Now that we’re in the swing of summer, it’s time to start planning your next backyard party. To do it right, you’ll need to prepare a few things like food, drinks and the set-up. Whether you keep it small with only close friends or have a full-blown celebration with a giant group of people, these tips will guarantee the party’s a success.
Set Up Appealing Tables
Create eating areas people want to be at, communal spaces for lingering and laughing. Line the tables with brown craft paper, which makes cleanup mindlessly simple. Leave a few packs of crayons on the tables to give party guests another way to interact. For a more formal event with a seating chart, write place labels right on the paper. Also, add a classy touch with stemless flowers floating in bowls of water as a table centerpiece.
Bar cart and drink stations
People love having choices so set up a drink-mixing station to give them options. A bar cart is the perfect way to keep your alcohol separate from the non-alcoholic drinks, and easy to roll inside when it needs refreshing. Make sure it’s stocked with ice, summer options like lemonade, punches, sparkling wines, and fresh fruit. Berries, sliced lemons and limes will instantly take any drink to the next level.
Furniture and seating areas
No matter how beautifully your tables are decorated, your guests will want a separate area to lounge after they’ve finished their meals. Keep in mind that some people will naturally congregate in larger groups and some will prefer something more intimate. Don’t have enough outdoor furniture or it looks sparse? Move furniture from inside to outside. It will help things look a little more eclectic. At the very least, add some throw pillows to make the environment cozy.
Have a variety of food options
It’s important to make sure everyone will have something to eat. Make sure you have enough options to ensure vegetarians and vegans will have options. If you have invitations, consider asking for dietary preferences or restrictions there. Grilling? Keep one side of the grill for meat and one for vegetables or sides, thereby making sure vegetarians or non-meat eaters are kept happy. A burger or taco bar is a great way to minimize the work for yourself all while allowing people to have exactly what they want.
Light up the party
Think about the lighting aspect before it gets dark. Hang some lights from the trees: globe lights for an Italian restaurant feel, or even Christmas lights strung around a few trees. Tiki torches, candles or hurricane lanterns work for tabletop lighting. An outdoor fireplace or fire pit not only adds light (and warmth, if it gets cool at night), but can quickly become the new centerpiece of the party. S’mores, anyone?
A little extra thought about the party detail beforehand will ensure your guests are blown away by the results. Little touches, like labels at a place setting, will take your party from a casual gathering to a lovely evening spent with friends and family.