An outdoor party can be an amazing event. When it goes right, you get to chill out with your friends or meet new brand-new acquaintances, while enjoying grilled food, cold drinks, and the fresh air of the great outdoors.
On the other hand, planning such an activity can be a nightmare. There are dozens of variables you have to account for, and so many aspects that can go wrong and potentially ruin the experience.
Do you know which steps you can take to throw a terrific outdoor party?
Upgrade the Outdoor Fireplace
In the fall and spring, the temperatures may not be conducive to an extended outdoor gathering. Even in the summer, the air can still get surprisingly cold after dark. If just one guest shivers or has to put on extra layers to stay warm, that can bring down the vibe.
Steer clear of this by upgrading or buying an outdoor fireplace from eFireplaceStore.com. With the right kit, you can put together a beautiful, inviting structure inexpensively that adds beauty to your outdoor space while keeping your guests comfy.
Maximize the Lighting
If you’re hosting an event in the afternoon only, you won’t have to think too much about the lighting. But if your party extends into the evening and deep into the night, lighting becomes a necessity.
You’ll want enough that people can see where they’re going; pathway lights are great for this. But you’ll also want complementary lights that add ambiance to the environment. For example, a few strands of hanging string lights can instantly make the setting feel more cozy.
Choose the Right Group Size
When you invite guests, make sure you choose the right size of group for the party you want to host. If you want bustling festivities where everyone has the chance to meet new friends, feel free to invite as many as your yard will hold.
But if you want to have more intimate and expansive conversations (and less pressure on you to play the host), consider inviting just a few of your nearest and dearest.
Offer Plenty of Furniture (and Make Sure It’s Comfortable)
Outdoor parties fail almost immediately if they’re unable to provide their guests with comfortable seating. When there aren’t enough chairs to go around, your guests are going to feel out of place and uncomfortable.
Simple lawn chairs can help ensure everyone’s basic needs are met, but it’s better to invest in comfy, welcoming outdoor furniture. Padded chairs, benches, and other accommodations can make an outdoor party far more appealing.
Keep Things Clean
You can’t exactly clean a lawn. Nevertheless, the outdoor nature of a party is no excuse not to tidy up. If your outdoor space is unsightly, dirty, or strewn with objects, that’s going to turn people off almost immediately.
Spend some time pressure washing your siding, your deck, your patio, and any other surfaces your guests will see — and make sure all your furniture and cooking equipment are also in good, clean shape.
Make Food and Drinks Easy
Your guests are attending your party for more than just food and drink. But let’s be honest, those are undeniable high points. Make sure it’s easy for your guests to locate and enjoy these amenities, and make sure there will be enough for everyone to have seconds (maybe even thirds!).
Parties are all about socializing, but sometimes things can be tense or awkward, at least initially. This is especially a problem if you’re inviting people from different social circles, or if your guests have never met each other.
Solve this problem by having a plan to stimulate conversations. You may be perfectly adept at striking up small talk with anyone, but this may not be natural to all your party guests. Additionally, you’ll be in a unique position as the host; you’ll be more comfortable and more in control of your home environment.
There are several ways to stimulate conversation amongst your guests. For starters, you could use seat placements to encourage people to sit next to someone they don’t know; it’s a bit awkward at first, but it forces people to step outside their usual social circles. You could also consider hosting a kind of icebreaker game; for example, you could lead all your guests in a round of “two truths and a lie.”
If that fails, consider having some kind of talking point available in the environment. For example, a new piece of art or a new addition to your landscaping could serve as a jumping-off point for your guests’ conversations.
Have a Plan for Insects
Insects can kill the mood of an outdoor party. If bugs begin to attack your food supply, people will instantly lose interest. If your guests are getting bitten by mosquitoes, they’re going to want to leave.
Plan ahead for these possibilities. For example, you can plan to burn sage, citronella, or other strong herbs in a fire to repel these pests naturally. You can also make use of screens to keep bugs out of the food, and provide bug spray to guests for additional protection.
Devise a General Backup Plan
The weather forecast assures you it’s going to be sunny and in the 70s all day. That sounds perfect, but what if the forecast turns out to be wrong? A surprise burst of rainfall can put a damper on even the best-planned party.
So it pays to have a backup plan. In many cases, all you need is a covered area or a smattering of outdoor umbrellas to protect your guests from rain. But if the weather takes a more extreme turn, you’ll have to come up with something suitably stronger.
Can you invite your guests inside to finish things up?
Planning for an outdoor party shouldn’t be stressful, but it typically requires extensive forethought if you want to nail it. Devote a few hours to thinking through the options, and don’t hesitate to invest more money in your outdoor furniture and surrounding structures – especially if you intend to host more outdoor parties in the future.