Quick Checklist for Creating a Disaster Recovery Plan for Your Business.

If a hurricane or tornado were to hit your company tonight at 9:43pm, would you be back in business tomorrow? Well, unless you have a smart disaster recovery plan, the answer is ‘no’—not tomorrow and possibly not ever.

disaster recovery plan

 No one enjoys thinking about and planning for worst case scenarios. But if and when disaster strikes your organization, there is no substitute for being well prepared. And with hurricane season in full force now, it’s a good reminder that most disasters come without a lot of warning.

The best time to put together a disaster recovery plan is obviously before anything happens. When heads are cool, we can all think, plan, and strategize to the best of our abilities. This article provides a general guide and useful resources for making sure your team is ready in the event of a natural or human-caused disaster.

Where do we start?

To get started with disaster recovery planning, first check to see whether your company has a plan in place, however incomplete. If you have an outdated plan to work with, start by making any necessary updates. In the future, make sure to update your disaster recovery plan once per year or whenever policy changes necessitate a change in the plan.

If you find yourself starting from scratch, consider that each type of disaster has unique consequences for the systems, people, and proce

sses that keep your business up and running. FEMA.gov is a good place to start with a list of emergency preparedness resources for different types of disasters.

Here’s a handy checklist for creating a more general disaster recovery plan for your business:

 

1. Put people first.

It is surprising how many online disaster recovery templates fail to mention the risk of actual injury and loss of human life during emergencies. But it is up to businesses to put a plan in place to protect their people in the event of an em

ergency.

Which personnel are essential to operations? Do you have a plan in place for allowing most employees to work remotely, while clean-up and reconstruction efforts are arranged? If there are injuries to employees, how will you make sure they receive urgent medical care?

Putting your people first means thinking beyond a mere first-aid kit.

2. Who is responsible for what during a disaster?

During a disaster, decisions will need to be made quickly. It’

s essential to establish a clear mission-critical, hierarchy spelling out exactly who will make decisions and when. This starts with a list of key stakeholders, executives, and managers along with a list of disaster-response actions each will take in order to recover and restore functions that were interrupted.

3. Consider the minimum infrastructure you need to operate.

Does a strong disaster recovery plan require you to pay rent on additional office space in a non-disclosed location in case of an emergency? Probably not. But it is important for you to consider your options ahead of an emergency.

Do you have technology in place to allow employees to seamlessly work from remote locations? What if the office is “inhabitable” and necessary for keeping some aspects of your business running, but there’s no running water? Maybe portable restroom trailers for employees and customers could solve your problem.

4. Have a plan for data recovery.

IT back ups should be a regular part of your business procedur

es and are an important part of any type of disaster recovery. In fact, your IT department should have its own, separate disaster recovery plan. Here’s a good document to pass on to your leaders in IT.

Your data may be your business’s most valuable asset. Make sure it’s protected. Consider how and where your data is being stored. Is it on-site? In the cloud? Is the data encrypted? What will it take to restore it? How vulnerable are you to being hacked or compromised during recovery?

5. Make communication as easy as possible.

Communication during disaster recovery is key. If your employees can’t communicate with one another, it will be very hard for them to fulfill their responsibilities. Consider with whom they will need to communicate. Who should employees contact to confirm the status of business and execute the plan?

6. Know what you will say to the public.

Next to having a plan for internal communications, it’s important to have a plan for communicating with external channels such as customers, vendors, investors, and the media. Come up with a list of core messages and talking points that can easily be modified to include relevant information about the specific emergency situation.

It’s a good idea to come up with a “crisis management media kit” with pre-written press releases ready to be tweaked and blasted out. No one will be in the right state of mind to come up with a press release during such a devastating time. Best to work from a script.

7. Model most likely disasters.

Consider the disasters that are most likely to affect your business and model as accurately as possible when conducting practice drills. If you don’t operate in a flood zone, you may not need to plan for a flood. So make sure to plan for scenarios that you and your staff are likely to encounter.

8. Keep a list of supply delivery vendors and restaurants at the recovery site.

This item may sound strange, but it can be very important. During an emergency you and employees may spend many hours at the recovery site and need certain supplies. You do not want to waste precious time and resources searching for these things after a disaster.

You may very well need staff to spend more than 24 hours at a time on site. If employees are sifting through rubble and working in areas t

hat are especially dusty, for instance, personal hygiene may become a priority. In this case, having portable shower trailers on hand can be a lifesaver. Make sure Blue Ribbon Restrooms is on your list of emergency vendors.

9. Test and retest your disaster recovery plan.

Disaster recovery planning is a work in progress. You will need to carefully update and reevaluate your plan to keep pace with important changes in your business. Make sure you test your entire plan at least once each year in order to keep s

taff familiar with the protocol. When testing your plan, don’t assume events will unfold exactly according to plan. Be sure to test different scenarios and unusual variables.

No one likes to consider worst case scenarios, unfortunately, that doesn’t prevent disasters from happening. Instead of burying their heads in the sand, smart businesses come up with a solid plan for meeting disaster head on.

Let Blue Ribbon Restrooms be your partner in disaster preparedness. Call us to find out how we can help you put your people first!

How to Host an Epic, Yet Effortless, Backyard Summer Party.

Can you think of a better way to beat the heat than by throwing an epic backyard summer party? Oh, wait, how about convincing your neighbor to throw an epic backyard summer party? Planning, prepping, and cleaning up after a party often makes playing host more effort than it’s worth. And often better parties mean more work. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

summer party

You don’t need to spend days scouring the web for vintage outdoor furniture, hours baking up the latest Pinterest creations, or the whole party following guests around with a mini-vacuum to host a fun party and stay sane. So, before you throw in the towel on throwing another party, consider some creative ways to make your next backyard bash both epic and effortless.

