You’ve moved into your brand new home and now you want to share your happiness with friends by throwing a backyard party. An outdoor party can be especially memorable on a warm summer evening with friends chatting and crickets chirping in the grass all around. Discover several tips and ideas to make your outdoor party a roaring success!
Send Out Creative Invitations
Instead of just calling friends to invite them to your outdoor party, send out some unique invitations. One idea is to send out electronic invitations. Your friends will open their email to find an electronic invitation with all of the pertinent details along with party music playing in the background.
Another idea is to purchase some cards and envelopes to send out handwritten invitations. Your friends will appreciate the extra time you’ve taken with your old-school invitations.
Set Up Your Seating
Once you know how many people are coming to your party, you can set up your seating. If you have a collection of patio chairs and tables take some time to clean them with mild soap and water. Set out some folding chairs, stools and even an ottoman if you need extra seating on your patio or deck. Most party guests like to move around unless they're eating, but it’s best to have adequate seating for anyone who wants to sit and chat.
Make Some Menu Items Ahead of Time
It’s a good idea to make a list of the food and drink items you want to include in your outdoor party. Make preparation easier on yourself by whipping up some of the items ahead of time as opposed to on the day of the party.
For instance, make some raw bite-sized meatballs, put them in the freezer and bake them in the oven the day of the party. Also, you can freeze raw cookie dough and bake the cookies on party day. Other things to prepare the night before include salads, a vegetable plate, cheese cubes (wrap them in plastic) and artichoke dip.
Put Up Your Lights
Creating the proper lighting sets the mood for your outdoor party and lets your guests admire all of your impressive landscaping work. Along with turning on any exterior lights you have around the patio or deck, hang some colourful LED paper lanterns from trees in your yard. Put pathway lights around your patio, deck or garden and make them a permanent part of your yard.
Make a Plan for Your Buffet Table
Setting up a buffet table for your guests is an easy way to make sure everyone gets exactly what they want to eat at your party. Instead of the usual plastic forks and paper plates, go with real plates, glasses, and silverware. This will make your outdoor party a little more special for your friends.
Start by setting your plates, napkins, and drinking glasses at one end of a long buffet table. Put your forks in one mason jar and your spoons in another. Start your buffet line with salads, then move to your main dishes, side dishes, and put your desserts at the far end of the table. You can have a small table for beverages off to the side.
Clean the Bathroom in Your Home
Part of outdoor party prep includes making sure your bathroom is clean and has fresh towels available. Your guests will be travelling in and out of your home to use the facilities, so make sure they have everything they need without having to ask.
Set Out Insect Repellent Candles
Along with your guests, you’re sure to see some mosquitoes and flies milling around your buffet table. Put out some candles with a scent that naturally repels insects. Many of these candles are available in attractive containers so they can blend right in with your party decorations.
Create Labels for Your Refreshments
Some of your friends are likely to be vegetarians while others enjoy all types of foods. This is just one of the reasons to make an attractive label for each of the dishes on your buffet table. Also, you can use your labels to reveal a little of what is in each of your desserts, dips, sandwiches, etc.
Provide Fun Games for the Kids
If you expect some of your friends to bring their children to your outdoor party, it’s a good idea to provide some backyard games. You want the little ones to stay occupied, so the grown-ups can relax and visit. You may want to set up a croquet course, assemble a badminton net, or set up a cornhole game for the kids (and adults) to enjoy!
Make an Area for Dirty Dishes and Utensils
Since you’re using real dishes and silverware for your party, it’s a smart idea to create an area where your guests can put their used dishes. One idea is to put up a separate table in one corner of the patio with three dishpans on it. One could be for dirty dishes, another for utensils, and the last one for glasses. This will help make the clean-up process a lot quicker for you.
All the effort you put into planning your outdoor party will make your friends feel welcome and relaxed at your new home. Oh, and one last tip: check the weather beforehand! You don't want anything to rain on your parade.