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How to Throw an Outdoor Party

Whether you have a patio, screened-in porch, or a backyard pool, you’ll be able to enjoy some fresh air and a wide-open space as you mill about and chat with your guests. There's something about being outside with friends you enjoy that brings out the fun in people. Here are some ideas to help make your life easier when you throw your next outdoor party.

1. Make a List
Keep a running list of everything you’ll need to do and check it off as you accomplish each task. Include your grocery list, beverage list, music, games, setup, and whatever else is needed for the party.
Your lists should be easy to alter so you can add things as you think of them. Also, have a guest list and put a mark by people's names when they accept or decline.

2. Invitations
Even for an informal outdoor party, it’s a good idea to send out some type of invitation. It can be sent through snail mail, email, or even a phone call or text message.
You’ll want to be specific with the date, time, and location where the party will be held. Include the type of party, whether it's a pool party, outdoor bbq, birthday party, etc. Add in a quick note on the food being served, so your guests know if it's appetizers or a meal. Jot down any special information if your guests should bring anything, such as a swimsuit and towel, a dish to pass, or BYOB. If you're planning to play outdoor games, include that too, so your guests will know to wear more casual clothes and comfortable shoes.
Be sure to request an RSVP so you know how many people to plan for.

3. Menu Considerations
Planning a menu for an outdoor party doesn’t have to be a daunting task. Offer a buffet with a variety of food options such as vegan or gluten-free to make sure everyone can have something they enjoy.
Another thing you may want to consider is having a potluck. It gives your guests an opportunity to share their best dishes. Serve the food buffet style so you don't have to serve everyone.
Have a way to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. Position the serving table near an electrical outlet for food warming trays. Place a shallow pan of ice beneath platters of items that need to be kept cold.
Round out the meal with an assortment of desserts. Cookies, fresh fruit, or other simple finger food desserts that are easy to eat are good choices.

4. Seating for an Outdoor Party
Provide plenty of seating for everyone. You can use a variety of seats from your patio set, lawn chairs, and folding chairs as long as they are in a secure position and on a level surface. Another option if the lawn is dry is to have blankets for those who are willing to sit on the ground.
If you don't have enough chairs to seat everyone, don't hesitate to ask friends if they can bring some over to help accommodate all the guests that are attending.
5. Shade and Light
If you’re hosting an outdoor party during the day, have some places with shade so your guests can get out of the direct sun. This can be a patio with a roof, a tent, an awning, or an umbrella.
A nighttime outdoor party needs plenty of lighting. It doesn’t necessarily have to be bright as long as your guest can see well enough to move about and have conversations with others. Use string lights, lanterns, candles, and other lighting you may already have in your outdoor area.
6. Themed Party
Parties that have themes can not only make your planning easier but provide a ton of fun, too. If it's a special event, holiday, backyard movie, masquerade, or an elegant cocktail party, knowing the theme makes the decorations, food, music, games, and dress simpler for both you and the guests.
As an example, Halloween-themed parties can be a lot of fun with everyone milling around in costumes, food, and drink inspired by pumpkins, ghosts, and goblins, along with music such as the Monster Mash playing in the background.
7. Have Fun
The most important element of your outdoor party is to have fun. The event is finally here, so mingle with your guests, take the time to talk to everyone you invited, and enjoy yourself. If your guests see you laughing, chatting, and having a good time, they're more likely to enjoy the party as well.
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