17Sep2015

10 Tips for an Effortless Outdoor Party

outdoor garden party

Planning an outdoor party can be extremely fun, especially as hot summer days give way to fall. Here are ten tips to help you make your outdoor party feel effortless:

1. What should your invitation include?

Sending out a paper invitation is still a good idea, even if your party is not actually going to be that formal. Why send out a real invitation? Because this invitation should include information about what kind of food you are going to be feeding your guests, what they should wear, if they should bring anything, and what is going to happen if rain tries to interfere with your fun. While you don’t have to disclose all of the details of your party or provide a dress code, giving your invitees an idea of what to expect is always a good idea so they know how to prepare.

2. Make sure you get enough seating.

Most people with yards have a little bit of outdoor furniture. What are you going to do, however, if you invite fifteen people but you only have five outdoor chairs? The first step is to look at your indoor furniture and see what can be brought outside. Stools, bean bags, your kitchen chairs—anything else that can be used for comfortable outdoor sitting should find its way outside. Otherwise, you can always consider renting extra chairs to accommodate your guests.

3. Do you have enough lighting?

Lighting at your party is, again, going to be extremely important. Especially as fall approaches and the days shorten, you are going to have fewer and fewer lighted afternoon hours. You don’t want to have to cut your party short just because the sun has gone down. Make sure you have enough outdoor lighting to keep your space well lit and welcoming, even if the sun’s gone to bed.

4. Plan for bugs like mosquitoes.

Having a swarm of mosquitoes descend on your party is annoying. You can plan for them in order to make sure that they don’t actually ruin your party. Start by getting rid of any standing water in your yard. If you have pools of rainwater collecting somewhere or a pool set up, consider removing these sources before your party. You can also turn on some fans. Because mosquitoes are very poor fliers, fans are usually more than enough to keep them away. Some citronella candles will also help.

5. Put on some music.

Everyone likes to have a little music in the background of a party. But how do you pump your music outdoors? You can always turn the music on inside and make sure that your windows are open. You could pick up an inexpensive outdoor speaker at a local store and plug in your mp3 player, but if you are looking to throw an awesome party with some serious sound, consider renting some inexpensive audio equipment. It’s best to keep to classic rock—music everyone knows that is light on controversial themes, unless you know that there is a specific genre of music that everyone at your party will enjoy.

6. Get something for the kids to do.

If you’re going to invite kids to the party, along with adults, it might be prudent to set up an activity that they can do together. Blowing bubbles, having a water gun fight, running through sprinklers, and other outdoor games are good options. You could always let them throw in a movie, too, after dinner. They’ll gather inside while you and the adults enjoy your time outside.

7. Don’t forget to prep the yard.

Mowing the lawn, pulling weeds, and cleaning up dog and kid toys can go a long way when it comes to making your backyard feel like a real party venue. If you have pine trees in your yard that drop needles and pinecones, you might want to run a rake underneath them and gather them up. If you’re going to have a fire, pine needles are excellent kindling, and the absence of them in your yard will make your party a barefoot-friendly affair. Making sure that your flowerbeds and other parts of the yard are well-watered and green is a simple, but easy way to add class to your space.

8. Consider your food choices carefully.

Not everyone will want to eat hamburgers. Having enough other food choices so that even those who don’t like hamburgers or hotdogs have something to choose from is a nice touch. This can be sandwich fixings, salads, chicken skewers, or tofu dogs—just make sure that your only thing on the menu isn’t something that a portion of your guests won’t want to eat or can’t eat.

9. Ask for help.

There’s no shame in roping your friends into helping you as you are planning a party for them. In fact, if you need help preparing food or getting your backyard ready, many of your friends would be willing to lend a helping hand. Call a few people in early or the day before to help you make hamburger patties, cut lettuce for salads, mow the lawn, or cut fruit. This will lighten your load and make throwing an outdoor party even more effortless!

10. Weigh down your paper goods.

If you’re using paper plates and napkins, you might have to fight the wind a little bit in order to hold down those things. Bring out some paperweights or set your table so that the silverware holds down the plates. That way, you won’t have to be constantly chasing paper goods across your yard, while also trying to grill and entertain your guests.

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