Planning a dinner party can be as complicated or as simple as you make it. If you’ve recently moved into a new home and are eager to throw your first outdoor soirée, August is the perfect time of year to do so!
The first thing you’ll need to do is decide on the type of party you’ll be throwing. Will it be a sit-down dinner for six to 10? Or would you rather host a larger group with passed hors d’oeuvres and signature cocktails? Decide early on in the planning process. Your guest count will help determine the menu and refreshments, décor, table set up and “feel” of the evening.
One of the first steps to throwing a successful party is comfortable seating. Use outdoor furniture to set up one or two seating areas for guests to gather at. If you’re short on patio chairs, spread some cosy blankets on the lawn with a bunch of bright and colourful throw pillows. If it’s a casual event, tree stumps topped with small cushions are cute and functional.
Nothing sets the mood for a party like lighting! String lights have come so far in recent years and there are dozens of styles available. If your backyard is in the dark, you might get lucky with some late summer sales – check your local retailers. Other ways to add a cosy, warm glow to your party: candles, a tabletop fire pit, tiki torches or hanging Mason jar tea-lights (check online for instructions).
People always recall delicious food, so be sure to spend some time planning the menu for a really memorable evening! You can’t go wrong with appetizers so if you want to avoid preparing and timing a three or four-course meal, keep it simple with trays of tasty bites. If hosting less than 12 people, you should serve three to four different appetizers and plan on people eating five to six pieces per hour. Try to include a couple of vegetarian options.
One of the best things about appetizers is many can be made ahead of time and refrigerated or heated before serving, allowing you more time to mingle with guests! To save time, visit a local bakery to purchase sweet treats to pass around later in the evening.
Happy party planning!