Summer is the perfect time for outdoor entertaining. If you want to have friends and family over for a summer dinner party, but don’t know where to start, follow these tips and tricks for a fun night:
Lay out the Basic Space
Plan out your space before the party. If you are having an intimate gathering, encourage your guests to sit in the same area by setting up clusters of chairs and tables. Place the food nearby so they don’t have to move far to grab a bite to eat. If you want your guests to roam about the house as they mingle, place snacks inside and outside.
However you set up your space, add cushions to chairs so seating is more comfortable. This simple gesture encourages your guests to loosen up and have a good time.
Set the Scene
Get creative and decorate your space by picking a theme. Great themes for summer parties include beachy, patriotic (for the Fourth of July) and laid-back pool party. No matter how big or small your outdoor space is, you can liven it up with paper lanterns, table linens and fresh flowers. If you’re limited on patio furniture, bring your indoor furniture outdoors to class up your party.
Consider livening up your lawn, too. When the sun is scorching in summer and killing your formerly green grass, replace it with artificial grass so it maintains that pop of green all year long. Also look at planting flowers, bushes and trees that can withstand the summer sun.
Focus on Food
Open up your home for a potluck. This ensures you will have a variety of food, encourages small talk and takes the burden off you to provide all the food for your guests. But, if you’re up to the challenge of preparing all the food yourself, focus on cooking the entree and cater the sides. Be sure to ask if anybody is vegetarian or has food allergies.
Prepare as much of the food as possible in advance so you don’t feel overwhelmed on the day of the party. Some easy staples for outdoor parties include fruit and veggie platters and chips and dip. As for the entree, add your own flair by adding herbs and a unique marinade to your meats.
To keep your guests hydrated, set up a beverage station so they can help themselves as they dine and converse. If you want to take that extra step, put flower petals in your ice cubes or buy crazy straws to make your party feel whimsical.
Play Feel-Good Music
Music adds a lot to the ambiance and mood of your party, so plan ahead. Use Spotify to find music that matches your theme or create your own playlist that includes your favorite feel-good tunes. Consider having multiple playlists so you can play upbeat pop music at the beginning of the night and more relaxed, calming music as it gets later.