When the weather gets nice, no one wants to be inside. So, naturally, taking dinner parties outside is the way to go. However, there is something a bit stress-inducing about having an outdoor party: While one may be well-equipped to cook and serve inside, getting the yard ready to host people doesn’t always go as planned. And, outdoor parties sometimes call for a large investment in tableware and serveware, as not all goods can transition easily from the inside kitchen to the outdoor one. However, by doing a few simple things, you can have an outdoor party that everyone will be talking about without breaking the bank.
Pick A Theme: Whether it’s a summer holiday, garden party or an elegant Hampton’s style white party, picking a theme and sticking to it is going to guide the décor and the food - and, in turn, the budget. Staying on theme for the evening will allow for a stunning, streamlined look that is complemented by the food and drink served. Make sure guests are aware of this theme ahead of time, so they can plan to dress way up or be prepared to eat ribs with their hands.
Batch It Up: When it comes to drinks, you’ll want to make sure you have a variety of choices for guests. However, purchasing lots of spirits and mixers gets expensive and trying to guess what your nearest and dearest may want to drink isn’t the easiest. While offering a selection of wine, beer and soft drinks is good manners, creating a signature cocktail and/or mocktail is a way to offer another option. Pick a simple crowd pleaser — like a sangria — or find a sipper that is on-theme, making guests feel extra pampered.
Make It Cozy: While you may want to dress a table for dinner, the rest of the evening should be laid back and even a bit magical. Create a lounge area that guests can sit in post-dinner if they choose. Use benches or low seating for this area to make it special while maximizing space. Add some throw pillows in different sizes, colors and shapes to bring a chic vibe to the area. Lighting, too, can help with this while ensuring the budget doesn’t break. String lights that can be positioned easily across a patio or easily stretched across a garden area add a whimsical touch. Go even bigger and find ones that are theme-adjacent or complementary.
Don’t Forget Little Touches: There are a few small things that turn out to be very big deals when hosting outdoors. Tiki torches or a pre-party pest spraying will go far as the evening goes on. Having a barbecue? Passing out hand wipes for dirty hands is also another way to show your friends they matter. And, always think about adding a personalized touch — a placecard or small favor to remind gathered guests of the evening is something that should not be overlooked.