As soon as the weather begins to warm up in Rochester, we hear people in our stores talking about summertime entertaining in their backyards. So, in honor of all outdoor party throwers, here is a compilation of tips and ideas from our staff.
We know, from firsthand experience, that is can be stressful to host–give these ideas a try and make things easier on yourself!
Beat the Stress Party Hosting Ideas:
Meals Guests Can Serve Themselves:
You don’t want to spend the entire party rushing back and forth to the kitchen, so create a menu that can be made ahead and pick some dishes that guests can assemble themselves like salads or tacos. Setting out the fixing allows guests to select what fits in best with any dietary restrictions they may have-plus, it’s fun to make your own meal!
Two Quick Food Tips:
If you are grilling, make sure the grill is downwind of primary gathering areas and positioned so you won’t have to repeatedly step through guests to attend to the food.
Keep your greens fresh and crisp by nesting your salad bowl in another bowl of salted ice and give it a toss once in awhile to keep it cool. Also, be sure to have tops to cover your food to keep bugs away.
Create a Signature Drink for Your Party:
Whether it’s strawberry lemonade or Margaritas, this is a nice touch–and it cuts down on ending up with lots of half-used bottles of various drinks.
Plan for Safety
Here is a link to an entire article about pool safety during a party. In addition to being sure you and your guests are safe around the pool, make sure there are shaded areas, cold water as a drink choice, and water misting bottles or fans to help people stay hydrated and cooled. A hot summer day speeds up the chances of heat exhaustion and dehydration.
We also recommend creating a safety basket that guests can use containing sunblock, a first aid kit, hand wipes and bug repellent. It’s a nice way to show guests you are considerate and prepared.
Seating and More
When you are thinking about how to set up your backyard for a party, it may help to designating areas for dining, serving, relaxing and play. Once of the best things about being outdoors is that there are no walls, so you can configure however you want. After all, there is no rule that says a patio table must remain on the patio! You could place it in the lawn and use the patio for conversation or food stations.
When you arrange your seating areas, they should facilitate both conversation and relaxation. Try to arrange your chairs so arriving guests is not greeted by someone’s back or a blocked walkway. One easy rule of thumb is to place chairs in a semi-circle and orient tables lengthwise to doors or entries. Also, if possible arrange furniture so your guests look at your garden or manicured lawn not the back of your garage or your neighbor’s shed.
Organization Works Wonders
Avoid congestion by placing drink stations opposite your serving area. Also, if there is room, consider individual food serving stations—one for salads and main dishes, another for appetizers, finger foods and desserts.
Plan a few games and activities for your guests—especially if there are children. It’s a good idea to keep these areas away from the dining and relaxing areas. Place them in areas close enough for monitoring, but far enough away to prevent conflicts with non-participants. Station a beverage table or an ice tub with drinks nearby to keep guests hydrated and provide a few chairs for rest.
We hope these ideas will be helpful during your next backyard party! We had fun putting them together. Stop in anytime at one of our Pettis Pools & Patio locations and tell us how your summer entertaining is going.