1. Find Fun Finger Foods

Finger foods are some of the best party foods. Not only do they cut down on the number of dishes you need to wash and disposable plates guests need to use, they are delicious and fun to eat.

  • Depending on how much you enjoy spending time in the kitchen, you can focus on picnic-inspired finger foods that don’t take much prep time such as chips and dip, an antipasto platter, or hummus and pita, or slightly more elaborate hot appetizers like mini-empanadas, shrimp and cocktail sauce, or BBQ sliders. Need more ideas? Check out this list of 26 Easy Outdoor Appetizers.
  • For dessert, s’mores are always a huge hit and since guests can make their own, you simply need to provide the chocolate, marshmallows, graham crackers, and fire source. Set everything out using a tiered cookie plate for a more beautiful presentation.

2. Choose a Signature Drink

Find an easy punch recipe or two that you love and can make ahead of time to throw into an insulated beverage cooler. At party time, simply add ice. Your guests won’t be able to stop talking about your signature drink. Make sure to have on hand other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages too for those who aren’t into punch.

Here are 2 foolproof tips for making easy, crowd-pleasing punch every time:

  • For (ahem) spiked punches, follow this simple ratio: 2:1:1:1. That’s 2 parts spirit, 1 part sweet, 1 part sour, and 1 part sparkling wine, water, or soda—which is the ratio you’ll find in these 7 simple punch recipes.
  • It’s always a good idea to offer non-alcoholic options too, especially when it’s hot outside. Just because you aren’t adding liquor doesn’t mean you’re stuck serving club soda and sparkling water though. Balance is the key to making more impressive non-alcoholic punches too. Consider balancing sweet, sour, and bitter ingredients. Take a look at these other tips for mixing up fun non-alcoholic drinks at home.

3. Make Clean-Up Easy

Clean-up has to be the biggest disadvantage to hosting a party. Of course, throwing a pool party in your backyard cuts down on the mess. But while it’s easy enough to enlist the help of guests to toss their Solo cups in the trash, who’s going to help you clean the carpets after the whole neighborhood tromps through in their chlorine-soaked clothes to use the bathroom?

Fortunately, Blue Ribbon Restrooms can help. No, we won’t come and clean your carpets, but we do rent high-end restroom trailers that won’t blow your entire summer party budget. Save your carpets and save on clean-up time by having us place one of our luxury restrooms for your party.

4. Send Bugs A-Packin’

Not even great food and high-end restroom trailers can save your summer party if your guests are constantly battling pests buzzing in their ears. Follow these tips to keep bugs at bay:

  • Get rid of standing water. Because mosquitoes breed in standing water, one of the best ways to avoid having these pests spoil your fun is to get rid of any sources of standing water. The week before your party, empty the kiddie pool, clean out the rain gutters, and empty any flower pots where rainwater may have collected.
  • Plug in fans. Mosquitoes are weak flyers, so even a fan set on low will help to keep them away from guests and food. This technique works best for a small area like a deck or patio where you can set up a few box fans to create a bug-free zone.
  • Offer bug wipes instead of spray. That smelly fog of bug spray will kill the mood faster than cousin Lou’s karaoke rendition of “Bohemian Rhapsody.” So, instead of getting that spray with DEET that can damage clothing, look for anything with picaridin, a natural bug repellent. Stick the bug wipes in a basket by the door or in the luxury restroom trailers you smartly rented.

5. Don’t Stop the Music

No summer party could be truly epic without great music. But who wants to play DJ the whole time? A little planning will ensure that the music doesn’t stop and everyone keeps dancing.

  • First, don’t blast the speakers. The best set-up for a backyard party is 4 speakers spread out and set at a lower volume. Place speakers above ear level, so they aren’t blaring in everyone’s faces. Also, if you can aim them toward the side of the house, you can turn up the volume and distribute the sound more broadly.
  • As for your party playlist, you can’t go wrong with the classics: the Beatles, Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, and Michael Jackson are all solid choices. Anything that’s upbeat and memorable can be tossed into the mix. Create a playlist that’s about 5 hours long. Most parties don’t go longer than 5 hours and anyone who notices that the playlist has started over after 6 hours probably needs another drink.

It’s true. Throwing a summer party that will keep friends, families, and neighbors talking until the holidays takes some effort. But it doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Let Blue Ribbon Restrooms help put hosting an outdoor party back on your list of fun things to do before the cool fall breeze rolls into town.

Children at Weddings — How To Make Your Wedding Fun for All Ages!

One of the quickest ways to start an argument amongst your girlfriends is to bring up the subject of whether kids belong at weddings. On one side are those (often parents themselves) who believe kids add magic to weddings–think of all the Hallmark-worthy moments you’ll miss out on if you exclude kids! On the other side are those who see voodoo more than magic when they think of children at weddings.

children at weddings

The most important thing to remember is whether you invite kids to your wedding is entirely up to you. But one thing that everyone seems to agree about 

when it comes to children at weddings is that you need to let guests know early (i.e., when you send out Save-the-Dates) who is invited.

If you do choose to invite kids, you can avoid any scenes fit for reality TV by taking the time to consider how to help the children in your life have a great time. Follow these guidelines to make sure your wedding really is fun for all ages.

1. Seating for kids

If possible, seat parents and kids together at one table or nearby tables during the reception. While it’s okay to have a kids’ table, keep in mind that many parents like to be near their kids to help them eat, especially if you invite anyone with younger children. Also, an unsupervised table of kids is a really good way to make your wedding reception feel like a preschool.

