Your guide to a fabulous outdoor soiree.
Don’t bother to turn on the stove or set the dinning room table. Fire up the grill instead. It’s time to get outdoors to eat, drink, and enjoy every glorious minute of summer. Here are the best tips to help you host the best backyard bash of the summer.
Timing is Everything
Summertime heat can be draining and put a damper on the fun so avoid midday gatherings. Host a brunch before noon, a late afternoon barbecue or evening dinner party that will be more comfortable and enjoyable.
Keep the Bugs Away
You want your guest to eat the food, not be the food. Keep annoying mosquitos away with strategically placed Citronella candles. Pretreatment of your yard with a mosquito barrier treatment prior to your party is a good idea, too. Hire a licensed and state-certified company to do the job.
Get Your Grub On
Chose a menu that can be prepared mostly on the grill. Plan ahead and marinate meats and vegetables. This step alone will have your guests calling you a barbecue master. Be sure to choose food items that can withstand the summer heat. Avoid salads with mayonnaise. Pasta salads are easy and can be jazzed up with jarred or home-canned fixings like sun dried tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, olives, and oil-based dressings. Want a menu that is easy and fun? Go with grilled pizza. Both savory and sweet. Try a grilled brie and fresh berry pizza drizzled with balsamic glaze and topped with fresh basil.
Drink and Be Merry
Leave that dusty cooler in the garage and set up a drink station to keep everyone happy with lots of cold drinks. Step it up and invest in a large tub to chill your drinks. Another great option is to roll your beverage cart outside and add a self-serve drink dispenser on top.
It’s Game Time
Even at laid back shindigs, it is a good idea to set out a few outdoor games to keep the fun going. Think easy games – like horseshoes, bocce ball or spades – that can be played while holding a refreshing drink in one hand. For family gatherings, set up the sprinkler and pull out the water guns for the kids. You might want to even try one of those water balloon gadgets that actually work. They fill lots of balloons in less than a minute.
Let the Music Play
Don’t forget the music. Have your playlist ready to stream or use Pandora as an easy way to get the music flowing. Be the first to bust a move at your own party. Dancing counts as entertainment, too.
Let There Be Light
For evening events, lighting is the single most important decor item. Using string lights, lanterns, and candles throughout the yard really set the scene for the party. String lights are the best choice for the most impact. They are affordable, reusable, and easy to install. Plus there are so many stylish options like mini flamingo or metal star string lights (Don’t be tempted to pull out those Christmas lights).