The distinct look of an outdoor wedding is desired by many, but often it is hard to find the perfect location. Many times, outdoor venues only provide the basic land and maybe one architectural focal point. Sometimes the dream of having a beautiful outdoor wedding is forgotten because the demands of planning something that you have to design from the ground up (literally) can be overwhelming. But what if you could have the best of both worlds with a courtyard wedding?
Why a Courtyard
A courtyard is an outdoor area that is enclosed by the walls of a surrounding building. This type of unconventional venue offers benefits that no other can imitate. Being enclosed means you will get protection from the wind and a sense of privacy without forfeiting fresh air, natural sunlight, and ambiance of an outdoor wedding.
Planning a Courtyard Wedding
When it comes to planning a large event there is a seemingly never-ending to-do list. Many courtyards have the bones to work off of in order to take much of the stress of planning go away. There will be a set location for your guests to park, a private restroom (we all hate port-o-potties!), and usually, they have experienced vendors that you can work with who know the venue well.
Where to Look
The Laguna Design Center is our favorite spot in the Orange County, California area to host courtyard events. It has multiple courtyards each with their own unique architectural style and theme. If you’re not in the Orange County area, however, no worries. We have a few tips that can help you find the best venue for your needs:
Do your research
Don’t look into venues until you have figured out the basics. In order to find a location that will suit your needs have a rough estimate on how many people are invited, the amount of space you will need if you are planning to have a dancefloor or other entertainment.
Talk to a Professional
Event Planners have a vast knowledge of available venues in your area. You could be missing out on some hidden gems. If you don’t already have a space in mind it is worth it to hire help. Having them to guide you and work towards finding your ideal space will save you a lot of time and energy.
Look Outside the Box
Many of the most beautiful venues have multiple functionalities. Check out your local country clubs, wineries, resorts or barns for inspiration and ask if they host events.
You are invited to attend a reserved ticketed event for your company’s annual meeting gala. As you enter the venue you are asked to take a photo instead of handing off a ticket to be scanned. You continue into the event when a professional photographer and videographer guide you to a beautiful wall that displays a colorful and interactive background where they take your Instagram worthy photo. The emcee comes on the mic and tells everyone in attendance to say hi as they live stream the event on Facebook. From the moment you walked through the door you have experienced an event in a fun new way, all thanks too new tech.
It may seem odd but facial recognition is making our once paper filled world so much easier and sustainable. Algorithms calculate your facial features, hairstyles, expressions, and body shape and language making it super easy and simple to enter an event.
Erin Barton, a Planning Manager & Event Producer for WOW! Events says, “A huge feature of all events is new tech. Anything from checking in without tickets through online ticketing and facial recognition.”
Updates are being applied daily to this new technology. Soon, facial recognition will be able to predict the moods of attendees by reading facial expressions and body language. It will make check-in’s more efficient, improve attendee feedback, and on-site security. Sorry wedding crashers… (we’re not really that sorry).
Artificial intelligence is slowly becoming a part of our everyday lives. It creates a highly personalized experience for everyone that attends your event. Bigger events, such as festivals and conferences that have over 30,000 attendees implement AI through services such as chatbots and personalized recommendations. It provides more effective and efficient customer service and thus making each individual experience special and unique. Apps like Grip give attendees recommendations on who they should meet, what conference sessions they would enjoy most, and even products they should try. This personalized touch makes AI technology a must have at your next trade show.
Social media apps such as Facebook and Instagram introduced the live features a couple of years ago. Influencers, media outlets, and event planners have used this feature to show off their event in real-time. It expands your audience beyond those that are attending allowing friends and family that may not have been able to attend to experience the event from the comforts of their home. “Live feed video to the event or live feed on social media to sort of, blast out what you might be missing if you’re not at the event is becoming widely used,” says Erin. People viewing can interact with live stream asking questions or providing feedback about the event. How cool is that!
Social Media Walls and Photobooths
No one can resist an Instagram worthy backdrop. Creating a social media wall is an amazing marketing tactic that generates real-time fun and encourages attendees to post about the event and use its hashtag. It is an easy and fun way to have attendees participate in spreading the word about the event. Erin explains that Gif & boomerang selfie stations aren’t new, but they are getting more high tech, smaller, easier to use and more creative, often utilizing large screens where the rest of the party can see what’s happening or a loop of photos other patrons have taken. Plus, it makes a great souvenir!
Personalized Event Apps
Creating an app specifically for your event is a time and life saver. It provides value by letting attendees track speakers and networking opportunities. Depending on the event, attendees can bookmark location or create a custom itinerary for their day. It creates greater customer service and feedback. Add tags to the apps to see how attendees use the app for the event. This will help you tweak the format and overall UX design for next year’s big event! There are so many apps to choose from or start by designing your own event specific app!