How To Throw The Perfect Outdoor Party
Written by Neighbor Editorial Team | @neighboroutdoor |
Tips for hosting a epic outdoor event.
With summer’s arrival, planning or attending an outdoor party is the perfect way to reunite with friends and loved ones. Whether it be a large gathering or an intimate dinner, the right setup in your backyard, garden, or patio will allow guests to enjoy a few hours of good food and conversation.
Hosting an event outdoors requires a bit of know-how, and if you’ve never planned one before, preparation is key. For example, you’ll need everything from your patio furniture to the portable speakers for your favorite playlist in your outdoor space to be weather-proof. Choose durable serve ware and washable linens to keep the clean up to a minimum and don’t forget to think about how your space will be lit after the sun sets. Other things to keep in mind: bugs, shade, spills, and trash.
Whether it be a small wedding or a long overdue celebration, if you’re thinking of throwing a party outdoors, read this first. With a some prep, simple decoration, and Mother Nature on your side, your backyard, garden, or patio will be the perfect venue.
What to plan for
Before you jump into planning out your decorations and fun cocktails recipes think through everything your guests will need when spending time outdoors. It’s easy to forget the little things, like somewhere to plug in a phone, but those are what will make your event run seamlessly. Here’s our list of things to plan for when getting ready for an outdoor event.
The most obvious thing that can foil your plans for the perfect outdoor party is weather. A mild, sunny day is ideal but as long as you’re prepared, your guests can still have a good time in intense heat, humidity, or even rain. Check the weather forecast as your date gets closer and set your space up accordingly. Your guests might benefit from fans and shade umbrellas on hot days, blankets for cold evenings, or tents if the forecast calls for rain. Let them know ahead of time to bring certain clothing items if needed. It always helps to have a backup plan if possible in case of extreme weather. With Mother Nature, you just never know!
There’s always more to charge up and plug in than you think. When you’re setting up, you’ll find you require power for things like speakers, a portable fan, and your outdoor lights. When the party starts, you’ll probably need a phone charger handy as well. You might need an extension cord or power strip to accommodate your set up. Be sure the cords are secured and tucked out of the way when possible, and protected in case of rain.
Insects and Animals
Nobody wants to think about biting insects and pests, but they are worth planning for. Invest in a bug zapper or citronella candles if the season calls for it, and have lightly scented bug spray on hand. To keep away flies, bees, and other animals, cover food and sugary drinks and clean up waste and trash promptly. A fire pit also helps keep the bugs away naturally, and creates a great late night ambiance.
Speaking of trash, you’ll likely have lots! Think about how you will clear away finished food or where your guests can toss items like paper cups and napkins. Keep the trash in a spot that’s easy to get to, but not close to where people are lounging or eating. Also, make sure you have a plan on where to recycle things like wine bottles and beer cans. Depending on where you live, you might want to call your city and schedule an extra pickup after a big event. Renting trash bins is also an option.
You don’t necessarily need a huge space to host a fun summer party, but if you want your guests to stay for a while, make sure you have enough seating for everyone. Think about adding a stylish sofa or sectional, like the Neighbor teak outdoor sectional, teak outdoor sofa, and teak ottoman. An outdoor table is great for formal dining. Accessorize with a cozy outdoor rug to warm up the space and make it more inviting.
If you’re serving food and some of your seating is on patio sofas or sectionals, plan for spills. Durable patio furniture fabric like Sunbrella is easy to clean and machine washable so you won’t have to worry about food or drink stains during your event. Rent or invest in an outdoor dining set that is spacious enough for your guests to pull up a chair to share a meal. Put out coasters for drinks and napkins for quick clean ups.
How to make your party a hit
There is always the option to invite a few friends over and enjoy a meal outdoors without any bells and whistles. Planning a party, however, means thinking through each and every detail so that your guests feel taken care of and are left with a lasting memories of a beautiful day. Use this checklist when planning your party or celebration.
Hosting an outdoor party at your home means figuring out how to best use your space as a venue. You won’t get to consider different venues and choose your favorite like you might for a different event. That said, a soiree at your home is fun because it brings a personal touch to the celebration. Your guests will get to experience your space and you’ll get to think about your home in a new way. Start with seating and layout. You might need to add items, like an outdoor sectional, a few versatile outdoor poufs, or an outdoor bar to elevate your space. You’ll want your space to feel inviting and well lit, comfortable enough for guests to settle in for an evening of fun.
