This Party’s a Bust! Outdoor Entertaining Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Nothing is sweeter than a little alfresco entertaining in the heart of the summer. Food, wine, music, laughter, and friendship under the open sky – what could possibly go wrong?
As much as we love backyard hosting, we must admit that there are a handful of no-no’s when it comes to throwing a backyard bash. To help you retain your status as the host with the most, we’ve compiled a list of outdoor entertaining mistakes to avoid this summer.
1. Not Having Enough to Go Around
One of the number one sins of outdoor entertaining (or any kind of entertaining, for that matter) is running out of victuals.
If you’re hosting a cocktail-type gathering, keep the refreshments flowing and have a good spread of snacks on the table so people can graze at their own pace. If you’re hosting a sit-down dinner, it helps to know approximately how many people you’re cooking for, so you can plan accordingly. It doesn’t hurt to over-prepare, either. If you make too much, you can send leftovers home with guests, or keep them for another day’s meal.
Don’t forget about seating, either. If you know approximately how many guests to expect, you can estimate how many chairs or benches you’ll need. Try spreading out a few picnic blankets for kids or more casual events.
2. Not Making It A Team Effort
It’s okay to ask for help. When you’re hosting a backyard function, it is all right to invite others to bring food and drink. You need to have enough to eat and drink at your party – but don’t assume you have to foot the bill for everything. You’re already hosting! People can do their part by bringing a dish or drinks to share.
3. Not Planning For Nature
When planning for an outdoor function in Maryland or DC, you’ve got to accept the possibility of inclement weather. Even though the weather forecast calls for sunshine, there could be fluctuations in temperature, high winds, or unanticipated precipitation. If you think it might get chilly, bring out a few blankets for people to grab or invest in an outdoor firepit for everybody to gather ‘round.
If rain is possible, you might want to invest in a portable pavilion or at least a few large umbrellas. Umbrellas are also great for sheltering guests from extreme heat, especially when midday temperatures are scorching and there’s potential for sunburn.
Last but not least, bugs can put a real hurt on any outdoor party. Keep bug spray handy, or get your hands on some bug lanterns, mosquito netting, or lots of citronella candles for evening parties.
4. Not Providing Care Items
Don’t expect your guests to remember the sunscreen or bug spray. Show off your hosting superpowers by keeping the essentials on hand. Besides sunblock and bug juice, other handy items include baby wipes, as they’re an easy way to clean up without having to traipse through the house to the bathroom, and plenty of hand sanitizer.
5. Not Procuring a Playlist
Nothing says ‘party’ quite like a perfectly curated playlist. Having music in the background while you entertain is a great way to set the mood for any occasion. Plus, it’s a failsafe trick to ensure that there are never any awkward silences. Everyone loves music, so it’s an easy icebreaker, and it’ll get everybody grooving in no time.
6. Not Planning for Fun
When hosting an outdoor get-together, it’s a good idea to plan some fun activities. They don’t have to be complicated. It could be as simple as having a few outdoor toys around to keep the kids entertained. For adults, try cards, charades, or a running game of bocce. Fun in the sun isn’t just for children!
7. Not Having an Appropriate Setup
Depending on the size of your party, it might not be possible to group everyone together. To avoid awkward clumps, shouted conversations across packed tables, and having people feel left out, try scattering tables and groups of chairs around the space. People can gather in smaller groups and mingle at their leisure.
In conclusion, if you’re getting ready to party outdoors, a little preparation goes a long way! Planning an outdoor event with friends and family might not be the easiest thing in the world, but if you plan smart and don’t overthink, overcommit, or stretch yourself too thin, you might get to have some fun too.
For more outdoor entertaining and style ideas, check this space often – and don’t forget to send us an invitation too!