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Outdoor Entertaining Tips

By Sara Antonuccio
One of the best aspects of summer is getting everyone together for an outdoor party, whether it’s a formal sit-down dinner or a casual affair. Of course, as the one hosting the party, you have a few problems to solve and things to keep in mind to make your gathering a success. Here’s a look at some of those considerations and what you can do about them.
Focus on Comfort
First and foremost, how are you going to ensure your guests are comfortable? What kind of seating do you have, and is there enough space for everyone you intend to invite? If you don’t have a lot of outdoor furniture, decide if you can repurpose any of your indoor furniture or create your own makeshift seating areas. Older guests will need more comfortable and accessible seating, while younger guests can lounge on the grass or sit on outdoor cushions set up on the patio. 
Set Up a Drink Bar
Eliminate one thing from your to-do list by setting up a self-serve drink area for your guests. If your party is during the day, make sure the drink area is located in the shade and can stay as cool as possible. Coolers and ice buckets can help with this, and don’t forget to check periodically to see if you need to change out the ice or swap some warm drinks out for cold ones from the fridge.
Have a Solution for Bugs
Nothing puts a damper on an outdoor party like bugs. You might not be able to banish them all, but you can take some steps to lessen their impact. Mosquitoes and flies are the biggest pests of the summer season, and while most people immediately reach for the citronella candles, these aren’t actually all that effective. The best option is to provide bug spray for your guests, keep food and drinks covered and, if possible, hold your party in a covered or screened-in patio area. 
Keep the Weather in Mind
Depending on where you live, your summer party’s weather will be mild and pleasant, boiling hot, or rained out. Prepare for all three, no matter what. It’s like planning an outdoor wedding; have a strategy for all contingencies that you can execute at a moment’s notice. If it rains, know what needs to be brought out of the elements first and where everything, including your guests, will go. If the temperature is climbing, provide fans or even a sprinkler to cool things down.
Stick to a Seasonal Menu
If you plan on feeding your guests, keep the menu simple. Stick to seasonal dishes that are easy to share if you’re throwing a dinner party, or put together a selection of fun appetizers if the party is more casual. If your party is in the evening and you’re lucky enough to have a fire pit, or even a grill, don’t skip the s’mores!
Outdoor parties are a lot of fun, and as long as you keep these tips in mind, you can put one together without much stress and focus on enjoying the company of family and friends.


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