Summer is upon us in full force, and weekends are the perfect time to get outside, invite some people over, and entertain in your backyard space. Summer outdoor entertaining offers endless opportunities for different party ideas, allowing you to customize an event to suit your style and personality.
When planning a summer party, the first thing to consider is the theme you’d like to incorporate. Are you close to a holiday? Is there a local event you’d like to celebrate, or even just a concept that you hold near and dear to your heart? And if not, that’s completely fine, just throw together whatever your heart desires!
If you do want to have a themed party, you’re in luck. Backyard party ideas are a dime a dozen, limited only by the space and budget you are working with. The best part is that you can take a general idea and completely customize it to your liking.
Throw an "All American” party anytime close to Memorial Day, or the 4th of July. Serve typical summer party fare such as hamburgers and hotdogs, various salads, and fresh veggies; end the party with some ice cream and sparklers as the sun begins to set. An All-American party is easy to decorate with flags, colored streamers, or just solid colored decor in red, white, and blue.
A “Backyard Fiesta” adds some Spanish flair to your party. Adorn the food table with fixings for tacos or burritos, chips and salsa, fresh guacamole and churros. Offer your guests a variety of unique margaritas to sample and let the kids take a swing at a fun piñata. Keep your space lively with bright, bold shades of yellow, orange, pink, red, blue and green.
It doesn’t matter if you live on the East Coast or not, a “Lobster Boil” is a great way to get people together and have fun. This no fuss, easy to throw together party is casual yet seems like a lot of time went into planning and preparation. Boil fresh lobster, oysters, shrimp, kielbasa, corn on the cob, and red potatoes in large stock pots (following specific instructions of course) and then let everyone dig in with their hands. Have plenty of napkins and cold beer on hand to make this party one your friends will talk about for the rest of the summer.
To beat the summer heat, throw a fantastic “Pool Party” -- break out the lawn chairs, sprinklers, and pools toys for this fun in the sun party! While people are in and out of the pool have plenty of cold drinks on hand, popsicles and easy to grab food like deli sandwiches, chips, and cookies.
Outdoor Movie Night
Take the party after hours by having an “Outdoor Movie Night”. Invite guests to come over just before the sun sets so you can get the movie rolling when it’s just dark. Serve typical movie-going snack foods like popcorn and candy, with soda and fun cocktails (for the adults of course!).
No matter the theme of your summer party, there are some basic outdoor party decorations that you can incorporate and should add to the decor if possible. When you’re considering decorations for entertaining outdoors make sure to think outside the box and pull in ideas from other areas of your house and yard to keep your out of pocket costs down a bit.
Cuttings from your yard and flowerbeds make a beautiful addition to tables as centerpieces and help to draw color from the yard into your party.
Outdoor lighting is a must if you expect guests to linger after dark. You can decorate with hanging paper lanterns, you can move floor lamps from inside to your patio, or you can string simple white Christmas lights around the fence or hang them from your gazebo.
Citronella candles scattered across tables and at key locations throughout the yard will help your guests from being attacked by uninvited flying intruders such as mosquitos. A bonus is that they add to the ambient light of the party. If you’d rather not have citronella candles for bug repellant that are plenty of other non-flame options.
Now that you’ve got your idea in mind, and your decorations ready to go, it’s time to think a little about how you will set up your backyard party. To keep guests mingling with one another and to keep the flow of people moving smoothly designate separate areas for the food, drinks, and the seating.
Put The Food In The Center
Food should be all set up in a central location to make it easier for guests to dish up plates. Use folding tables or get creative and put a piece of heavy plywood on some sawhorses and then cover it with a pretty tablecloth to give you plenty of serving space. If you are serving right off the grill, keep the food somewhat close to the grilling area to make it easier on everyone. Make sure plates, napkins and utensils are also placed at the beginning of the serving table.
Designate The Drinks
If you’re serving both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages make sure to have everything well labeled. If you have a deck railing, you can attach some deck railing bar brackets and create a designated table space for alcoholic beverages. People will be going for drinks throughout the entire party. To keep them out of the flow of people getting food, it’s best to set up an area somewhat separate for drinks. A railing bar allows everyone to stay out of the main dinner traffic when they need a drink.
Consider Seating Options
Seating can be created using a variety of different options. Obviously, patio and yard furniture are key players, but you can always pull chairs out from inside the house -- and even your table if you’re having a more formal meal -- or you can rent seating from a local rental company. If you’re going with a casual theme such as a movie night, or a pool party go ahead and throw blankets and quilts down on the lawn for guests to dine picnic-style.
Summer is the perfect time to move the party outside and entertain your friends and family in the backyard! With so many options available in terms of party themes it’s easy to pull together a fun event. Make sure you think about decorations too, incorporating household items if you can, and make sure the party setup has separate spaces for food, drinks, and seating to keep the party flowing smoothly.