How to entertain for guests on your outdoor patio.
Patio parties are some of summer’s most enjoyable activities, with guests’ laughter carrying through the backyard and good friends sharing a relaxing and fun evening. Just like an indoor party, it’s important to plan ahead and pay attention to details that will make your party successful.
Plan the overall setup of the party area to promote ease of movement. If you want your guests to mingle, set up several seating areas and make sure there are tables scattered throughout your patio so people can set their food and drink down, even if they’re standing. Tables of bar height are especially good for the latter. If you plan to have a more formal sit-down dinner, arrange outdoor furniture with plush patio furniture cushions so your guests will be comfortable sitting for extended periods of time. Arrange the layout so attendees can easily access the house’s interior, whether to help in the kitchen, visit the restroom or take a tour of the home before coming back outside.
Beyond tables and chairs, your outdoor environment should provide plenty of pretty things to look at. A fire pit set creates an active focal point and is helpful for keeping chilly evenings bearable. Centerpiece ideas for tables include fresh flowers, candles in hurricane containers or decorations that speak to the party’s theme. Try miniature cakes for a birthday, caps or tassels for a graduation or elements particular to an anniversary year in materials like paper, silk or silver. If you’re in the middle of mosquito season, consider citronella candles for decoration and to ward off insects. Consider offering guests citronella or other essential oils for pest prevention as well.
Preparing food on the grill is a no-brainer for an outdoor party, but you’ll also want to consider side dishes and drinks. Easy oven appetizers like mini-quiches and hot wings and cold side dishes like pasta or fruit salad let you keep your focus on your guests instead of the kitchen. For a casual event, a cooler or two on the patio with bottled drinks on ice will work just fine. Give thought as well to setting up a table with several types of drinks guests can choose from, making punch or sangria or, if your outdoor affair is a bit more formal, hiring a bartender from a local service.
Adults at a patio party should be able to keep themselves occupied chatting with one another, but you can always plan some conversation-starting questions if you think your guests will need help. If children will be accompanying adults, set up some simple games to keep them entertained, such as badminton, croquet or ladder ball in the yard adjoining your patio. If you have a smaller patio space, designate a play area with crayons and coloring books or some of your children’s favorite toys.
Because patio parties are generally laid back, you needn’t stress about making everything perfect. A few simple decorations, delicious foods and a variety of entertainment options for guests will help you make the most of hosting a casual or formal event on your patio.
Published in: Entertaining