With the Fourth of July right around the corner, outdoor entertaining is in full swing. And if you're planning a little get-together or party outdoors, I have nine entertaining tips to make sure your party goes off without a hitch.
1. Tidy Up: First things first. Before you do anything else, make sure the outdoor area you'll be entertaining in has been tidied up. That means, mowing the lawn, sweeping any leaves and debris from the deck, and cleaning the pool (if applicable) before guests arrive.
2. Add Comfortable Seating: A good party will last long into the night, so be sure your guests are comfortable with plush cushions and lounge seating.
3. Add Lighting: Whether it's candle light on the table or a few strands of bulb lights overhead, a little extra lighting can give an outdoor space a whole lot of ambience, once the sun goes down.
4. Bring Some of the Indoors Out: If it's a nice day, with no rain in sight, bring some of your indoor furniture outside to create an outdoor living space. Or if you don't want to go through the hassle of moving furniture, bring out a few colorful pillows and blankets instead, to make outdoor lounge chairs feel more homey.
4. Play Music: Music is a great way to set the tone and keep things from getting too quiet, between lulls in conversation.
5. Give Guests Something to Do: To break the ice between guests that don't already know each other, put together a couple of fun outdoor games for everyone to play, like giant jenga. You can turn it into a drinking game for the adults too.
6. Plenty of Drinks: Keep plenty of drinks on hand for those hot summer days. Fruit infused waters are always a good option because they keep guests hydrated and anyone can drink it, kids and adults, since there is no alcohol or added sugar.
7. Make It Ahead of Time: Prepare as much of the food as you can, well before guest arrive. That way, you can enjoy the party instead of spending all of your time in the kitchen. Small bites are easy to make and prepare ahead of time, if you're not sure where to start.
8. Keep Insects Away: Keep mosquitos and other insects away with citronella candles. You can even DIY your own, with this simple tutorial.
9. Add an Element of Surprise: It's always fun to have a little something unexpected up your sleeve for guests to enjoy, and it doesn't have to be a huge deal either. Serving cocktails out of a cored out peach, for example, is definitely unexpected and a fun little surprise for guests.
Too much? Try a popsicle bar, with a variety of popsicle flavors and champagne, so guest can mix their own fruity concoction.
Those are my nine tips for outdoor entertaining. Have your own tips to share? Leave them in the comments below.