The ZooBells guide to planning your festival party.
Festival weddings and parties are becoming more and more popular as people move away from stuffy indoor venues and embrace the great outdoors.
Creating a festival theme means you can put your unique spin on everything and create that perfect vibe. Vintage nostalgia? Steampunk? Big hair 80s? It’s all possible.
Here’s our guide on how to get started.
Choose a location
There’s plenty of venues that will rent you an outdoor space. You can choose to create a tented village in the grounds of a stately home, a farmer’s field or the garden of a hotel. Websites such as www.chooseyourvenue.com will get you started or directly approach the venues you most like the look of. Remember an events licence will most likely be needed, so you can’t just set up anywhere!
Make sure there’s enough space (and level ground) to create the atmosphere you’re after and also accommodate all your guests. Consider what additional extras you’d like to complete the scene – farm animals to entertain the kids, scenic woodlands, river or lake…
Choose your theme and decor
This is the time to get creative! It’s a good idea to get the theme to play off the natural features of the location. If it’s farmyard or fields, create a barnyard theme with straw bales and stages on flatbed trailers. For the kids you could arrange tractor rides or welly wanging competitions.
If there’s natural woodland and a river or lake, make a fairy walkway through the trees or create nature spotter trails for the kids. Picnics can be arranged at the waters edge and canopies erected in the trees.
Props are important – trawl charity shops, auctions and car boot sales to collect what you need. Pinterest is the obvious go-to place to get ideas and create mood boards.
Decide what accommodation to offer your guests
Some locations will offer their own selection of onsite accommodation or shop around to hire in your choice of mobile hotel room. Bell tent companies, like ZooBells are the obvious choice, allowing you to choose your level of luxury inside 5m or 6m bell tents. Choose from airbeds to four poster beds.
Consider adding in different structures such as yurts, tipis, vintage caravans, safari tents… Then you can offer an accommodation option to please everyone as well as creating a glamping wonderland. If you’re in hotel grounds, guests who simply can’t contemplate a night under the stars can stay indoors and still be part of the festival vibe during the day.
Add in communal spaces
Don’t forget to work communal spaces in to your site map. It’s important to have spaces where people can come together throughout the day in small and large groups. For example, our Sheba Yurt which comes with a woodburning stove is a popular addition to parties, and often used as a chill-out area, while an external firepit provides a welcoming focal point in the evenings.
Book a band or two
See who’s on the local pub gigging circuit or ask for recommendations from friends and family. DJs are also great for filling the space between bands and for late night entertainment. If you have musical friends get a range of instruments in and encourage open mic nights or jam sessions.
Additional entertainment and activities
From circus performers wandering your site doing impromptu acts to a wellbeing zone with massage therapists and meditation space, extra entertainment is an important to the festival vibe. Having group activities is also a great way for guests to get to know each other better and create some fantastic group memories. It could be something as simple as a glitter den (eco-friendly glitter, we hope!) or a crafts area.
Food and drink
There’s some fabulously quirky food and drink vendors out there now. From car boot espresso machines to pizza ovens in horse boxes, there’s a mobile vendor for every food group. Think about whether you want a formal sit-down vibe or a casual dining experience.
Our Giant Hat Tipis are fabulous for banquet style meals, with plenty of room for caterers to set up a full kitchen as well as housing a formal seating arrangement. Or invite a few different street food vans on site and use a stretch tent or similar structure for casual seating. Fun extras like an ice-cream van or cheese on toast truck are great too.
So forget that boring hotel venue you were planning to book. Simply find your perfect outdoor location, then get creating your own festival party or wedding. Have fun!
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