One great option, if you want parents to be able to totally relax and enjoy the party is to hire a chaperone for the kids’ table. Teenagers or other young adults are often available for a reasonable price for these kinds of gigs. Think of them as less like babysitters and more like camp counselors–someone to keep an eye out for bumps and bruises, while giving the kids (and parents) a little freedom to enjoy themselves. But please, for the love of all that is good and decent, do not stick your single friends at the kids’ table!

2. Offer a kids’ menu

In case you’re wondering, kids don’t like lobster, at least as a general rule. But they love mac & cheese, pizza, chicken nuggets, and applesauce. So be mindful of your menu. Most caterers offer children’s options for a reduced price. So skip the foie gras for the little ones and save yourself some money too. Additionally, if possible, make sure the kids get served early or offer finger foods like fruit, cheese, and crackers during the cocktail hour. Hungry kids get restless fast!

A candy table is always a big hit with children at weddings. But unless you want parents spending the rest of the reception chasing their kids away from the candy, you might not want it to be the first table guests see when they walk into the reception site. Instead, bring out the candy with the cake and other desserts. Remember: hell hath no fury like a hungry kid denied readily available candy!

3. Keep the kids entertained

Besides making sure that the kids are fed in a timely manner, making sure they don’t get bored is also important for maintaining peace. Children have short attention spans. Children at weddings and other mostly adult functions have miniscule attention spans. So, keep the kids entertained during any lull in the action by setting up an activity table full of art supplies, board games, and a special goodie bag with the same fun gift for each one.

4. Make sure everyone is comfortable

If you are having an outdoor wedding, it’s extra important to consider your guests’ comfort and if your guest list includes kids, it’s extra, extra important. Just like hunger and boredom, discomfort can cause all kinds of nightmare scenarios with children at weddings. Believe it or not, one important comfort factor that often gets overlooked is the restroom facilities.

No one likes the idea of having to hike up or down their fancy wedding frocks in a smelly port-o-potty. But kids, especially those who have recently given up wearing diapers can become downright catatonic over the idea. With our rentable high-end, luxury restrooms you can ensure that all your guests feel right at home. Plus, with our VIP package, you can really show parents you care by adding kid-friendly amenities like wet-wipes, diapers, and superhero bandaids.

5. Don’t expect kids to behave like adults

Above all, it’s important to have a healthy attitude about children at weddings if you’re going to invite the little ones. So, don’t freak out! Try to have a sense of humor–good advice for all other aspects of wedding planning too. If you expect kids to act like cute little wedding cake toppers the entire time, you’re going to be disappointed.

When all eyes are on Sophie as she walks down the aisle dropping petals and she starts crying for her mom, laugh it off. And when Max runs over and sticks his little fingers in the cake, ask the photographer to capture the moment.

Kids can really add to the fond memories, as long as you keep things in perspective. Chances are that you and your guests are less likely to remember the not-so-cute moments, like the ring bearer picking his nose during the ceremony, than the cute moments, like the ring bearer doing the Electric Slide with your grandma. So let everyone be themselves and enjoy your role in bringing everyone together for an epic dance party!

At Blue Ribbon Restrooms, we won’t help you decide whether to invite kids to your wedding, but we can help to make your big day go like clockwork. We have luxury restroom trailers of different types and our facilities can accommodate weddings of any size. Contact us today for your custom quote.

7 Surprising Green Wedding Tips that Won’t Break the Bank.

According to Green Bride Guide, “Each one of the 2.5 million weddings this year in the United States will produce an average of 62 tons of carbon dioxide and 400-600 lbs 

green wedding

of garbage.” Wow! Having a green wedding is a wonderful way to add some personality to your celebration, while respecting the Earth. But planning an eco-friendly wedding can be challenging.

The good news is that you don’t need to spend a lot of green to have a green wedding. Plus, there are lots of easy ways to cut-back on your wedding’s carbon footprint, while bringing out your unique style.

Pro-Tips for Pulling Off Your Green Wedding

You may already know that using natural venues, local vendors, and shopping around for green products are not only better for the environment, but also provide plenty of options for adding your personal touch to what will be one of the most important days of your life.

Going beyond these basics, let’s get into some specifics about how to pull off your green wedding without sacrificing elegance or going over budget:

1. Choose a natural space for your venue.

Outdoor venues like a friend’s backyard, a barn, the beach, or the mountains provide lots of natural beauty as decoration for your event. Adding candlelight, instead of expensive traditional lighting, is a good way to save money and spare the electricity, which can be very difficult to provide for some outdoor venues. Besides what could be more romantic than the soft light of hundreds of candles reflecting off of water or reusable glass decor?

Additionally, plan to host your green wedding and reception at the same location. When you keep the wedding and reception at the same place, you save on transportation costs between two venues, burn fewer fossil fuels, and have more time to spend with your guests.

Of course, with any naturally beautiful space, one big challenge is providing restroom facilities for guests. Nothing kills the mood faster during an elegant wedding reception than watching guests tromp off into the woods to use the “natural” restroom. (Talk about taking your green wedding to the extreme!) Fortunately, Blue Ribbon can make sure that whatever natural outdoor space you choose is equipped with luxury restroom trailers. Choose from green options like fresh flowers or rolled cotton towels for drying hands. And all of our trailers come with automatic shut-off faucets to save water.

2. Source locally and in season food and flowers.

From food to flowers, check out what is in season for your menu and arrangements. Since food is one of the biggest ticket items for any wedding, consider serving heavy hors d’oeuvres instead of a big meal.

Using locally sourced food, like local fruit and vegetables, supports the area’s economy and adds regional flair to your wedding. When choosing a caterer, look for one who specializes in sustainable, organic, and free-range offerings. Farm-to-table offers fresh, healthy options that will make your menu unique and amazingly delicious too.

When choosing flowers, you don’t need to go fake to keep your wedding green. Instead, invest in your community and save on shipping costs and energy, by purchasing chemical-free, organic flowers from your farmer’s market. While your choice of flower variety will be limited by what’s seasonally available, mismatched flowers provide just the right rustic touch for an outdoor wedding. You could also ask a friend to grow flowers in their garden or plant your own special garden for your event.

Alternatively, online florists, such as Organic Bouquet, allow you to have more varietal options and are a good choice, especially if shopping locally isn’t realistic. Be sure to have guests take flowers home to maximize the eco-friendliness.

3. Don’t toss the plates.

Consider the non-perishable items that you use for your wedding too. If possible, ask your caterer to use cloth napkins, cloth tablecloths, real dishes, silverware, and glassware. Not only are these items more eco-friendly, they are also more elegant than non-reusable table settings. However, depending on the size of your wedding, using green dishes can be a budget-buster. If you must use disposable items, make sure to get biodegradable products.

4. Something borrowed.

Another major expense that can also feel extremely wasteful is wedding attire. Today there are many convenient options for borrowing or renting your wedding dress. Who really wants a dress taking up space and getting dusty in your closet for the rest of your life, anyway?

Remember the tradition: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue! Making your dress the something borrowed is often a great way to get a more glamorous dress than what you could otherwise afford if you bought it outright. And with the average cost of a wedding dress around $1300, renting one for $100 saves you a lot!

One rental option to consider is Rent the Runway. Bridesmaids and the mothers of the bride and groom can get into the act by finding something here too. Also, it’s quite possible that one of your friends or family members have a dress you could borrow. Consider altering your mom’s dress or find another type of formal dress that could be reused and enhanced for this special occasion. Local consignment or vintage stores are often a great resource too. So many great green options here!

5. Give something meaningful and green.

Green centerpieces or tree planting kits can double as lovely favors for your guests to take home. Check out the great ideas at Plant a Memory. Or offer guests local gifts such as jam, beer, or wine as a favor. If you’d rather not give guests more stuff to take home and clutter their homes, why not donate to your favorite cause  in honor of your guests. Your wedding tradition will continue long after you say “I do.”

6. Skip the paper invites.

Save the cost of mailing invitations and avoid adding paper to the recycle bin by using electronic invites. Evite, Punch Bowl, and Green Envelope offer cute, digital invitations that will save you lots of green! If you want to mail an invitation, send earth-friendly, plantable invites that include seeds. As your guests watch your their flower or plant grow, they will remember your special day.

7. Recycle.

Finally, at the end of the event, don’t forget to recycle! Make it simple for your green wedding guests and add cleverly camouflaged recycling and composting bins around the event venue. For additional tips, review our earlier blog post on the Top Ways to Recycle Wedding Items.

With these 7 tips, you’ll be ready to have a green, elegant, and cost-efficient wedding. There is no need to sacrifice the Earth or your values at your wedding. Your eco-friendly wedding will be even more meaningful for you and your guests.

At Blue Ribbon we are here to make your event, whether it’s green, blue, or purple, the best it can be. Contact us today! Your custom quote is waiting.

5 Amazingly Awesome Tips for Hosting a Super Successful Outdoor Event

Recently we observed Memorial Day, a special holiday meant to honor America’s fallen military men and women. At Blue Ribbon, we remember and appreciate the servsuccessful outdoor eventice of all of our veterans. Of course, Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer and summer means outdoor festival season. Outdoor events are tons of fun, but planning a successful outdoor event has its challenges.

Here are some tips for planning a successful outdoor event with minimal stress (and who couldn’t use less stress, right?):

1. Double-check permits and ordinances.

If you want to use a public space, research which permits you need based on the city, municipality, township, and neighborhood where will hold the event. Start looking into the specific rules governing the outdoor event space that you hope to use as soon as possible.

Keep in mind that the type of permit needed and rules that apply will depend on the type of event you are hosting. For example, if you would like to plan a successful outdoor event on the National Mall or any other National Park units in the Capital Region, you will need a permit for the following:

  • Special events such as recreational activities, musical performances, and celebrations;
  • Demonstrations such as speeches, picketing, vigils, and other activities designed to communicate a message;
  • Special uses including any sport activities, weddings, and ceremonies; and
  • Commercial filming and photography.

Unless you want your event shutdown, you will want to get all of your paperwork in order well ahead of time. Once you believe you have filed all of the necessary paperwork, double-check with the local authorities to be sure everything is in order.

2. Take your time with logistics and layout.

Some outdoor event venues are easier to use than others. Is there an existing structure, like a pavilion or an outdoor stage? Great! That cuts your work in half. But if you are staring down at a blank canvas of an outdoor space, advanced planning and coordination are crucial. You will need to arrange for everything—power, toilets (may we suggest luxury restroom trailers?), equipment, food, etc.

Start planning your layout by taking tons of photos of your venue. You can even make a sketch (or, if you have mad graphic design skills, a digital reproduction) and test out different arrangements for vendors, sound equipment, booths, etc. Consider how the equipment will be loaded into the space. Schedule a meeting at the venue in advance with your suppliers, to coordinate setup and teardown. Additionally, don’t forget about parking. Where will your vendors park their trucks? Where will guests park? Is your event easily accessible for people with special needs?

3. Provide for the proper health precautions.

Summer weather makes planning a successful outdoor event, especially difficult. If your event involves spectators standing or sitting out in the sun for long periods of time (e.g., a charity race, parade, or music event), make sure to provide plenty of water and places for overheated people to cool off. Set up cooling tents with fans blowing misty water.

Have medical personnel on standby with first-aid kits to monitor anyone feeling dizzy or lightheaded. This is especially important for events taking place in remote areas. Prepare a list of local hospitals and healthcare service providers including directions for how to get there.

4. Prepare for communication and crowd safety.

First, make sure you can communicate with your vendors and staff during your event. If you are in a more remote area, cell service may be spotty, so it may make sense to use walkie-talkies to communicate.

Second, make sure your event coordinator and performers can easily communicate with the crowd. Communication with the crowd is key both for ensuring the enjoyment and safety of any successful outdoor event. In the event of inclement weather, fast-moving storms can present serious safety hazards without much warning. Be prepared by having a plan and communicating that plan with your spectators in the most efficient manner possible.

5. Don’t skimp on the sanitation.

Last, but certainly not least, having the right number of appropriate restroom facilities available is an absolutely crucial element of a successful outdoor event. Trust us. Mistakes in this area will ruin your event faster than greased-lightning. Above all, make sure you have enough sanitation equipment both for guests and for the crew.

It’s also important to take into account your audience’s sensibilities. For crowds of a certain type, not just any ol’ portable toilet will do (but if that’s what you need, our friends at Don’s Johns are happy to help). That’s why at Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers, we have a wide variety of luxury portable trailers that are sure to impress even your most discerning guests. Our portable trailers can accommodate crowds of all sizes and our friendly experts are always happy to discuss the best options for all your sanitation needs.

At Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers, we’ve got you covered! Contact us for a quote today!

8 Outdoor Wedding Tips to Make Your Big Day Memorable for All the Right Reasons

We all can recall a wedding that didn’t go exactly according to plan—the officiant showed up late, the ring bearer wouldn’t stop crying, someone got a little too “jiggy with it” and knocked over the cake. Unfortunately, you can’t control everything. But these outdoor wedding tips will make it more likely that your wedding will be one to remember for good reasons.

Let’s face it, pulling off the perfect, storybook wedding is not easy. There are just so many variables, especially if you opt for an outdoor wedding. For best results, arm yourself with the following outdoor wedding tips and a healthy, easy-going aoutdoor wedding tipsttitude.

1. Consider the pros and cons of each venue location

Before you choose the perfect setting, carefully weigh the pros and cons of each locale.

  • The beach: Pros: Close your eyes and listen to the calming sound of the waves crashing. What could be more romantic? Cons: Beaches tend to be windy, so make sure the decor (and your hair) is extra secure. You’ll also have to pay to bring in everything, besides the view.
  • The mountains: Pros: Ah! Mother Nature provides a beautiful backdrop for your nuptials. Fresh breeze and rolling hills make for a picture-perfect setting. Cons: Guests will likely have to walk a bit over rough terrain to get from their cars to the celebration. Consider making things easier with golf carts to escort guests.
  • The backyard: Pros: No additional site cost required and the sentimental value is priceless. Cons: While you’ll save on site fees, you will have to pay additional fees for permits, liability insurance, and other rentals. Also, residential areas often have noise restrictions that you’ll have to pay attention to.

2. Prepare for extras

Once you’ve chosen the perfect venue, consider other outdoor wedding tips. For instance, be prepared for extra fees. Just because you opt to get married in a public park or other area that is free for public use, doesn’t mean you can use it as your wedding venue for free. Figure out if there is a site fee or “suggested donation” well ahead of time to avoid surprises. Also, keep in mind that you may incur additional delivery fees from some vendors if your locale is remote.

Do you need to provide sanitation services? Almost nothing leaves guests with an unhappy memory of an event like the condition of the restrooms and we all know that restrooms in public parks are not usually the cleanest spaces. Our high-end restroom trailers can really save your outdoor wedding event. Show your guests how much you care by providing beautiful restrooms for their comfort.

3. Have a good Plan B

We get it—planning one wedding is hard enough, let alone planning two. But worse-case scenarios happen. And of all the outdoor wedding tips here, ignoring this one is sure to tempt fate (or some serious day-of meltdowns). When bad weather pops up, you’ll need to spring into action quickly. If there’s no easy indoor option available at your venue, rent a tent, just in case.

And if you wake up to light rain, don’t wait until the last minute to put your Plan B into action. Check the radar and make the call. Have a plan to alert the guests to any schedule changes and make sure everything is ready to go.

4. Keep guests dry

A slight drizzle or quick afternoon rain shower may not be enough to move everything indoors, but your guests might get wet. So have a stash of umbrellas ready to hand out and put some fresh, fluffy towels in the restrooms in case of a downpour. May we suggest upgrading to our VIP package? You can enhance your luxury restroom trailers with fresh flowers, hand lotion, and other courtesy items to keep them comfortable rain or shine.

5. Keep guests cool

In the hot summer months it is especially important to keep your guests cool. Shade is key when you’re hosting an outdoor wedding. If there is not a lot of shade available at your venue, consider setting up tents with a variety of cool drinks and adding large umbrellas over guest tables. Offer fans and floppy hats to keep the sun at bay during the ceremony. Even a few minutes in direct sunlight during a short ceremony can make guests start to wilt.

6. Keep guests warm

As hot as it can get during the middle of the day, in some locations, there can be as much as a 20 degree temperature drop once the sun goes down. Space heaters in tents can do the trick to keep guests warm. Also, consider making pashminas available for the ladies as a fun way to stay warm. They can double as favors too.

