Summer is the ideal time for celebration, whether you’re hosting a beach picnic or an intimate evening under the stars. With just a few simple ideas, it’s easy to create an unforgettable backyard get-together.
One way to make any outdoor gathering more cozy and comfortable is by providing guests with some throw pillows and blankets to lounge on during the event. They’re also an excellent way to keep people from getting too hot during summer evenings when temperatures may be dropping.
1. Create a Bar Cart
A bar cart is an excellent way to provide guests with a drink and nibbles station during summer parties. This eliminates needless trips back and forth from the kitchen.
A quality bar cart should have a sturdy frame with secure rails to prevent bottles from tipping over, as well as racks for wine glasses and accessories. Furthermore, it should have an effective lockable base for extra security.
Stock your bar cart with favorite liquor and mixers, such as vodka, gin, bourbon, rum, tequila and flavored liqueurs. For glassware, have an assortment of tall and low cocktail glasses on hand for entertaining.
2. Set Up Self-Serve Stations
When hosting a barbecue or an outdoor dinner party, having an organized food station layout is essential for keeping guests well fed and contented. Place platters of grilled foods near the grill, as well as cold salads close by so guests can replenish them quickly.
Create a relaxed outdoor bar cart to encourage guests to help themselves. Add several pitchers or two-sided drink dispensers so everyone can get their favorite beverage, then fill up the ice bucket with plenty of ice.
3. Encourage Mingling and Self-Service
One of the key ingredients for successful outdoor entertaining is encouraging mingling and self-service. Set up food and drink stations throughout your outdoor space, so guests can easily move between tables, interacting with new people as they go.
This is an effective way to guarantee everyone receives the attention they deserve and it also encourages mingling and stimulating conversation. Just give them enough time to get up and leave if needed.
4. Keep Bugs at Bay
Nothing can ruin a summer day like mosquitoes or an itching bee sting, and while it’s impossible to completely keep bugs away from outdoor gatherings, there are some natural methods that can keep them at bay and put guests at ease.
Plants that naturally repel insects are an effective solution. Ants tend to avoid chrysanthemums, flies steer clear of basil and moths steer clear of lavender.
5. Set the Mood with Music
Music is essential in setting the right atmosphere at any party. It can keep guests mingling, encourage dancing and set the atmosphere for the entire affair.
For a summer garden party, hire a cocktail pianist to set the perfect atmosphere. Pianists tend to be easy-going and willing to take requests, plus they’re much cheaper than hiring an actual band (you only pay them for their time!).
6. Keep Pests at Bay with Insect Repellent
Utilizing insect repellent is a reliable, time-tested solution for keeping pests away from your outdoor entertaining space. DEET-based sprays are user friendly, effective and safe for both humans and pets alike.
For a non-chemical alternative to traditional bug sprays, try planting flowers known for repelling insects naturally. Plants like mint, chrysanthemums, basil, lavender, rosemary, thyme and petunias all contain oils which can help keep insects away.
You could also try burning sprigs of these plants to release their oils, or crushing the leaves and applying topically. Both methods are cost-effective and will produce a layer of mosquito-repellent scent which should last several days.
7. Set up a Tiki Torch
Tiki torches are an easy way to bring a tropical feel to your outdoor area. Not only do they illuminate dark paths, but they provide an exciting backdrop for backyard celebrations as well.
Pests will remain at bay, so you can enjoy an evening with no worries while your guests enjoy themselves. Citronella-scented torch fuel can help keep biting insects at bay.
Tiki torches come in an array of sizes and styles, from traditional to contemporary. You can purchase them individually or as part of sets containing four to 16 torches.