Get outside and smell the roses! With an extra hour of sunlight and the warmth of spring inching its way in, it’s finally time to take your entertaining outside again. Follow these tips as you start planning your next outdoor brunch, lunch, or dinner party:
- Fight the Bugs
There’s nothing like irritating mosquitoes or gnats to send everyone inside. Cover your dishes with mesh strainers or food tents to keep bugs from snacking on it before your guests can. Clear any standing water in gutters, flower pots or other containers, as these pools are a dream breeding ground for mosquitoes. Plug in a few fans and invest in a few insect-repellent lanterns and candles to keep bugs away with style. Beyond the party, these will help you survive the warmer months with far fewer bug bites!
- Get the Tunes Going
Make a playlist in advance so you’re not scrambling to DJ while you’re prepping food and entertaining guests on the day. Aim for about four or five hours of music. If you know the crowd’s taste, try to sprinkle some of their favorite songs into the mix. Otherwise, the classics are usually crowd pleasers. Think Stevie Wonder, the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, Elton John, Eric Clapton and the Eagles. Soft, easy listening like Simon & Garfunkel, Mumford & Sons, Amy Winehouse, Ed Sheeran and Billy Joel will also bode well as background noise. Alternatively, find a smooth jazz or dinner party playlist online to set the mood.
- Go for the Buffet
Line up the goodies and let guests choose what they want – it’s the tried and true way of feeding a crowd. Choose simple dishes that go a long way, such as chips and dip, burgers, mac and cheese, salad, fruit, trail mixes and finger foods. Of course you don’t want food to sit under the hot sun for too long, so follow this guide from Bon Appetit to pace yourself for the ultimate outdoor party. Make sure you have enough ice and coolers to keep drinks cold throughout the gathering, and keep refilling them as the party rolls on.
- Get Floral
Transform your backyard into an inviting space with the natural aroma and beauty of flowers of the season. Your gathering is the perfect excuse to refresh your landscaping for spring and summer, filling your garden with beautiful flowering plants. Plus, you can decorate tables with fresh bouquets or some of these popular spring flowers. Hanging flower displays also easy yet elegant decorations, and your guests will love snapping a few pics in front of the gorgeous backdrop. Here’s a guide to making these strings of flowers from Recipes & Roses.
- Set Yourself Up for Success
Prep is key for hosting an effortless outdoor party. That means mowing the grass a few days before, wiping down tables, arranging tables and chairs, tidying up the house and outdoor living spaces, cleaning bathrooms and cooking in advance. That way, you’ll be able to join your guests outside instead of hiding inside to prepare everything at the actual gathering. For easy clean up, cover tables with rustic brown craft paper or decorative tablecloths. Simply throw the paper away or put the tablecloth in the wash and you’re all set. Set up your buffet with trays so you have to make fewer trips in and out the house.
These are just a few of our favorite ways to host an amazing outdoor brunch or dinner party. It’s time to start enjoying the beautiful weather again. Pick up your favorite flowers and get planning. Happy hosting!