Now that the weather is cooling down, it’s the perfect time of year to host a party in your backyard. You and your guests can relax outside without the sweltering heat or hovering mosquitoes.
Backyard Party Ideas
Though the idea of hosting a party sounds fun, many of us find it overwhelming. All the cooking, decorating, setup and cleanup can seem like a huge chore. But it doesn’t have to be that way. With a little planning, you can host and enjoy the perfect backyard party. Follow these tips to reduce the extra work and amp up the fun.
Think through your party plan
Before sending your invitations out and setting a date, sit down and think about your party plan.
- Consider choosing a theme for the party and start collecting ideas. Start a Pinterest board (public or secret) to collect backyard party ideas. Don’t get intimidated. This is just one way to get started.
- What time of day works best? You could be planning a late morning brunch, an afternoon barbecue, or a movie night with dinner.
- Consider a general timeline for the party. If you’re having a brunch, you might have coffee, water, and fruit ready for guests when they arrive, and plan to serve the main brunch items about an hour after the party starts. For a movie night, you might plan to serve food immediately and have a set time to start the movie.
- Decide on the type of food you want to serve, and if you need to account for any dietary restrictions with your guests.
- Accept help. Speaking of guests, many will want to bring something to the party. Make a list of some types of items you’d like them to bring.
- Plan some entertainment for your younger guests. You may already have outdoor toys and a swing set in your backyard. There are many fun backyard party games you can incorporate for both kids and adults.
- Have a backup plan if it rains – either move your guests inside or determine an alternate date for rescheduling.
- Prevent uninvited “guests”. Though it is cooler outside and the mosquitoes have died down, you might still have some circulating in your yard. Plan for some repellent options for your guests – repellent wipes, citronella candles, and a couple fans may do the trick. If you want to fully enjoy your backyard without the threat of these uninvited guests, consider taking advantage of ABC’s mosquito control options.
Invite your guests
Once you’ve answered the questions above and created a party plan, get invitations ready to send out to guests. Make sure your invitation has all the information they need to be prepared for the party. Letting them know as much of your party plan as possible will help guests know what to do and eliminate repeat calls with questions.
Review what’s on hand
Take a look at your home inventory. How many people have you invited to your party, and how many tables and chairs do you have? If you don’t have enough outdoor furniture, consider bringing indoor chairs outside, borrowing from a neighbor, or renting some additional folding chairs and tables.
Do you have decorations on hand that you can reuse, or will you need to purchase some items for the party? Are there multi-purpose items that you can serve as decorations, like fruit and veggie displays? Getting a little creative can help you save on little extras.
Make it easy
Do as much as possible to make the party easy for you. For decorations, consider using household items such as butcher paper, wrapping paper, colorful handkerchiefs, and the like as decorations. You won’t be as concerned about them getting messed up as you would a nice tablecloth, and many of them can be reused at a later date (bonus).
As mentioned before, multi-purpose items can make life much easier. Think about how you might artfully display fruits and veggies on tables – they can serve as centerpieces in lieu of flowers. Reduce the amount of dishwashing you have to do afterward with paper plates, napkins, and plastic silverware. And for those dishes you must have, use the ones that aren’t breakable.
Opt for foods that are self-serve and don’t require an exact temperature – things like sandwiches, casseroles, vegetable and cheese plates, chips and dip, etc. And remember: you have a much more critical eye than your guests. They won’t notice all the details you do. So just pick a few fun accents to focus on, and spend the rest of your energy enjoying the party.
Prepare ahead of time so you relax
Have a plan of what you will do at specific intervals to get ready for the party. Here are a few tips:
- Days ahead: Have all furniture arrangements, decorations, and any catering orders placed.
- The morning of: Set up decorations, cut up fruits and veggies, lay out plates, cups, napkins, and silverware.
- An hour before: Make any items that need to wait – like custom cocktails or salad dressings. Turn on your mood music and wait for guests to arrive.
Remember, you are a guest too!
Try to relax and enjoy during your party. Don’t stress about the condition of your house or yard, and mentally prepare yourself for something to get damaged. If there are things you absolutely don’t want the kids messing with (or are just too valuable for a party setting), put them away.
Make after-party cleanup a snap
When doing your party prep before guests arrive, clean as you go. That way the dishwasher is ready for any dishes to be dirtied at the party. And pick up throughout the party. That’s not to say that you’re cleaning the whole time, but if a mess ensues, clean it up right after it happens (rather than waiting until later that evening or the next day).
After the party is over, survey the area for the most urgent items that need to be cleaned. Address those first, and then get to the dishes!
You’ve got a lot to do already with planning your backyard party. If your yard or house could use a little TLC, contact ABC for more information on our services. We can ready your yard for the party with our lawn mowing and landscaping services, install exterior lights or holiday light displays for a festive atmosphere, and clean out your pool.