Think mostly about numbers here, as you might be limited by the size of your backyard or the amount of seating you have. If you’re hosting a celebration for someone else, like a birthday party or baby shower, reach out to them to make sure you haven’t forgotten to include any important people. Consider if you’ll allow kids or not and make it known on the invitations. An outdoor party is a great way to reconnect with people you haven’t seen in awhile!
Don’t skip this step! Invitations don’t have to be complicated, but they’re the easiest way to communicate information about your party. Give potential guests your address, a start time, and a date to RSVP by. A text or email invite is an easy option that saves paper and takes very little time to create. Think about linking out to a registry or communicating a theme if there is one.
Speaking of, a theme will make decorating for your party easier, might inspire how your guests dress, or could be the reason you incorporate an activity in the schedule for the night. You can go with a generic theme, like a Pool Party or Backyard Movie Night or have fun with something like a 20’s Speakeasy, Tiki Bar, or Casino Night. Do a quick search for party ideas or party decor if you need more ideas. Let your theme inspire any rental items you need as well as your food, drinks, and decorations. The options are endless!
Food and drink
Once you know how many people you’ll be hosting and whether or not your event will have a theme, it’s time to plan your menu. Food and drinks are often the star of a great party, so plan in advance. Dinner al fresco, appetizers, bbq, or brunch are common outdoor meals that are always a hit with guests. When you can, pick items you can prep ahead of time and cook easily. For drinks, choose a speciality cocktail mix or keep it simple with beer, wine, and water. Finger foods are great for more relaxed occasions, or if your party falls outside a meal time. Light, fresh food that isn’t inherently messy will keep your guests happy throughout the bash while they mingle. If you want to get creative, host a potluck where each guests brings their own dish. This will save you time, money, and gives you a chance to try new foods.
There are so many options to choose from when it comes to decorations for your outdoor party. Outdoor lighting works in terms of functionality and decor. Think tiki torches, market lights, or candles in lanterns or mason jars. Centerpieces at dining tables and coffee tables are great for bringing in fresh flowers. If you have a party theme, get creative with how you incorporate it into your decorations. Add color and patterns where you can. If you’re on a budget, instead of worrying about working with a florist or rental company, DIY by focusing on one area of your yard and repurposing items in your home as decor, like an outdoor pouf or houseplant.
Good music has the power to influence how your guests feel throughout the evening. It’s a mood booster! Make or choose a playlist with an idea of how you want the atmosphere to feel. Set the volume so that people can still hear each other. To curate the perfect playlist, choose a variety of songs in the same genre that are upbeat enough for flowing conversation and not so distracting. The top charts can work if you have a rowdy group who likes to dance, but indie music or a catalogue of oldies speak to a larger crowd and keep the focus on the food and environment.
Outdoor entertaining is relatively easy, but you can make your backyard party more fun with the addition of activities and games. Things like a bonfire with s’mores or yard games like corn hole and horseshoe are fun for all ages. An outdoor movie is a great way to cap off a long evening, and group-friendly board games can be a hit with the right crowd. Keep in mind what the people you invite may be interested in and go from there.
Relax and enjoy yourself
Hosting a party outdoors is one of the best things about beautiful summer weather. As long as you prepare accordingly with the right guest list, playlist, theme, and prepare delicious food and drink, your guest will enjoy themselves for as long as they stay. Don’t forget to consider potential issues like weather, insects, and seating and make sure sunny areas are covered with umbrellas or a tent. Check the entry way to your yard and add lighting or prop the gate open to make sure people know where to park and enter the party when they arrive.
As always, outdoor furniture is a big part of outdoor entertaining. You’ll need your space (your home) to act as the party venue. Consider the addition of an outdoor dining table and versatile seating like poufs, stools, and folding chairs so that every person has a place to sit down when they need to. We like Neighbor’s outdoor furniture collections because they are durable, stylish, and comfortable. With the addition of Neighbor furniture to your party, you can relax and enjoy yourself knowing you don’t have to worry about spills or wet towels on your cushions. Add music and food that makes you happy and have a good time. The best outdoor parties are the ones where everyone is relaxed and having fun.