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The sun is shining and the beautiful weather brings friends and family outside. From picnics to BBQs, many homeowners will play host to a gathering during the summer.
Hosting a party can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be! For a small, informal get-together or a large Fourth of July party, you can host one of the hottest parties of the summer with a few ideas to really “wow” your guests.
Plan Your Menu
With any event you host, formal or informal, it’s important to be sure your guests are well fed! As soon as you’re able, begin planning what you’ll be serving. Consider the amount of people attending and time of day. Is it an afternoon gathering? Small appetizers and finger foods will do just fine. An evening event will require meal and menu planning, as guests will likely come hungry for dinner! Try to do these family style so guests can eat at their leisure.
If the intention is for guests to enjoy the beautiful summer weather outside, keep in mind that the food will have to stay fresh even if it’s sitting out. Avoid dairy-based dips that could be quick to spoil or chocolate candies that will melt in the heat.
Here are some food ideas to serve at an outdoor gathering:
- Fresh fruit
- Chips, salsa & guacamole
- Pasta salad, any dairy-free variation will do!
- Corn on the cob halves
- Texas caviar
- Fruit pies
- Strawberry shortcake
- Caprese kebabs, layer a cherry tomato, mozzarella and basil on a skewer and drizzle with balsamic vinegar.
Outdoor Kitchens & Backyard BBQ
Bring the heart of the home to your backyard by installing an outdoor kitchen. If you have a part of your porch or patio that is unused, this can be a great way to utilize that space. An outdoor kitchen requires an installation of a grill and new countertop that can withstand the elements. Some homeowners also opt to add a sink to their outdoor kitchen to make it completely functional and easy to clean utensils when finished. The average cost of an outdoor kitchen is $13,211 depending on your choice of countertop and what amenities you choose to add.
However, there is plenty of fun in a backyard BBQ as well. Most grills come in charcoal and gas, so be sure you have the right equipment for each before planning your summer party. Burgers and hot dogs are great, traditional choices, but did you know that vegetables and fruit are delicious on the grill? Season bell peppers, carrots or asparagus with salt and pepper and grill until tender. Pineapple and peaches make great grilling choices as well. Just be sure to brush with olive oil before placing them over the fire. You’ll leave guests loving these unique BBQ options!
Utilize Your Yard
If you’re hosting outdoors, you’ll want to prepare your yard in the same way you’d prepare a house, though this time, you’ll be tidying your lawn. Trim the grass and pull out any unsightly weeds, especially any weeds that have thorns or spikes on them. If children will be present, remove any large items they could trip over as they play outside.
Maybe your backyard could use a little color as well to add natural décor for your party. Hanging plants can provide color where you need it in your yard. Just remember to water frequently as they tend to dry out. Lawn ornaments can add a touch of style as well. If you want a more permanent solution, consider adding more flowers to your garden.
Create the Perfect Dining Space
The menu is set and your yard looks great, it’s time to set the table! For outdoor table décor, the options are endless. If you’re going for a whimsical theme, try mismatched plates and glasses with flowers in mason jars. Ditch the plastic table cloth for butcher paper, for easy and sustainable clean up once the party is over.
If the occasion is kid-friendly, use colorful paper or plastic plates with sunflowers in colorful buckets as your table’s décor. Include bright color straws for children, or even some adults, to use in their drinks.
Backyard celebrations don’t have to be anything fancy. If casual is what you’re aiming for, try a picnic gathering. Provide blankets, or have guests bring their own to sit down on in the grass as they enjoy the evening.
Regardless of where guests are eating dinner, try to keep the food and drinks on a separate table from the eating space. This helps to encourage friends and family to sit together and enjoy mingling outside.
Fun & Games for Everyone
Games are a great way for guests to interact and enjoy the party. By preparing a few in advance, you can ensure all ages have a great time. Here are a few ideas:
- Bocce Ball
- Cornhole or “Bags”
- Lawn Twister
Add Little Details
For any get-together, it’s always the details that will make a party unforgettable. If you have the space, try adding some party décor. Pennant banners and outdoor globe lights are trendy options. Don’t forget the citronella candles to keep mosquitos away as the sun goes down. Tiki torches are a good idea, but if you’re worried about the flame, try a solar LED light option. Lanterns are another trendy lighting option where you can add a candle. If possible, play some music to accompany the fun!
Besides décor, you’ll need to think about a few practical details. Invest in a few covers for serving bowls and plates so bugs can’t reach it. To avoid bugs in drinks, punch a hole in a cupcake liner and place a straw for it. You now have a bug-proof lid suitable for any glass!
Install A Fire Pit
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At the end of the night, when dinner and games are complete, it’s time kick back and relax with a s’more or two. Depending on your city’s codes, installing a fire pit or outdoor fireplace can be a great investment you can enjoy for years to come. It can instantly change the look and feel of your backyard and set the stage for an enjoyable evening.
Relax & Enjoy
After all is said and done, it’s your gathering, so be sure to enjoy it! Don’t spend too much time making sure everything is perfectly in its place, but rather, spend time with those you love who have come together. If you’re well-prepared, everything will go smoothly. Enjoy the delicious food, fun games and finish off the evening relaxing by the fire with your guests.
A backyard party can provide others with a fun space to enjoy the day. With a few simple, creative ideas, you can have the most memorable event of the summer.
Are you hosting a backyard party? What is your favorite tip to make sure your guests have a great time? Let us know in the comments below!