Top 10 Elements to Throwing a Great Outdoor Party

Now that the weather seems more reliable I’m sure some of you out there are thinking of hosting an outdoor party.  Here in Montreal we have to endure so much “inside” time due to our weather that when it becomes nice out we go a little crazy.  Outdoor parties are suitable for family, friends, co-workers and even neighbours.  You can host an outdoor birthday party, baby or bridal shower and even a wedding reception.

Hosting an outdoor party brings a whole different atmosphere and along with it a few other worries or issues. Here are ten tips on how to make it easier to host a fun, festive and affordable outdoor party:

1) Keep it Simple: You can be creative but at the same time keep things simple. You can host a Garden Party and simply use flowered invites and plates, cups, napkins and tablecloths. For place cards use flower pots or seed packages. Another simple but fun theme is a Beach or Pool Party. Decorate with palm trees, fill a kiddie pool with ice and put drinks there, colourful plates, cups, cutlery, etc., and as activities you can have volleyball, balloon fights or croquet.

2) Rain Plan: Always have a plan in case the weather does not cooperate. If you are forced to move indoors then make an attempt at changing the atmosphere by sitting on pillows or moving furniture around. You can also use a screened in porch, rent a tent or canopy or move the festivities to a rec centre near your local park.

3) Location of Grill and Food: It is important to put food stations under trees or in shade to keep it as cool as possible.  Putting the grill near an indoor entry point also allows for easy access to food and supplies.

bucket of drinks4) Drinks: Pick up cheap metal buckets, fill them with ice and set up drink stations throughout backyard or patio. Make sure to stock them with non-alcoholic and alcoholic drinks.

5) Delegate: Ask your friends to perform small tasks for you. Make sure that someone is in charge of making sure the bathroom always has toilet paper. This allows you to keep your focus on the larger issues and the guests.

6) Have Available Things Guests Might Have Forgotten: Wraps in case it gets cool. Care buckets filled with lip balm, sunscreen, beach towels, sunglasses, and bug spray.

7) Lighting: Since you are outside you have to keep everything well lit. You can do this with affordable LED and solar lights. Place them along pathways and in planters in high-traffic areas. Provides the dual function of safety and ambiance. As for table tops use glass hurricanes and candles so that the wind won’t blow them out. You can put torches around the perimeter to make things dramatic.

8) Double-Duty Table: A large double-duty table that functions as a food prep station as well as a place to stack dirty dishes. Will keep other tables clutter free where guests are mingling.

9) Dishware: Invest in cheap outdoor dishware. The melamine type comes in fun colours and patterns. They are light and unbreakable. Or you can go to a second-hand store and pick up some cups and plates. If you want an eclectic look then mix and match.

10) Games and Music: Have several games planned. Buy a few cheap prizes. They will kick-start some friendly competition. As for music it is always best to go with some summer music like salsa, Beach Boys, surfing, Motown, or reggae. These types of music were meant for the outdoors. Use an iPod as your DJ, get some outdoor speakers and you’re set.

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