Outdoor parties are growing in popularity. Whether a formal event or simply celebrating the end of the week, decks, patios and backyards have replaced the indoors as the place to get-together. But memorable backyard parties are more than just paper plates and a Hibachi. Show your style and ensure your next outdoor party is a hit by following these basics .
Outdoor Party Lighting:
When the sun goes down, some creative outdoor lighting can turn a good party into a spectacular event. Ditch the patio flood lights and create some atmosphere with candle arrangements. Use pillar candles as a centerpiece for the table to create warm ambient light for conversation. Also place candles in hurricane or mason jars to protect them from the wind and strategically station them throughout the gathering area.
Consider paper lanterns and string, laser projectors lighting to frame in the party area, accent areas of interest or fill in shadows. There are a number of solar and battery operated party lighting options that add convenience and sophistication. Speaking of solar lighting, consider safety by using solar landscape lighting to create a path or mark play areas and party boundaries – they can be easily repositioned as needed during the party.
Outdoor Party Comfort:
The comfort of your guests should never be overlooked. Keep a basket of stylish throw blankets near conversation and lounging areas to keep your guests cozy on chilly summer evenings. Also, utilize one of the many affordable options in electric or propane outdoor patio heaters – from free-standing to tabletop – they are portable, convenient and can be used year round.
Guests should never have trouble finding a seat. You can ask guests to bring their own or you can show some serious style by providing inexpensive chairs, throw pillows, blankets or cushions for your guests to use. Having your own seating gives you some control over where people sit and helps you orchestrate an exceptional party.
Entertainment is the cornerstone of every backyard get–together. The old standbys like Bocce ball, ladder golf, crochet and bean bag games can keep your guests entertained. If there are kids, place baskets of crayons, coloring books, sidewalk chalk, or bubbles near play areas for a special touch – the parents on your guest list will appreciate the thoughtfulness.
A little ambient music will spice up your outdoor entertaining. Position outdoor speakers near gathering areas – but keep the volume low enough that conversations won’t need to compete. Consider one of the many audio-docks and ask your guests to bring their iPods to help “DJ” the party.
Truly wow them at your next backyard party by showing a movie under the stars. There are a number of affordable options from inflatable screens to portable and compact projectors. This will truly set you apart and establish a new neighborhood standard for outdoor living.
Guests seem to remember how food and refreshments were served far longer than exactly what was served, so never discount the importance of the table top. Use centerpieces to bring a little flare to the event – often a few small arrangements are more aesthetic than one large one. Keep it simple with flower clippings from around the yard or decorative pots with fruits or shells. Also, keep them practical so they don’t become obstacles for your guests to work around as they eat and converse.
Forget the paper and go green with durable and stylish melamine tableware. Use dish towels or linens for napkins and don’t scrimp on the tablecloth – use a light color with bright and festive cotton or linen runner. Use leaves from around the yard as coasters – lily-like plants such as hosta work well.
Master the fundamentals then add a few details and you’re ready to bring the party to life. Most of all have fun and keep it simple!♦