Planning an Outdoor Party

Patio PartyAre you having an outdoor party? Make sure you don’t leave any of these things off your to-do list!

Outdoor parties are lots of fun, whether it’s spring, summer, or fall. Having your party outside may help you accommodate a big group when you have a small house, or keep everyone comfortable when it’s hot and stuffy inside. It can also be much easier to clean up after an outdoor party.

Just because a party is being held outdoors, however, doesn’t mean you are absolved from careful planning. Outdoors does not necessarily equal casual or thrown together! Here are a few things you need to do for a truly well planned outdoor party.

  • Have a well-stocked selection of drinks. Whether you are providing drinks, or telling people the party is BYOB and only offering soda, make sure your selection of drinks is well stocked. If you are providing liquor, be sure to offer a variety of beer and wine, and perhaps mixed drinks too. The best way to ensure everyone has fun is to keep the liquor flowing — that’s the number one rule for parties. But even if you don’t plan on providing liquor, be sure there is plenty of soda, water, iced tea, and other beverages to choose from.
  • Have a little something for everyone to eat. Even if you are asking everyone to bring a dish to share, chances are you are providing some food of your own. Keep in mind the tastes of your guests, and be sure to provide a little something for everyone. For instance, if one of your guests is a vegetarian and you are planning to grill, make sure to have some options they’ll be interested in. Speaking from experience, it is no fun to go to a potluck and only be able to eat from the dish you brought.
  • Make sure there’s plenty of seating. One of the most frustrating things is going to a party, especially an outdoor party, and then having nowhere to sit. If you don’t have enough lawn chairs to accommodate everyone, provide beach towels to lay out on the lawn, or even request that guests bring their own chairs. You can also borrow lawn furniture from neighbors, or perhaps even look into renting chairs if you are having a very large party.
  • Plan for pest control. Mosquitoes and other outdoor pests can be a real nuisance to guests who just want to enjoy themselves. Plan something to help keep the bugs at bay. For instance, citronella candles or oil are great for warding away mosquitoes. If the day isn’t breezy, fans can also deter mosquitoes and other bugs, as they don’t like wind.
  • Set the mood. If you don’t have adequate outdoor lighting, consider using a fire pit or even candle lanterns to set an appropriate mood after dark. Don’t feel like you have to turn day into night, though — good outdoor lighting should give your guests enough light to see by and to light their path, but leave part of the yard in shadow, too.
  • Have a backup plan in case of bad weather. Whether you rent some kind of shelter, such as a tent or canopy, or have somewhere inside you can move the party at a moment’s notice, a backup plan is vital to ensure your party doesn’t get rained out. You don’t want the weather to quell your partygoers’ high spirits!

Throwing an outdoor party can be lots of fun for both you and your guests, but making sure it is well planned will make sure there are no hiccups! Make a to-do list of all the things you need for the perfect party, including the items listed above and anything else you can think of, and be sure not to leave anything out. If you ensure that everything is taken care of ahead of time, your party is sure to be a blast!

Vera Mosley is an expert in party and event planning. In her free time, she loves to go camping and hiking with her family and two dogs.

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