With summer finally upon us, what better way to enjoy the warm weather than by hosting an outdoor event. Whether it’s welcoming the neighbors to a delightful summer shindig or orchestrating your own large-scale event, the preparation can come with its fair share of challenges.

The deafening buzz of insects and the Texas heat can not only wreak havoc on your event, but also pose serious health risks to your guests.

Connie Legg of Fawn Hollow Events gave a few tips on how to make an outdoor event both safe and memorable.

Stiffle outdoor insects and pests

There are approximately 100,000 different species of insects native to the United States, and more than one-third of these can be found in Texas alone. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data shows that from 2004-2016, there were more than 6,000 cases of mosquito-borne diseases, putting Texas in the top 20 percent of affected states.

“To deal with mosquitoes and pests, I would have the area sprayed a day or two ahead of time,” Legg suggests. “Then, on the day of the event, use citronella candles and/or plants to help ward off the pests.”

Lavender, rosemary and scented geraniums are a few recommended plants that are effective at safely warding off mosquitoes.

Beat the Texas heat

For Texas, 2017 was the second hottest year on record, and 2018 is already has all the makings of yet another brutal Texas summer.

Legg suggests that for achieving success in planning your outdoor event, be aware of the weather.

“You’ll want to make sure to host the event during the cooler part of the day — usually early evening,” she says. “Make sure guests have a place to get out of the sun if they choose, like a pergola or covered area.”

Keep in mind that those at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses and who might require additional considerations are children 4 and under, as well as people 65 and wiser.

In order to keep everyone safe and refreshed, Legg says be prepared with beverages.

“You’ll want to ensure that guests have plenty of cold drinks available, as well as cool, refreshing appetizers and fruit,” she says.

Make your event stand out

“For an outdoor event, be sure your decorations, flowers, etc. can withstand the elements,” says Legg. “Most fresh flowers can’t take a lot of heat, so you’ll want to be sure to choose arrangements that can take the warmer temperatures outdoors.”

A few varieties that thrive in the Texoma area and can provide a unique and memorable aesthetic include Texas bluebells, wishbone flowers and several varieties of daisies. You may want to expend some careful consideration when it comes to choosing your decorative pieces and features as the elements can ruin even the best laid plans.

“Texas weather can be very unpredictable,” Legg warns. “So if you plan an outdoor event, always, always have a backup plan in the event of bad weather.”

Finally, Legg reminds us that above all, make sure your guests remember your event.

“Your guests want to visit with each other and have fun, so put yourself in their shoes and plan an event that you, yourself, would enjoy going to,” she explains