We’re now well into the spring swing, the perfect time of year for a little al fresco dining and outdoor entertaining. Here are 15 ideas for hosting your next get-together.
1. Battery-operated candles add warm light to your entertaining area. You get the brilliant, dancing flames without the drippy, melty wax.
2. For the ultimate in outdoor centerpieces, look no further than a fire pit. You can use the pit’s hearth as a table top, and keep the parties going deep into fall. Did somebody say s’mores?
3. Pick up a Treasure Garden Starlight umbrella. Block out the sweltering sun by day, and provide an intimate lighting solution after dark with the built-in LED lights
4. Put lights where you want them simply by anchoring poles in buckets filled with gravel. It’s an easy solution for stringing lights where you otherwise couldn’t.
5. If yours is a daytime shindig, take into consideration the location of the sunlight. A little thought and planning beforehand can add to your guests’ enjoyment.
Use what you have
6. For a smaller gathering, leave the bulky cooler buried in the garage. Instead, reach for one, or a couple of small, metal buckets and fill them with ice and drinks. They are easy to restock and simple to integrate into a smaller space.
7. Dig out those long-neglected cupcake liners. Punch a hole in the middle, turn upside down and slip over a straw to keep bugs and other unwanted guests out of your summer drink. Alternating designs can be used to differentiate whose drink belongs to whom.
8. Create custom and eye-catching ice cubes by using what you have on hand. Add a few berries, or a sprinkling of fresh herbs, or even flavored liquids that will complement the drinks you will be serving. Great for water drinkers, too!
9. Keep dips, deviled eggs and the like cold by placing the platters atop pie plates filled with ice and sprinkled with salt. The salt lowers the freezing point to keep things nice and chilly.
Setting the stage
10. Umbrellas not only offer protection, they also help define your outdoor space. Use with your upright outdoor umbrellas or add a side-mounted cantilever design for even more sun-blocking versatility.
11. One of the hottest design trends for spring is the humble garden stool. Available in a rainbow of colors and a wide variety of styles, they are perfect for adding easily mobile seating and a pop of color and personality to your outdoor space.
12. Set up separate stations to avoid everyone crowding around one area: a drink station around the bar, snacks at the table, your dessert s’more station set up around the fire pit. Be creative and spread it out to make use of your outdoor space.
13. Plan ahead. Buy what you can beforehand and knock out the prep work early on so there’s less to do on the day of the party.
14. Keep it simple. Easy, tried-and-true recipes that taste great will satisfy your guests while not driving you crazy with complex preparations and out-there ingredients.
15. Relax. This is all for fun, right? Don’t take yourself too seriously: If the burgers are a bit too flame-kissed, or the potato salad has too much mayo, don’t dwell on it. And remember, if all else fails? S’mores. We’re serious about that.
What are your tips for throwing a successful outdoor bash? Any go-to recipes you’d like to share? We’d love to hear them!
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