7. Bug and wind-proof your venue

When choosing flowers, keep in mind that some hold up to the elements better than others. Hardy varieties including roses, zinnias, and dahlias stand up to a stiff breeze better than more delicate blooms. Also, keep in mind that some varieties attract more insects, for example, baby’s breath, peonies, and gardenias. To deter insects, incorporate natural pesticides into your bouquets and centerpieces including rosemary, lavender, mint, and thyme.

If your wedding is near water, you’ll need something more powerful like citronella candles and you may want to have natural insect repellant on hand for guests in the restrooms. Mosquitos are worst right before sunset, so plan the flow of your event around this time.

8. Keep your cake looking as good as it tastes

Fluffy buttercream frosting will melt and turn gooey in warm weather. Opt for fondant instead if you’re having an outdoor wedding. Caterers’ outdoor wedding tips include not displaying your cake outside if it is warmer than 75 degrees. If you absolutely must show off your cake, put it in a screened-in area to keep it safe from the scorching sun and insects. For best results, ask the caterer to bring it out from the cooler just before slicing.

The experts at Blue Ribbon Restrooms hope these outdoor wedding tips leave your guests with nothing but great memories. We are here to help make your day go as smoothly as possible. Get a quote today. And may the odds be ever in your favor!

6 Key Wedding Planner Questions to Ask BEFORE You Say “I Do!”

So you’ve got the ring and the date. All you need now is a plan. At first, you blissfully thumb through wedding magazines and furiously pin webpages. Then suddenly, it hits you like an avalanche—the sheer volume of decisions that need to be wedding planner questionsmade.

Before you panic, make one decision that will immediately condense your to-do list: hire a wedding planner. Of course, you’ll want to hire the right person for the job. To help with this, we’ve compiled a list of wedding planner questions which will give you a good place to start.

Wedding Planner Primer

Before we get to the questions, let’s consider why you might decide to hire someone to fill this role. Yes, a wedding planner is an added expense. But a good one can save you money, time, and most importantly, stress along the way.

And you don’t have to double your wedding budget to find the support you need. Depending on how much you have to spend there are different options.

You could contract:

  • A full service wedding planner to arrange every detail.
  • Someone to assist in choosing your wedding location and vendors only.
  • A day-of (which really means 30 days) wedding coordinator.

Whatever type of contract you choose, you’ll need to ask the right wedding planner questions to make sure your expectations are clear and everyone is on the same page ahead of time.

Wedding Planner Questions:

1. Are you available on my wedding date?

This is the first and most important question to ask. If you are looking to hire someone to oversee your event on the big day, you don’t want to waste time working with someone who can’t be there. On the other hand, if your date is still flexible and you know you want to work with a planner who is in high demand, it doesn’t hurt to ask for a few available date options.

2. What services do you offer?

It’s not always obvious from a planner’s website what kind of services he offers. Will he help you come up with a vision or is his speciality executing your vision? Does he offer full service event planning, day of coordination, or a la carte services?

3. How many weddings will you be working on at the same time?

On the day of your wedding, it will be important to know that you are receiving your wedding coordinator’s full attention, so make sure she won’t be juggling several events on your big day. But keep in mind that it is entirely realistic for your planner to be working on other weddings and events during the whole process.

Whether she can successfully plan several events including yours depends on the size of her team and whether the other weddings are local or far away. So, don’t be shy about asking for these details.

4. Do you handle professional service contracts and payment processing?

When it comes to contracts and payments, it’s crucial to figure out how your planner prefers to work: some prefer a lump sum from which they will hire professionals to take care of the details, others will ask you to cut the check for the pros yourself. Some planners have vendors they prefer to partner with, others will shop around to find the right pros within your budget.

The beauty of working with a great wedding planner is that she can help you remember details that may not immediately occur to you. At Blue Ribbon, we partner with several wedding planners to offer their clients premium restroom services at affordable prices. We are happy to work with your wedding planner to streamline your process.

5. Do you deal with rentals?

Again, day-of details need to be clearly spelled out ahead of time. The last thing you need on the morning of your wedding is a call from your photographer, florist, musicians, or caterer asking for someone to come and unlock your venue so they can set up.

We know how crazy it can be to coordinate various venders and rental teams on the day of your big event. That’s why our Blue Ribbon pros call or email our clients the week-of to schedule a two-hour window for placement of their luxury bathroom trailers.

Normally, we arrange an install on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday for a Saturday wedding. For a small fee, we will visit your venue ahead of time, walk the space with you and your wedding planner to figure out the best placement of your trailers to make installation easy.

6. What is the biggest mishap you’ve experienced and how did you deal with it?

We’ve saved the best of the wedding planner questions for last. You will want to figure out how your potential wedding planner deals with pressure. Having him explain a wedding mishap and what he did to remedy the situation will tell you a lot. Also, ask him what organization plans he has in place to avoid problems in the first place. The best planners do everything within their power to make sure things go smoothly and have a solid Plan B for when something goes wrong despite their best efforts.

When you get down to it, choosing the right professional to plan and coordinate the best day of your life is all about asking the right wedding planner questions ahead of time. Your wedding planner’s most important job is to make sure that no detail goes unnoticed. At Blue Ribbon, details are our speciality. Have your wedding planner contact us to get a quote!

