Are you ready to party? We are! Summer is here, and we’re taking advantage of the warm weather to gather outside with family and friends and celebrate the overall lighthearted feeling that the season brings.
So whether you’re doing evening cocktails, an alfresco lunch, an outdoor BBQ, a picnic, a pool party, or a simple garden party, you’ve come to the right place. We’ve curated some tips to help you host your party with ease/in the most stress-free way possible! Let’s begin!
Once you’ve chosen where you’ll hold your outdoor party — whether on the patio, backyard, lawn, rooftop, or poolside — the best tip we could give is to have the eating area near an access point to your home. Easy access to the house is very helpful, especially if you need a quick kitchen, storage, or bathroom trip.
If you will be grilling, we recommend doing it quite a few meters away from the outdoor seating area due to the heat and fumes.
It’s also important to be mindful of the noise your outdoor party will create, especially if you have outdoor speakers that could potentially disturb your neighbors or if you’ll hold gatherings late into the night.
Since the weather is sometimes unpredictable, having a Plan B that allows your party to work indoors would also be helpful. When the weather decides to (literally) rain on your parade, it never hurts to run through some backup solutions.
TIP: If anyone in your family or circle of friends has mobility issues, keep them in mind as you design your outdoor dining space, so they can easily move around.
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Tables and Seating
Now, it’s time to set up! Your guests will need tables and chairs to sit and eat in. The picnic table is a great way to start. Since it can seat many people, you can add one or two depending on the number of your guests. You can also opt for folding tables, an area for the children to eat, or mix in lounge chairs and rockers to encourage guests to mingle and not sit at the party all day.
You can create a cozier area if your party guests are just your immediate family. Either way, it’s always best to provide enough space, so people can move comfortably around the dining area.
Lastly, if you don’t have enough to accommodate everyone, you can ask your guests to bring folding outdoor chairs. Think of it as a potluck but for the venue!
Don’t Forget About Lighting
It’s easy to overlook lighting during the summer since the sun sets later in the day. However, insufficient lighting as the night begins to set in can almost instantly end the party. Plan for proper lighting if you feel your festivities will extend beyond daylight time.
You can use string lights, lanterns, and candles to set the mood. These lights can create a calm and warm glow that can help transition the mood to an evening state of mind.
Curate a Playlist
They say no party is complete without tunes, and we couldn’t agree more! Having some music playing when your guests arrive makes for a great ice breaker and can fill the awkward silence in a room before the party crowds up. Plus, it can elevate your ambiance and get everyone to be in a cheerful mood. All you need is portable speakers, and you’re good to go!
TIP: Of course, the songs you pick are entirely up to you. For example, if you want your guests to feel like they are on the beach, you can play some EDM or House music. You can play jazz if you’re opting for a sophisticated city hotel bar energy. If you want a moody, soulful vibe, play some R&B.If you’re unsure, you can ask a musically inclined friend to curate one for you or let Spotify, YouTube, or Google do the work for you.
Keep the bugs at bay
Critters should always be accounted for as they can pretty much ruin any good time outdoors. You can prep your space with a natural bug spray, add stylish citronella candles or plants, or have an area where your guests can apply “courtesy” bug repellent.
Moving water features like mini fountains or humidifiers also can keep the insects at bay while freshening the air. You can also set up mosquito netting-like curtains if your space allows it.
The most important part: Food!
It isn’t a get-together without some food, after all!
Appetizers and nibbles of all kinds are always welcome at any party. A cheese or charcuterie board is always an excellent option when hosting a large group. Add various cheeses (hard, soft, strong, and mild), meats, crackers, nuts, olives, grapes, and summer garnishes.
You can also consider serving summer rolls, skewers, mini sandwiches, chips and salsa, or other seasonal or on-theme treats guests can easily enjoy while walking around and mingling. This way, guests can comfortably serve themselves and return for seconds if they wish!
Our advice, avoid an overly complicated drink menu but offer a good mix of beverages. A dispenser full of cold water infused with fresh fruit, pitchers of lemonade, or sodas and juices in a cooler is an excellent place to start.
If you wish to spike your drinks with alcohol, whip up a sangria with seasonal fruit, a large pitcher of margaritas to pass around, or your signature cocktail to make your gathering feel more special.
Light beer or summer ales are also great to have on hand for beer drinkers at your party. Keep things simple for your guests by choosing only one or two beer options.
You can also keep a few bottles of wine on hand. Rosé and prosecco are great crowd pleasers and offer a beautiful middle ground for wine enthusiasts. Generally, it’s always better to overestimate how many drinks you’ll need than run out mid-party.
An easy-to-use drink dispenser for drinks that guests can use to serve themselves. This will save you time and effort since you’ll only be responsible for refills if it runs low.
Ice, Ice, Baby!
No one can say no to a cold drink on a hot summer day. So stock up on ice to keep your beverages chilled!
There’s always room for Side Dishes and Desserts!
Side dishes typically include the classic mac and cheese, baked beans, coleslaw, salads, fried finger foods, and some kid-friendly options like fries, chips, hotdogs, and sliders.
For desserts, you can choose cupcakes, brownies, and seasonal fruits like watermelon, pineapple, strawberries, and oranges. You can also set up an ice cream sundae bar with tasty toppings and add other options like popsicles or smoothie bowls!
Set up a do-it-yourself food station, aka “a buffet.” It frees up dining space and is ideal for pleasing picky palates.
Add barbecues, steaks, hotdogs, burgers, tacos, sliders, and your family crowd-pleasers to your menu. You can also set up a salad, sandwich, or pasta bar station so your guests can serve themselves without a lot of prep on your end.
At the same time, don’t forget to account for various dietary restrictions. And, always purchase more food than you anticipate will be necessary!
TIP: Not much of a chef? Consider a summer menu around no-cook foods! Salads, sandwiches, and charcuterie plates won’t require you to turn on your stove but will impress your guests. If you’re pinched in time, consider ordering ahead from a restaurant you love!
Opt for Biodegradable, Recyclable, or Compostable Tableware
Trust us. You do not want to be stuck washing dishes after hosting the party! The solution? Disposable, compostable, biodegradable, or recyclable plates, utensils, and cups! You can find them practically anywhere now. It’s easier for clean-up, making them great for your party and the planet.
It’s all about the thoughtful and little details
You don’t need to go overboard on decorations, but remember that your guests will absolutely appreciate and notice it when you go above and beyond.
Nothing says summer like a colorful bouquet, whether you’re entertaining indoors or out. Display a vase of fresh sunflowers, tulips, daisies, or your favorite blooms to your outdoor dining space or buffet table.
Almost all your guests will need to use the bathroom at some point, and subtle touches like a summer scented candle, a fresh bottle or bar of soap, and extra rolls of toilet paper in a basket can instantly elevate any mood.
Guests will also need to drop bags and other belongings. If your space allows for it, clear off your closet or a spare room to encourage guests to leave their belongings there.
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