdoor space you’re using will have a room or out-building, but you can also put up a tent, or yurt nearby (and use it primarily for dance floor or lounge space), so that you can take the whole alfresco disco under canvas. Or why not have a canopy to erect, if the space allows it? A great alternative might be to hold the event inside, but adorn the surrounding outdoor space with elements of the interior, and really make it part of the main event.
Event Styling: interior design
The outdoors might be, to some, an intimidating environment for an elaborate party. Exciting as it is, the idea of ruining an expensive frock in on an adventurous bimble in the undergrowth might not be every guest’s cup of tea. So why not make the outdoors space luxurious, decadent and a virtual extension of the comfort and beauty you have created inside?
- Photo by Laura Power for Elmore Court
The idea is to prep the exterior as if you were designing the interior of your event. Spread rugs across the ground to bring the space together and to ensure a steady step. Hang lanterns, festoons of light bulbs or orbs from the trees to brighten the space – casting light, whilst creating a sense of cosiness. Illuminate pathways leading to mini bars, fun installations or pop-up food carts to encourage exploration and adventure. Decadent chandeliers suspended from tree canopies in woodland clearings; entwined with not just lights but blooms, berries and hints of nature; create the perception of a ‘ceiling’ – made all the more of a spectacle in the backdrop of the surrounding sky. Pillows, blankets, sheepskins, rugs…all are essential in helping your guests really get in to their comfort zone.
Think rich, sumptuous fabrics that will create atmosphere and comfort; the billowing fabrics and textures of harems, dens of inequity and party parlours, rather than the industrial strength, hard-wearing go-to tents that have become the norm for outdoor events.
Travel back in time and regress to a Victorian era of promenading, relaxation and lounging. Designate intimate spaces for comfort and interaction. Staging a living-room area amongst the wilderness will become a welcome respite. Add day-beds, stuffed chairs and loungers, throws, moroccan mattresses and couches to create a fun central hub of great distraction.
There is nothing to say that all of these social, lounging zones have to be the centre of attention. There is something exciting about stumbling upon a secret area away from the madding crowds; an arty installation or a day-bed for the adventurous that will draw a buzz and leave a lasting impression.
Dining al fresco? Perfect the table as you would in a grand hall. Monumental candelabras, colourful runners, billowing crisp linens. Recreate the decadent feasting of a private dining room within an abundance of space. Banquet with the Gods. The fantastic thing about dining outside is that there really isn’t much in the way of architectural limitations… The banquet table can be as long as you need it to be. There is no anti-social smoking area and your soundtrack is the orchestra of nature.
And what of warmth? It’s going to be the first question on the lips of anyone planning a successful outdoors event. Well, the good news is that aside from great outfits fit for a Russian winter, there are multiple ways to keep your guests warm outside; and besides, outdoor heating adds atmosphere. Fire-pits are easily hired and make fantastic central focusses to a party. Imagine a central dining table, surrounded by fire-pits, set in woodland! Gas lamps, outdoor heaters, fire-pits, bonfires; a little research goes a long way to creating the perfect outdoor event! You won’t be finding you guests in the kitchen at parties… chances are they’ll be by the fire.
Whether it’s woodlands or lakes, walled gardens or apple orchards, from grand to cosy, each of our venues have beautiful outdoor spaces to create your own slice of wilderness and a long list of amazing suppliers to cut down your research time and to make it all possible. Or for more event styling inspiration, contact the team today: