I don’t know about you, but I absolutely love it when the weather gets warmer and the sky gets lighter. It’s my happy time of the year!
Warm weather is also a great excuse to entertain friends and family outside. I really enjoy planning parties, but even the smallest shindig can take a lot of planning!
If you want to hold an outdoor party but are not sure where to begin… don’t panic! I’ve put together a six-step guide to planning the perfect celebration!
1. GET YOUR YARD PARTY READY
BEAUTIFY YOUR YARD
Your yard will be the backdrop of your outdoor party, so you want to make sure it’s ready for action and looking as lush as possible!
Do a bit of prep before the big day. Mow the lawn and pull the weeds. If you have some flowers that need planting, now is a great time to do it! Move anything you don’t want on display to the shed and most importantly… be sure to pick up any dog or cat poo!
GET YOUR GRILL READY
If you’re barbequing, the last thing you want is for the grill to stop working, so make sure it’s clean and in good working order. Check to see if you have plenty of propane or charcoal and that you can find the tongs.
2. WORK OUT HOW MUCH SEATING AND SPACE YOU NEED
TABLES & CHAIRS
You don’t want to be playing musical chairs with your guests at your outdoor party, so make sure there are plenty of tables and chairs to go around!
You’ll also need extra tables for food and drinks, as well as gifts if appropriate. Don’t forget to factor in extra table space for guests who bring their own dishes.
If you don’t have enough tables and chairs at home, don’t panic. See if friends and family have any you can borrow. Your local church or community center may be happy to lend some to you for a small donation.
Don’t forget tablecloths. Choose paper, plastic, cloth and vinyl depending on your budget and how many you need. My top tip is to have some clips on hand just in case there is a sudden gust of wind.
Setting up a canopy tent is a great way to have a shaded area, either for food and drink or guests who don’t like the heat. Ask friends and family if they have a canopy to borrow if you don’t have one.
Your food table will need to be big enough for all of your platters. You may want to plan out which platters you are going to use along with any food platters that you might have catered or any dishes that your guests will be bringing. Depending on how much you plan on serving you may need more than one.
If guests will be bringing desserts make sure you have space in your refrigerator, if needed, and an area inside to place them so they won’t melt or spoil if they are left outside.
On a hot day everyone will be drinking plenty of cold drinks. The night before your gathering, put your drinks in the refrigerator or on ice. Having plenty of ice will be important, along with a place to put it. If you can put your drink station in a shaded area that would be ideal.
A large crowd will create a lot of trash. Put a large trash can on the opposite side of the yard away from your food table. Have plenty of bags on hand since they will fill up quickly.
3. PLAN YOUR DECORATIONS
CREATE A PARTY THEME
Now for the fun part. Choosing a theme for your outdoor party will help you plan your decorations and tableware as well as giving your party an extra element of entertainment!
Your theme can be as simple or complicated as you like. It could be as easy as an old-fashioned BBQ with red and white checkered decor or a fun luau theme. The only limit is your imagination!
When you have chosen a theme, it’s time to think of your decorations. These can include tablecloths and partyware along with string lights, streamers, banners and centrepieces.
PAPER PLATES, NAPKINS & UTENSILS
Make sure you have enough paper plates, napkins and cutlery to go around. I recommend having two of everything for each person in case they misplace or drop them. Don’t forget to have lots of napkins and forks as these will be used for both the main meal and dessert.
When using cups for drinks, it’s a great idea to have a few markers close by, so people can put their names on them.
With all your food and dessert platters, you will need lots of serving utensils. Check to see what you have on hand and if you need more, you can either borrow or buy cheap ones at the dollar store.
4. ORGANIZE YOUR GAMES
Games can make a good party great! They’re a fantastic way for guests to get to know each other and let their hair down.
When it comes to outdoor games, I love cornhole, badminton, volleyball, horseshoes, bocce ball, croquet and frisbee. You can buy inexpensive equipment or borrow from friends and family.
If you have younger kids attending, set up some extra toys and games for them so they don’t get bored and their parents can relax a little. Bubbles, water guns and coloring books are great ideas.
5. DON’T FORGET THE EXTRAS!
It’s easy to overlook the little things when planning your outdoor party, but if you remember them, it’ll help your party run a lot more smoothly.
- Be prepared with bug spray and citronella to ward off any pesky critters
- Have sunscreen on hand for guests that need protection from the sun
- Keep a first aid kit nearby for any cuts and scrapes, especially if kids are running about
- Make sure you have plenty of ice and a shaded area to put your beverages, so they stay cool
6. HAVE A PLAN B IN CASE IT RAINS
Even with the most planning, any given day in the spring or summer can call for rain.
If everyone can’t fit in your house, you need to have a plan B in place.
You may want to arrange to have a tent set up, or you could have your garage set up as your party area. If you plan on using the grill, will you still be able to cook outside?
If it is convenient for everyone, it may be better to reschedule your outdoor party for another time. After all, we all want to make the most of the sunny weather.
Following all these steps will guarantee you will throw a stunning party that your friends and family will be talking about for months to come!
IF YOU’RE LOOKING FOR MORE TIPS AND ADVICE, CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE COPY OF OUR OUTDOOR PARTY CHECKLIST. PRINT IT OUT AND STICK IT ON YOUR FRIDGE SO YOU CAN CHECK OFF YOUR PLANNING AS YOU GO ALONG!