Spring is in the air! The weather is warming up, the days are getting longer, and everyone’s ready to shake off the winter blues and get back outside. What better way to celebrate the arrival of a new season than by throwing the perfect outdoor party?
Whether it’s a birthday bash, a backyard BBQ, or a family gathering, there’s nothing like celebrating in the fresh air. From picking an appropriate venue to choosing the decorations and creating a delicious menu, let’s look at some of our favorite tips to help you plan the perfect outdoor party that your guests will love.
Find the perfect place
One of the most important parts of hosting an outdoor party is choosing a suitable space for the celebration. Which one’s the best option? Well, it all depends on the event you’ll be hosting and the size of the guest list.
When it comes to small gatherings, your own backyard can be the perfect venue. After all, it offers complete privacy and control over the space. And you have full access to your own amenities, such as a grill, outdoor seating area, and more.
However, a public space — like a park — might be perfect for your outdoor party. This will provide more room for people to move around comfortably. Most public spaces are generally free to use, offer plenty of space for larger groups, and tend to include amenities. Think picnic tables, grills, and playgrounds — and open space for entertainment.
Consider the weather
If one thing’s for sure, it’s that you can’t predict the weather. That’s why planning an outdoor party can sometimes feel like a game of Russian roulette: will it rain? Will it be too sunny? Will the wind get in the way of setting up?
So, when hosting an outdoor event, it’s important to consider what happens if the weather takes an unexpected turn. Choosing a venue with plenty of shade — or rain cover — can make the difference between a party that “gets down” and one that gets swept away. If the space is large enough, consider renting a tent that’ll be sure to keep everyone safe, rain or shine.
Choose the right decorations
Working with a blank canvas like an outdoor setting means that decorations will help set the mood and create a festive atmosphere for your outdoor party.
Balloons and garlands are a great and affordable way to add a little personality to your outdoor party. Available in different colors and sizes, balloons can work in many different ways. Create balloon arches for the entrance, tie them to chairs, or add as centerpieces that’ll draw instant attention.
Another option for mood-boosting outdoor party decorations is to use lighting. Outdoor string lights or lanterns can warm up the party space, making it feel more welcoming. They can also be used to highlight key features, such as trees or landscaping, and add a touch of elegance as the sun begins to go down.
However, the most important part of choosing the right decorations for your outdoor event is to keep things simple and functional. Most of all, ensure that your decorations won’t pose a hazard to your guests or the environment and that you can easily remove them at the end of the day. Trust us — this will save you the hassle of having to take down too many things once your guests have gone home.
Cook up a feast
If you ask us, food is at the heart of… pretty much everything! A good menu can easily take a simple party to the next level — but there are several things to remember before going ham (ha!) on choosing what you want to serve.
First, it’s important to consider the time of the event. If the party is happening during the day, you can’t go wrong with lighter fare such as salads, sandwiches, and fruit platters. However, if the party’s happening in the evening, you may want to include heartier options such as grilled bites — from burgers to hot dogs — along with pasta dishes and casseroles to keep guests satisfied.
Another crucial factor is the ease of preparation and serving — especially if you don’t want to spend your party worrying about preparing and serving complicated dishes.
With that in mind, choose plates that you can prepare in advance, are easy to transport, and can be served at room temperature. Not only will this save you time and effort, but it’ll also allow you to spend more time enjoying the party and less time sweating it out in the kitchen.
Finally, remember to include beverages and desserts in your menu planning! Consider offering a variety of drinks, both alcoholic and non-alcoholic alternatives, to suit your guests’ preferences and restrictions. And, when it comes to desserts, your best bet is offering single-serve baked goods. Cookies or cupcakes, for example, are easy to transport and dish out.
Bring the fun
Right up there with food, entertainment is a crucial aspect of any outdoor party. You want your guests to have fun, right? Right!
A classic option for outdoor parties is lawn games — cornhole, frisbee or giant Jenga. These are easy to set up, apt for all ages, and provide hours of entertainment as guests come and go.
Additionally, if you’re celebrating a special event and want something unique, consider setting up a photo booth. Your guests can take home a souvenir from the party. DIY photo booths are easy and affordable to set up: all you need is a simple backdrop, props, and a camera or phone.
Bonus points if you find an instant camera or Polaroid that can print photos on the spot!
It’s all about planning ahead
There’s no doubt that gearing up for the perfect outdoor party takes a lot of planning, organizing, and thinking ahead.
From choosing the venue to nailing the food and entertainment, there are many things to remember to ensure the day runs smoothly. But, this shouldn’t deter you from organizing a gathering with the people you love.
Remember, beyond the party favors and the snacks, coming together is about connection and creating lasting memories. So, go ahead! Plan and prep for your outdoor party, but also go with the flow and enjoy the moment. That’ll make all the difference.
Camila Pérez is a freelance writer and content strategist based out of Colombia. She specializes in travel, hospitality, and lifestyle writing.