Level Up Your Outdoor Entertaining This Summer
Summer has officially begun and it’s time to celebrate with family, friends, and outdoor fun!
With great weather, delicious seasonal treats, and endless reasons to celebrate, it’s the perfect time to throw a backyard party.
Whether you’re hosting a family reunion, a tiki-themed pool party, or a good old neighborhood cookout, here are a few tips to take your outdoor entertaining to the next level this summer.
Begin With a Vision
Not every occasion calls for an over-the-top theme complete with lavish decorations and costumes(but this can be fun, too!). It is, however, a good idea to consider what you want your event to look like before you begin.
Try this visualization technique:
Picture everyone on your guest list in the space you’ll be using. Try to see where your loved ones are gathered, and what they are doing.
Do you see your guests playing games in the grass, standing around a fire, or tearing it up on the dance floor? What are they eating and drinking? What sights, scents, and sounds could enhance this moment?
Contemplate the outdoor conditions as well. Make a note if you will need to provide additional light or shade, depending on the location and time of day. Will you need additional seating? You may want to consider providing insect repellent or citronella candles in case uninvited biting pests show up to the party.
With a simple plan that includes a few decorative touches, a small but varied selection of refreshments, and a handful of entertainment activities, you’ll get to spend less time stressing and more time enjoying yourself! Envisioning how to create a welcoming and comfortable environment for your guests is the foundation of any good party.
So many special occasions center around food and summer parties are no exception! Fruits and veggies like raspberries, green beans and tomatoes are now at their freshest, and outdoor barbecues reign supreme.
After spending time planning out your refreshments, shopping for ingredients, and preparing your seasonal dishes and sides, why serve them on styrofoam plates with plastic cutlery? That’s like giving someone an engagement ring in a Ziplock bag!
Paper and plastic dinnerware also has a bad habit of blowing away in even the gentlest summer breeze and many environmentally-conscious folks are concerned about creating unnecessary waste with single-use products such as these.
Reusable materials like bamboo, metal, and ceramic dinnerware that will last for years are far more stylish and sustainable alternatives to buying disposable products to be thrown in a landfill after one use.
Euro Ceramica offers dining collections to suit any taste, from clean and contemporary to traditional folk styles. Want to stay sustainable but avoid excessive dishwashing? Arrange finger foods on serving dishes with toothpicks and recycled napkins.
Craft a Cocktail Station
Nothing is more refreshing on a hot day than an ice cold drink. Who can resist a fresh squeezed lemonade or, for those who partake, a fruity umbrella cocktail by the pool? Mix together a signature drink in a pitcher like one of these, and keep it chilled in the refrigerator until guests arrive.
For another interesting twist, create a signature ice cube by freezing your favorite drink combination in an ice tray, then fill a punch bowl with the cubes. Guests can add club soda and other mix-ins to create their own unique drink that gets more flavorful as it melts and won’t get watered down!
Arrange your beverage station with the tallest items, like soda or wine bottles, in the back, and keep it stocked with plenty of ice and clean glasses. Don’t forget to include stir sticks, garnishes, and cocktail napkins. Consider putting down a dark napkin or other cloth in the center of the drink station to soak up any small spills and changing it as needed throughout the event.
Whether you’re serving sweet tea or spritzers, a beverage station is always an elegant addition to any memorable summer party!
Include Soft Textiles
Take your guest’s comfort to the next level with this simple addition that expert party planners love. Fabrics, like tablecloths, throw pillows, picnic blankets and rugs, all add color and sophistication to any outdoor gathering. Consider layering different patterns and styles to produce a fun, eclectic effect that pairs perfectly with our collections like:
Tablecloths and cloth napkins may seem stuffy and old-fashioned, but don’t write them off! Both are great alternatives to the disposable stuff you’ll find at party stores because they are sustainable and can be used again and again.
Simply throw them in the washer and dryer after your event and fold them up for next time around. Black table linens are especially versatile because they go with everything and don’t show most stains.
Just because you’re hosting an outdoor party doesn’t necessarily mean your guests want to roll around in the grass. Some may have allergies or dislike the scratchy texture and exposure to bugs and dirt, especially if they’re wearing shorts or open-toed shoes.
Provide a little extra comfort by bringing out rugs and picnic blankets. These are easy to find at thrift stores and provide an extra barrier from the elements while your guests are eating, chatting, or watching fireworks!
These warm summer months tend to feel far too short, and before you know it we’ll be losing our tan lines and digging our cars out of the snow again. Enjoy all that the season has to offer while it lasts by incorporating natural elements with your party decor.
While store-bought flowers are a classic and lovely decorative element, there are also convenient and inexpensive alternatives that can have an equally upscale impact.
Consider filling a vase, jug, or canister with freshly cut leafy fronds or dried branches and smooth stones. Float a few handpicked wildflowers in bowls of water or scatter veggies fresh from your garden directly onto your tablecloth.
Naturally integrating your special occasion with the beauty of your surroundings creates a cohesive effect that will make your guests feel like they are in a Midsummer night’s dream!
Relax and Enjoy!
Your guests came to have fun with you, so don’t get stuck standing over the kitchen stove or running out for ice on the big day. Now that you’re equipped with these tips, take the time to envision and prepare your perfect outdoor event, and plan for surprises like inclement weather or the inevitable arrival of guests who did not RSVP. This way, both you and your guests can enjoy an effortless backyard bash and make memories that will last well past the end of the season.
Need inspiration for your next outdoor event? Check out all of our designer collections.