Now that the long days of summer are here, it’s time to head outside with your favorite people. There’s nothing more enjoyable than watching the sunset from your back patio as your friends and family chat around you. If you’d love to host an event, but you’re not sure how to do it or where to start, we have some outdoor entertaining tips for planning a summer party everyone will love.
The Guest List
You can’t host a party without guests! Deciding how many people you want to invite to your outdoor party will help you plan every detail of your event. Are you having an intimate gathering or a neighborhood potluck? A midmorning brunch or a summer spectacular? Whatever the type of gathering, no guest-list means your plans after that will be a guess-list. Take the speculation out of your planning: start early and get your guests involved. If you’re flexible on the date, let your guests guide you to a convenient time when they’re available. If you only have one date option, send out invitations with plenty of notice—the more notice your guests have to save the date, the more likely they are to attend.
Make Space for Outdoor Entertaining
Whether you go formal or casual, space is one of the first things to consider when you plan your outdoor event. Don’t plan a formal, sit-down meal if your space cannot accommodate a table—or tables—with seats for all of your guests. Even casual events will suffer without room for guests to mingle. You need to have plenty of seating space, but no one wants to be trapped in a corner by your favorite patio furniture. Consider creating small seating areas where guests can relax and chat but that leave enough room for your guests to move between areas.
A Serving of Fun
Food is an important part of any summer party. Whether you grill or go gourmet, it’s important that you know how you’ll get the food to your guests’ plates. Serving passable dishes is an easy way to serve a high-class meal without the hassle of serving multiple courses. Let your guests chat as they decide what they want to eat, and how much they want on their plate.
For casual events, buffet-style serving is the go-to choice of hosts everywhere! To avoid long lines, try setting up small food stations. One set of guests can choose their side dishes as another group picks their favorite main dish and everyone will keep moving. And don’t forget about drinks! Using a rolling cart as a drink station will let guests serve themselves so you can spend your time mingling rather than pouring.
After the Party
Decorating for a summer party can be as easy as hanging up a few string lights and using colorful napkins, but you can add as many festive details as you like. You may even be tempted to pull your favorite décor items outside to brighten tables and furniture, but keep in mind that not everything will survive an overnight stay. If you plan on cleaning up and bringing your décor inside as soon as the guests leave, your decorations may be fine. If there’s a chance you’ll take down your decorations the next morning, or that a summer rain-shower might crash the party, make sure your favorite indoor statues and pillows don’t end up outside. You’ll want to spend the day after your party basking in the praise of your guests, not making a list of the items you need to replace.
The last tip is the easiest: enjoy yourself! This summer party is for you, too. If you’re not having fun at your own party then no one else will be either. Keep the party as simple as it needs to be for you to enjoy it and the rest of the details will fall into place.
Now go pick a date and make sure Kirkland’s is on the guest list! We’ll be happy to help with a detail or two.