For the perfect summer party, the great outdoors can be tamed. All you need is a cold drink, close friends, and a few insider tips to keep the sweat off your brow.
Kick off your shoes. That sensational outdoor party you’re dreaming about just got more sensational.
Have A Folder
Make a file specifically for your party. Everything involved – the guest lists, the invoices, the ideas – gets tossed inside. Keeping it together and organized keeps your stress level low.
Have A Time-line
The hors d’oeuvres are served at 7 pm? Great. Plan the time line out. Know when the events of your sensational summer party fall into place, including everything from when the casserole gets taken out of the oven to when it’s time to start the coffee.
Have A Shopping List
Don’t go to the store too early, too late, or more than once. To ensure this make one list with everything needed – from the paper plates to the pumpernickel. Then go to the store the day before. That keeps the food fresh – and you, too.
Here are also a few money saving party must-haves:
- Two or three large, round ice tubs – a roll of beige velon, like plastic tablecloth material, keeps them looking tidy
- Cylindrical vases in different heights and widths – they can be used all year round as risers or filled with ornaments or candy bars or utensils or even napkins.
- Colorful beverage napkins purchased in bulk – buy in colors you can use repeatedly, like red for the holidays and summer picnics, as well as gold, cream, or black since they are extremely versatile
Avoid gimmicky items like cotton-candy machines, fondue pots, and little grills unless you plan on using them a lot.
Have A Playlist
Music is crucial to the mood of your event and can be handled in advance. Preload the music into your iPod that creates the atmosphere you want and dance off the time you saved.
Have A Beginning Strategy
To keep the set-up time simple, begin with the end in mind. Group items for the party in one location (like in the garage or fridge, instead of all over the house). To make sure everyone leaves the food items alone and that you remember to pull them out for the big day, you can even label the items in your fridge with little red dots, should the OCD mood strike. On the big day, “route” the items to their particular location, i.e. the cups where the bar will be set up, the plates at the buffet table, etc.
Have An Ending Strategy
Large garbage bags are your friends. Have plenty for the party so you can dispose of items as you go. Also, if you entertain a lot, I recommend acquiring storage bins for your party items. My favorite? Milk crates. They are study, stack well, and hold just the right amount.
Have A Ball
Sometimes the hardest part of throwing a party is finding the time to enjoy it. That’s why as the host you shouldn’t plan on doing it all. For instance, you don’t need to make every item on the buffet. Instead, pick your battles. Find one thing to focus on and hire someone else for the rest so you can actually enjoy the event and R-E-L-A-X.