Top 20 Tips For Entertaining Outdoors!

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Host The Best Garden Party

Entertaining al fresco should be fun, but there are a few things you should consider before taking the party outdoors.  Below we share our best tricks and tips so you can host with success!
  1. Transform your outdoor space into a room with comfortable seating and vignettes for conversation. 
  2. Use umbrellas, cushions and pillows to bring pops of colour and comfort to your party space. Make sure to keep them looking bright all season by storing them out of the sun and weather, when not in use.  
  3. Tenting and umbrellas are a great way to create a party space and to keep guests cool.
  4. For larger parties, like those summer family reunions, make sure to have plenty of seating and places to put down drinks and plates. Outdoor tables and chairs in fun colours and bar seating will bring more personality to your party!
  5. Have a fall back plan in case the weather doesn’t co-operate with your plans.  Where will guests go so the party doesn’t need to end?  Tents work well if you don’t want to move the party inside.  Although, it’s more complicated, you can also decide on a rain date in advance of you party.  If use this option  make the call on canceling it early and check with guests’ availability on the alternative date.
Perfect party straws for fun in the sun!
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Perfect party straws for fun in the sun!
Amp up your al fresco dining. Set a simple but special table complete with china, cloth napkins, wine glasses.
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Amp up your al fresco dining. Set a simple but special table complete with china, cloth napkins, wine glasses.

Tips For The Table

6.   Don’t set up a dining or buffet table in the direct sunlight; use either natural shade or an  umbrella as a buffer. 
7.   Use your china, renewable dinnerware or  acrylic dish ware and cloth napkins 
8.   Provide a way for guests to mark their beverages to avoid unnecessary waste.
Create a centerpiece for your outdoor party with fresh produce and sunflowers - nature's colours are gorgeous!
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Create a centerpiece for your outdoor party with fresh produce and sunflowers - nature's colours are gorgeous!

Special Touches

9.    Banish the bugs – one hour before guests arrive, light bug bomb and citronella candles. Set out individual bug spray wipes and/or spray for guests’ convenient use. 

10.  Display spray suntan lotion for easy and convenient protection from the sun for those sun lovers who forgot to put lotion on at home. 

11.   Create additional shade in your outdoor space with  patio umbrellas. You can also purchase a  fan or two that mists while it cools. 

12.   Offer your guests the opportunity to “wash up” with wipes and/or hand sanitizer – a must have for outdoor entertaining!  

13.   Arrange a few   blankets to provide a picnic eating area strictly for the children (when they’re done or if they spill, simply fold them up and wash them later.)  Reserve one blanket for them to play on after eating.
We love serving flatbread with seasonal fresh veggies and homemade potato salad. {recipes on our blog}
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We love serving flatbread with seasonal fresh veggies and homemade potato salad. {recipes on our blog}

Party Food and Drink

14.   A great barbecue is essential!  Select a barbecue with ample space and a side burner.  It can keep you out of a hot kitchen this season and outdoors with your guests. 

15.   Don’t leave food out on buffet table longer than necessary – follow safety guidelines. 

16.   Use vinaigrette when possible to dress salads.  Make sure to keep those with mayo on ice and in the shade as they can spoil quickly when temperatures soar. 

17.   Ice, ice and more ice: there’s nothing worse than lukewarm or steamy beverages on a hot day. Make sure you have more than enough ice to continually replenish the supply. Keep clean ice in coolers.  General rule of thumb is two lbs. of ice per person. 

18.   Hydrate your guests: have plenty of non-alcoholic beverages on hand, make sure to consider all your guests: adults, children, elderly.
Use outdoor lights, lanterns and torches to keep the party going when it gets dark.
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Use outdoor lights, lanterns and torches to keep the party going when it gets dark.

Tips For A Large Space

19.   If you have lots of outdoor space, guests may wander, so we recommend creating a party perimeter.  This will keep guests together, encourage conversation, increase the energy level, and party vibe.  Use  planters, potted plants or flowers to decorate and outline the footprint of you party space.  You can also achieve this with  lanterns, lumieres and  torches – which are also perfect for setting the scene at night.  Bring fun to your space with bright colours and fun patterns on cushions, umbrellas and pillows.  With lots of room you can create tented areas, they define your space and provide shade for guests to enjoy. 

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Tips For A Small Space

20.  When space is an issue, stick to the basics. Buy a great table and chairs and don’t clutter the space with lots of extras. A  round table works best in small spaces as it typically can fit more chairs and therefore more guests at your table.   If you live in the concrete jungle, think about bringing nature to your party scene with potted or hanging plants, or maybe even a potted tree if you have the room.  String up little white lights, they work great against the backdrop of a dark sky and create a vacation vibe for the evening!  If you are incorporating  cushions or  pillows, go monochromatic and stick with solids so you don’t overwhelm the space.
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There's no place like home for a party!  

You can find the recipes and DIY instructions for the images above on the Party Bluprints Blog.  
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