During the summer months there are plenty of reasons to take the party outside! So throw open your doors, stock those outdoor kitchen cabinets with party essentials, and invite your friends and family over for some sunshine and good eats! Here are our top five tips for entertaining al fresco:
Serve Small Bites
Perfect for warm weather get-togethers, appetizers can be a satisfying main course instead of just a party starter. Just be sure to have enough bites for each guest, at least 12 pieces per person. Keep this formula in mind when planning your menu: 12 pieces per person times the number of people divided by the number of different appetizers. Serving an equal number of hot and cold dishes is also a smart idea. While one appetizer is heating, guests can nibble on a cold platter while they wait for the next tasty platter.
Build A Better Buffet
Keep food readily accessible by setting up a buffet table. Whether you are serving hors d'oeuvres, grilling up burgers with the works, or hosting a potluck picnic, having a centrally located table to place all the food just makes sense. Decorate with a colorful tablecloth, trays, paper napkins, unbreakable dishes and plastic ware. Finish it off with a festive centerpiece, such a vase of freshly picked summer flowers from your garden.
Consider Shade And Seating
Summer is the ultimate season for hosting outdoor parties, but staying in the sun for hours can take its toll on your guests. Patio umbrellas, party tents and canopies will be a welcome addition to any outdoor party. Just like with indoor parties, you should have enough seating to accommodate your guests when entertaining outdoors.
Set The Party Mood
If your outdoor party will run into the evening hours, place some candles on the tables, and tiki torches around the yard. Fragrant citronella candles have the added benefit of warding off pesky insects. String lights across patio umbrellas, and place a fan or two on the deck to help circulate the warm air. And always have some music on hand to help set the party mood.
The Signature Drink
Every host and hostess knows it’s essential to have cold beverages on hand for thirsty guests. Beer, wine, soda, sweet tea, lemonade and water are the usual suspects. But a signature drink can make your party an affair to remember. Decide on what that special drink will be (think fruit infused punches, sangria, mojitos, bellinis, and mimosas) and serve up ice-cold pitchers with fun paper straws and clear plastic punch cups. Don’t forget to keep some pretty beverage napkins and a sharpie marker inside bar cabinets or a portable bar cart so guests can label their drinks. And don’t forget the ice!
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