7 Strategies for Successful Outdoor Entertainment this Summer
When summer comes, it’s high time to start enjoying the great outdoors once again. While you might have a beach vacation planned, a weekend getaway to the lake, or a day trip to a local park, you’re also likely to do a bit of outdoor entertaining at your own home. Learn how to make your next backyard barbecue or home gathering go off without a hitch by checking out these seven strategies for successful outdoor entertainment.
1. Get the Yard Cleaned Up
The environment says as much about your party as the food, decorations or music. Make sure the grass is freshly cut and get the weeds knocked down, as well. If you have kids, clear away any toys that may be scattered about. You want your guests to have plenty of room to mill around in a clean and organized setting.
2. Clean Your Home
You also need to pay attention to the interior of your home – folks are sure to be walking through, even if your event is in the backyard. Do some basic straightening up, and pay special attention to the kitchen. It’s going to see plenty of activity on event day – including lots of trash and dirty dishes – and the last thing you want is to have to clean up a mess on top of a mess.
3. Make It a Potluck Event
There are several advantages to making your event potluck. When guests bring a covered dish, dessert or a beverage, you save a lot of money and time on preparation. If you have finicky folks on your guest list, it allows them to bring whatever they want for themselves. A couple or family with lactose intolerant members can bring a food conducive to their needs, for example. Same goes for vegans or anyone with gluten allergies.
4. Use Quality Dinnerware and Cutlery
Unless you’re focused exclusively on finger foods, be sure to use quality dinnerware and cutlery. You don’t have to break out the fine china, but if you’re serving steak and baked potatoes, paper plates and plastic forks and knives aren’t going to cut it. Use the real stuff so your guests aren’t inconvenienced come meal time.
5. Choose the Right Music
You can provide music for your event with a set of inexpensive speakers that hook up to your smartphone. Just be sure you choose the right music. If your crowd skews older, a classic rock station or playlist might do the trick. Are younger folks attending? Try a pop music radio station or playlist.
Determine an appropriate volume level, as well. If it’s going to be a conservative get together, set the level at medium to low. If it’s going to be a raucous event, crank it up a bit – just keep your neighbors in mind so you don’t disturb anyone else.
6. Mosquito-Proof the Yard
Nothing can kill a party like guests inundated with mosquitoes. If you don’t want to use a chemical fogger or can’t drop big bucks on a fancy mosquito trap, try some natural mosquito repellents like citronella candles, or distribute catnip or black pepper throughout the event area, both of which repel mosquitoes.
7. Prep Food Early
Get as much food prep done as possible the day before. You’re going to have plenty of things to deal with on the day itself, such as last-minute spruce-ups, change-ups and any other contingencies. Prepared dishes like chicken salad or potato salad can typically be made one day ahead, as can the spicing or tenderizing of any meats you’re grilling. Getting things done beforehand makes for a less stressful event.
Once your event is complete, be sure to get help with the cleanup from some of your attendees. Just don’t wait until they’re headed out the door to ask. Instead, call up beforehand, or include on your invites that you’re looking for a few folks to help out after the shindig is over, so people have an opportunity to volunteer. That way you get the help you need, and you won’t be spending hours on end tidying up.
Do you know of any other tips for successful outdoor entertaining?