Ah, summertime! The absolute perfect season for relaxed outdoor parties. Whether they’re daytime parties that last well into the night, or more elegant evening affairs, they represent the perfect antidote to clubbing, standing in lines, crowds and being pushed around. At an outdoor party you can actually mingle and talk to people, enjoy the fine breeze of the summer dusk and drink wine under the stars. If there is a pool involved in addition to a gorgeous big backyard, then you have it all.
Still, one can never have too much help when organizing such an event, so we’re here with a few helpful guidelines that will steer you in the right direction and make your next party a smashing success.
If you want a party, you need people, and they won’t be there unless you remember to send the invites first. You can be a perfectionist and send out physical invites, but as this is a mellower event, you can definitely get away with evites. There are great websites that allow you to create gorgeously designed ones for free, so choose the template that matches with the tone and theme of the party, remember to mention the dress code – you can even create a silly rhyme, something like – we’ll be grilling so feel free to come casually chilling – or something better than that.
Time is an essential piece of information, and aside from that you don’t need to mention anything else. You can perhaps specify that no gifts are necessary if it’s not a celebratory occasion, but other than that you’re good to hit send.
Once you get your RSVPs, the first thing you want to do is make sure you have a sufficient number of tables and chairs. If you get more plus ones than you expected and can’t find the extra chairs, a great alternative can be found in cute picnic blankets that you can spread around the yard. It will give people the chance to chill on the grass, and who knows, perhaps some sparks will fly when two strangers meet on a romantic picnic quilt. Now, if you’re a stickler for order, you can always splurge on chair rental, which, if done in good time, can be pretty affordable – it all depends on your budget and vision.
One of the hands down best things about casual outdoor parties is the fact that you know food awaits you there. Some people like to hire a catering service and serve finger foods, but the old school (read: best) parties are barbecue ones. If you have a grill and fancy yourself quite dexterous with it, go ahead and show your mastery. Every region has unique and different barbecue styles, so stick with yours and you are golden.
Now, one of the perks of a barbecue is that you can even cater to the needs of your vegetarian and vegan guests, as grilled vegetables can be mouth-watering delicious. Of course, chicken, burgers, bratwursts, and even stakes if you’re feeling fancy can be on the menu. Just make sure you have plenty of BBQ sauce to go around, as well as a variety of salads and those other scrumptious BBQ toppings that bring out the flavor of the food best. Of course, ensure there are plenty of plates, forks, knives, napkins and cups.
Running out of drinks in the middle of the party can be a real buzzkill, so go back to your headcount and asses how much liquor you need. Now, the types of liquor that mesh best with barbecue food are the good ol’ beer, wine – especially citrusy ones if you’re going with white and if you’re stocking up on red you might want to go with something spicy like the Altos Las Hormigas, which is an affordable yet great red wine. When it comes to spirits, if you want to take the party up a notch, bourbon and BBQ go hand in hand, but you can always make a batch of sangria or margaritas for later in the evening when you’re all done with food and ready to do some light dancing under the stars.
Even though the right chairs and picnic blankets are a god start, and you’ll have the stars as your decoration, some globe string lights, elegant round bulbs that give a great warm light wouldn’t hurt. They’re incredibly affordable, but if you don’t want to go through all the trouble, you can even use your Christmas lights and have a colorful fiesta. A few colorful paper lanterns or tealights will make for a nice touch, and you can even place candles and wildflowers in different vases you already own on the tables for a more intimate and romantic setting.
One helpful tip: don’t go overboard with the color palette – choose three colors that mesh well together so the ambiance has an elegant not haphazard feel about it. You don’t have to spend a million on decorations, you just have to choose your colors wisely.
Mosquitos love us during the summer, but it’s an unrequited love, so do the following to keep them at bay – make sure your yard is dry, use fans if you have them as these things are pesky but not the best flyers so fans will chase them right away. Finally, stock up on bug wipes and offer them to guests, just in case some of the uninvited visitors still manage to crash the party.
The night before the party you have an important task – create the perfect playlist – five hours of music, just to be on the safe side. Include all the popular songs that everyone loves, not just you, and stick with the classic and new hits – these are always a foolproof choice. Make sure you include some suave dancing tunes for the evening, even if you won’t be cranking up the volume as you don’t want to disturb the neighbors and deafen your guests. The volume should be high enough to get people to do their moves, but low enough so they can still talk normally.