Your Outdoor Wedding Reception Survival Kit: Top 10 Often Overlooked Items

When it comes to planning your big day, it can seem like there are a million big things to remember, especially if you’re having an outdoor wedding reception. While it’s fairly easy to make a list of the big things—ordering enough food, finding the perfect flowers, making sure there’s enough seating, renting the tent, etc.—it’s also fairly easy to let some of the smaller items slip through the cracks.

outdoor weddingRemembering these small, but essential items can really make or break your special event. Along these lines, one creative and highly appreciated gift that bridesmaids often give to the bride-to-be on her wedding day is a wedding day survival kit. The kit includes things like her favorite lipstick, safety pins, tissues, and tweezers.

You can think of this blog post as your outdoor wedding reception survival kit. We’ve scoured the web for the best advice from brides who have been there and put together a checklist of 10 often overlooked to-do’s. So without further ado, let’s dive in.

Outdoor Wedding Reception Survival Kit:

 

1. Designate a clean-up team.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that your caterer, venue staff, or other vendors will pitch in and help clean up after the reception. You’ll need to specify that as a service you want ahead of time and make sure it’s in the contract.

You may need to hire a separate cleaning crew or designate members of your wedding party for the task. If your wedding party will be helping out, remind them to bring comfortable clothing, so that they aren’t doing dishes in their dresses and tuxes until 3am (been there!).

2. Make a list of take-away items.

Every bride and groom remember to make a list of things they need the wedding party to bring to the wedding site to be set up before the wedding. But very few think to make a list of things to bring back after it’s over.

This list of take-aways is important because at the end of the night, you will be too occupied with guests and each other to direct the tear-down of your reception. Anything you leave behind at the venue will likely be tossed in the dumpster. So if you want to save that photo backdrop DIY project, make sure it’s on the list.

3. Consider where the wait staff will change.

This is especially important if you are having your outdoor wedding at home. If you have a guestlist of 200 people, there could be 50 or more additional staff people working at your event. How will you make both the staff and guests comfortable? Consider renting coat racks so that staff has a place to hang up their personal items.

4. Plan for restrooms.

If there aren’t restrooms at your venue (and even if there are only a few nearby), consider renting portable luxury restrooms for your guests. A good rule of thumb is that you should have one bathroom or stall per 35 guests. Take a look at our restroom trailer options to choose the size that meets your needs.

Each luxury trailer includes flushable toilets, a hot water system, climate control, an oak vanity with marble or Corian sink, skylights, music, lighting, and an automatic fragrance dispenser. For an extra special touch, upgrade to the VIP package (or DIY) and add:

  • Lotion
  • Mouthwash
  • Safety pins
  • Fresh cut flowers
  • Feminine products
  • Individually wrapped mints
  • Topiaries for outside the door
  • Hand-rolled real towels in a basket

5. Don’t leave floral arrangements in the sun.

Live flowers won’t last more than an hour in direct sunlight. So wait as long as possible to put out flowers before guests arrive. Keep them out of the sun and in a cool place until you are ready for them.

6. Make sure the seating cards don’t fly away.

Whether you have your guests pick up their seating cards from a main table as they enter or you have put out individual cards at each place, remember to plan for the wind picking up. There are many creative and elegant ways to weigh down cards on tables—from beautiful polished stones to ribbon tied to a glass or twine around branches.

7. Offer guests cute flip-flops.

No matter how many times you remind your girlfriends to wear comfortable shoes to your outdoor wedding (and do make it clear to all guests in your invitations that the wedding will be outdoors), some of them will still insist on wearing heels. Cute stilettos and soft grass just don’t mix.

8. Put someone in charge of being a photo gatherer.

It’s so wonderful that everyone can take photos with their smartphones and share the best ones on your wedding website or social media. However, guests with the best of intentions might forget to do that last step. One way to make sure you get those photos is to designate a friend as the photo gatherer.

Station this person (and it’s best if he/she is NOT part of the wedding party) near the exit with a computer and a memory stick. Ask him to remind guests to upload their photos before leaving at the end of the night.

9. Remember to thank great vendors publicly.

Wedding vendors often go above and beyond for their brides because they want your day to be perfect. Why not thank them by posting a positive review on popular wedding websites? There is no better thank you gift you could give a wedding vendor.

10. Relax and enjoy your day!

Above all, remember that this day is all about celebrating your love for each other. If you focus on that and on being present throughout the event, you will take home fond memories of the day. So, eat, drink, dance, talk to your guests, and take some time out just to be yourself.
At Blue Ribbon Restrooms, we’re here to take care of the necessities. What better way to show your guests you are thinking about their comfort on your big day than by renting stylish and luxurious mobile restrooms? Contact us to request a quote today!

Enjoy the Glow and the Go: The Guide to Outdoor Wedding Lighting and First Place Restroom Trailers

Outdoor weddings are some of the most memorable events. Theroutdoor wedding lightinge’s just something special about a celebration of true love blending with a beautiful natural space. But of course, hosting an outdoor wedding also comes with a special set of challenges. One big challenge is outdoor wedding lighting.

Before you dance the night away with your guests, be sure to balance safety considerations with setting the right mood. Fortunately, there are many creative ways to make your outdoor wedding lighting picture perfect.

In fact, done right, lighting can be used to transform your space, to make your decor look even more amazing, and to create incredible photo ops (Did someone say sparklers?).

Choosing Your Illumination Expert

When it comes to outdoor wedding lighting, it’s important to consider budget, safety, venue restrictions, and style. Choosing the right experienced lighting professional who can advise you on all of these elements is money well spent.

Ask your contact at the venue for recommendations for lighting pros who have experience with the unique challenges of the space you have chosen. A true professional should be able to show you pictures and offer recommendations in line with your vision.

