When the weather is nice, you’ll take any opportunity to be outside, which makes summer the perfect time to put together an outdoor party. Rather than your usual barbeque or pool bash, why not plan an elegant evening under the stars? From what to stock in your outdoor kitchen cabinets to your policy on bathing suits, here are five tips for hosting a chic summer soiree.
1. Forego the paper and plastic.
Disposable plates and utensils are convenient, but they’re far from elegant. Invest in a beautiful set of outdoor dinnerware that will give your guests something to gush over. If you’re thinking you don’t have the room to store an extra set or two, keep these items in your outdoor kitchen cabinets instead of in your home.
While picking up your new dinnerware, also search for a lovely outdoor tablecloth. You want something a little more durable to deal with the inevitable perspiration of glasses — but nothing that crunches when you unfold it.
2. Keep the menu light.
Don’t try to weigh your guests down with greasy burgers and comfort food. Opt for lighter fare that can be enjoyed socially.
Also keep the weather in mind when preparing your menu. If it’s 80 degrees out, you’ll want to skip hot dishes and keep things cool. A gazpacho or watermelon salad is a lovely starter for an outdoor party, and lobster rolls are an easy eat without the heat.
3. Hedge against risk.
Are they predicting rain? Set up a canopy. Has it been a bit buggy lately? Hang a few repellant lanterns that will keep mosquitos and flies far from your party.
It is much easier to prevent disaster than react to it, so take all of the factors into consideration when planning. That includes thirsty guests that drink all of the champagne. Always have a few extra bottles on ice.
4. Be clear in your invitation.
If you have no hard surfaces in your backyard, advise ladies to wear flats. If the pool is open for use, let your guests know bathing suits are fair game. The last thing you want is for your guests to be uncomfortable — especially because of your failure to communicate the details.
5. Don’t forget the little things.
There are plenty of pretty ways to give your outdoor party a little something extra without going overboard on decorations. Freeze water balloons to replace the cubes in your ice bucket. Use fruit in place of a bowl or cup. Set up a cute serve-yourself-bar with a portable kitchen cart. Add some string lights between trees or along your hedges. Get creative with straws and napkin rings. It’s the tiny touches that will give your summer soiree five stars.
Hosting a successful outdoor party is all about planning, prioritizing your guests, and preparing for potential risks. When all your details are sorted, throw in some extra special elements that will make your party not only a success, but also something to truly remember.
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