You want to be known as an outdoor super-host! Whether you're hosting for the first time or already have some experience, this guide will help you get started and provide some patio party tips ensuring your friends and family have a great time.
Spend time planning your menu and drinks
Planning your menu carefully is essential to the success of your event. Food is one of the most critical elements of a great patio or backyard party. Be sure to include classic BBQ items such as Burgers and Hot Dogs for the kids. But, of course, you'll also need that defining item, such as ribs, grilled fish, or some delicious lamb skewers. Get creative with it, and your guests will be talking about the food for days. Also, include a variety of drinks on offer—ideally, at least one non-alcoholic option for those who prefer it. Lastly, ensure you have enough glasses (consider eco-friendly disposables) for everyone and don't forget drink mixers!
Don't forget the extras
When planning your outdoor party, ensure that you have enough of the right supplies. You'll need plates, cups and utensils for your visitors. Spills are going to happen. The strategic placement of napkins will ensure guests can quickly and discretely clean up after themselves -- leaving less work for you later on!
Don't forget to place garbage and recycling stations in easy-to-find locations. These details will keep everyone's surroundings clean and organized as the festivities proceed.
And finally: plan for the weather! Depending on where you live, being prepared can mean having things like tarps strung up before guests arrive and umbrellas set out so people can find them easily in case it rains. Also, consider a backup plan in case guests have to move indoors.
Make sure guests are comfortable
Always make sure your guests are comfy. There needs to be spots for people to sit down. If you're lacking outdoor seating, those extra folding chairs you've stored away should make an appearance to guarantee everyone's accommodated. If you're hosting a party with alcohol (or any other beverage), everyone needs to be able to put down their glass. This means having plenty of space on outdoor tables or a bars set where guests can rest their drinks while they continue enjoying time with friends and family members.
Set the mood of the party with music
Music can set the tone for your party and help establish a relaxed and festive mood. A Bluetooth speaker is a great way to play music outdoors, as you can easily connect to it from your phone or tablet. At first, you'll want to be mindful of the volume so guests can talk and mingle without shouting over loud music. If you're serving an outdoor meal, keep the volume low, at least until everyone has finished eating (and adjusting to the party atmosphere). After the dinner is complete and guests have had a few beverages, everyone will be more "receptive" to some louder tunes.
Think about different types of guests
When you're dealing with different types of guests, think of the following:
- Are there kids at the party? If so, consider activities that are appropriate for them.
- Are there seniors or grandparents at the party? If so, offer more relaxing activities that don't involve alcohol or loud music. Offer a place where they can sit down while they eat and talk with friends over a cup of tea or coffee.
- How will your outdoor space accommodate larger groups? Suppose there is not enough space around tables outside for everyone attending your event. In that case, especially if you're inviting large groups (for example, 10+ people)—you should consider moving some people indoors instead of squeezing everyone into one area.
Don't worry if everything isn't perfect
A common misconception is that hosting an event is a competition. It's not. If you're having fun, your guests will have fun too! So don't sweat the small stuff; if something goes wrong with your party (and it probably will), don't worry! Your guests won't even notice if they're having a good time.
The idea behind an outdoor gathering is to create an environment for people to socialize and have a good time. So try not to get too caught up in worrying about what could go wrong or how things could be better—it's all about putting yourself out there and doing your best!