Visit the site after dark

Once you’ve chosen your professional, walk the site at the same time as your wedding will be happening. This will help you to get a feel for exactly how bright the afternoon sun will be and figure out what types of existing lighting, you have to work with.

Again, plan to visit your site before you get too deep into wedding details. You don’t want to plan your dream wedding and then find out many of the elements you envisioned won’t work in the space you chose. For instance, while you may love the idea of each of your guests holding a candle to illuminate your way down the aisle, your venue might have a strict no open flame policy.

As you walk the site with your outdoor wedding lighting pro, take note of the outdoor outlets available and consider how many extension cords might be required to meet your needs. Also, work with your contact at the venue to figure out whether you will need any permits and ask if they know where you will need to file the paperwork.

Consider Safety

Identify any problem areas and brainstorm about what you can do to make the area safer. Besides lighting the main areas where the ceremony, dancing, and dining will take place, don’t forget about lighting areas around the main celebration spaces.

Pay special attention to pathways where you expect a lot of foot traffic; for example, between the main reception tent and the stylish, luxury restroom trailer you rented to please dear, sweet Aunt Betty, who wouldn’t dream of stepping into a typical port-o-potty wearing her good shoes.

Wait. You didn’t think to rent a stylish restroom trailer complete with running water, temperature control, interior and exterior lighting, marble sinks, and a lighted mirror? It’s not too late! Contact us today to secure your Blue Ribbon Restroom for your outdoor wedding extravaganza.

Additionally, lighting can potentially use a lot of electricity. If you’re hosting a wedding at home, discuss the capacity of your home’s electrical system with your lighting professional. Remember that the band or DJ will need to plug into your home’s system too. You don’t want to risk blowing a fuse in the middle of the First Dance.

Because of the extra draw on the electricity, it may make sense to bring in a generator to take the pressure off of your home’s standard electrical system (Blue Ribbon also has Whisper Generators available). If you decide to use a generator, make sure to place it well away from guests, out of earshot.

Consider Mood

Once you have safety concerns under control, you can think about the fun stuff—using lighting to make your celebration uniquely yours.

How will lighting enhance your celebration?

The Classic Outdoor Wedding:

Classic weddings are all about the glam. Strategically placed chandeliers or wall sconces can add an elegant feel to any outdoor space. Pair these classic light fixtures with silver candelabras on the tables and pillar candles in hurricane vases to add a warm glow. Anything that reflects light will help to make the space feel bright and warm.

If you’re dancing under the stars, strings of twinkle lights make the moment magical. Spotlights on the happy couple dancing for the first time or illuminating an ice sculpture can add a dramatic flare too. Don’t forget fireworks and sparklers for that grand finale feeling.

The Romantic Outdoor Wedding:

If your style is more romantic than classic, set the mood with twinkle LED’s. You can never have too many of these tiny, sparkly lights winding around tree branches, tent poles, and barn ceilings. Hang strings vertically to create a romantic backdrop for pictures or create a canopy of lights overhead. The possibilities are endless.

Lanterns with candles hanging overhead or lighting pathways also set a nice romantic mood. Use colors, like gold and rose to flood the space with a romantic glow. At the end of the night, have guests release floating candles into a pool or release glowing lanterns into the sky while making a wish.

The Rustic Outdoor Wedding:

Even a rustic outdoor wedding can use a touch of elegance. Choose globe-style lights that are bigger than Christmas lights and offer a bit more light. Line ceremony aisles or stone walkways with luminaries, like bag luminaries, to make a simple statement.

Going for a more eclectic look? Use mason jars in different shapes and sizes hanging at different heights with glowing Edison bulbs. When it comes to that rustic feel, you are really free to mix and match outdoor wedding lighting. You can even use lighting to divide up a large space. Suspend a chandelier made out of a wagon wheel above the dance floor, or create an intimate space with lights at each table. Get creative! It’s your day!

Whatever mood you want to convey with your outdoor wedding lighting, don’t ruin the mood with subpar restroom facilities. At Blue Ribbon we specialize in giving your guests a first-rate experience through and through.

Top Ways to Recycle Wedding Items

   TOP WAYS TO RECYCLE WEDDING ITEMS

The question arises about what to do with all the items you have when your big day is over.  Much like our wedding clients, Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers is very conscious of our environment and the value of recycling.  For those that dislike waste, there are many creative was you can recycle your wedding items. 

1)      RECYCLE WEDDING DRESS After the big day, you may find yourself placing your wedding dress in the closet never to be seen again. While saving it for your daughter to wear at her wedding day is the obvious option, there are many others.  Some of Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailer’s favorite ideas include:

  • donating it to charity
  • creating a pretty pillow
  • creating a new chic dress for a more casual event
  • christening gown
  • baby’s basinet.

wedding dress recycled to baby christening gown

                   recycle wedding dress                                  

2)       FLORAL One of the best ways to recycle the flowers from your event is to allow your guests to take arrangements home as a gesture of appreciation.

    

3)      FOOD Talk with your caterer or venue ahead of time and consider making arrangements to have any leftovers boxed up and given to a local food shelter. It is a great way to make sure there is no wasted food and at the same time help those in need.

We look forward to working with our Brides in 2017 and sharing the same passion for being environmentally friendly.   Recycling can be part of your everyday lives and even on your most special wedding day. It’s easy and takes only a tad of planning ahead with your planner and/or caterer. And what a difference you can make. If you have additional creative ways to recycle your wedding items please share them with us. Make sure to contact us for your wedding restroom trailer needs. Put your event in 1st place with Blue Ribbon Restroom Trailers!!!

http://blueribbonrestrooms.com/contact