Outdoor parties are a fantastic way to soak up some sun, get fresh air, and hang out with friends and family in the comfort of your own yard. Whether you’re planning a casual backyard BBQ or something more elaborate, keep these party planning tricks in mind to easily elevate your event to professional levels.
1. Lighting is Everything
Lighting is the easiest way to make your backyard feel like a real party venue. You can achieve warm, ambient lighting with what you already have, like Christmas lights or candles, or splurge on a couple of lanterns. You’ll be amazed at how a few string lights can completely transform your yard!
2. Skip Store-Bought Flowers
It can be tempting to pick up a bouquet or some floral centerpieces at the store, but don’t waste your budget! Store-bought flowers will wilt and die quickly, especially if it’s hot out, and they’re not exactly environmentally-friendly.
Instead, spend some time outdoors and find local wildflowers or clippings from your trees for simple, elegant decorations. Or, if you want to step it up a notch, purchase some potted succulents instead.
They’ll last through even the hottest parties, are easy to take care of, and can be given out as party favors when it’s time to head home.
3. Limit Your Party Size
One of the most common mistakes party planners make is inviting way too many people for the size of their space. In professional event planning, the general rule of thumb is to have at least 15 square feet per person at an event, which holds true for any kind of party. If you’re working with a smaller space, consider limiting the guest list to make sure everyone has plenty of personal space. Plus, with fewer people, it’ll be easier to account for adequate seating and food options.
4. Get the Kids Involved
A fun way to make the event planning process a family endeavor is to find creative ways to involve your kids. While the majority of the set up requires an adult hand, there are little ways kids can contribute to the fun — like creating the menus!
Having a physical copy for each table, or a few dispersed among the guests, adds a special touch and lets the guests know everything that will be available — meaning you won’t have to repeat drink options all night. It’s also great for guests with dietary restrictions so they know what to avoid.
Other ideas to get your kids involved include: creating paper placemats, designing table decorations, setting up game areas for other kids that are coming, and giving them specific jobs at the event itself. Events are the perfect time to get creative!
5. Know the Weather
Nothing ruins an outdoor party faster than a sudden rain shower or heat spike! Keep an eye on the weather before the party starts, and be sure to have a backup plan. Collapsible tents are a great way to keep your guests shaded and covered if the weather takes a turn, and they’re reusable for future parties, cookouts, tailgating, and more.
6. Craft a Batch Cocktail
Beer is always an easy option for a cookout, but a signature cocktail adds a classy alternative for your guests. A batch of seasonal sangria or fruity punch is easy to whip up, and you can easily choose different flavors and alcohols to complement the weather and your party’s theme.
Have a backup batch ready and chilling in the fridge in case you run out, and freeze pieces of fruit to keep beverages chilled without watering them down.
Bonus points if you have mason jars or other cute, reusable glasses!
7. Have a First Aid Kit Ready
It’s always a good idea to have bandages and antibiotics on hand in case something goes awry, but it’s also smart to prepare for your guests’ comfort. If it’s warm enough for people to be comfortable outside, it’s warm enough for mosquitoes and other insects to be out and about as well. Be sure to have bug repellent and bug bite relief products on hand to treat bites or stings immediately, and let your guests get back to enjoying the party.