Host a Brilliant Backyard Bash
From food to setup, these genius tips help you throw a summer soiree that’s easy, breezy and unbelievably fun.
Get savvy tips for throwing the best darn shindig of the season.
Backyard parties are essential to summer. They’ve got a built-in laid-back vibe that makes it easy to slow down, fill up your plate and kick back in the sunshine. But there’s still plenty to plan for when it comes to these outdoor extravaganzas. Make sure you have every step covered so you can host the ultimate backyard (or patio, or deck, or porch…) extravaganza.
Making food ahead of time can alleviate stress, so if any recipes can be prepped the weekend before and held till the guests begin to arrive, try to knock ’em off early— including serving ice cream. Dish it up ahead of time, freeze single scoops on a cookie sheet and then set them out just before serving. You’ll save time (and tired scooping wrists) when dessert rolls around.
Add Extra Seating
Plan to have enough seating for everyone. Guests may not all be sitting at the same time, but it’s always best to have the option. If there aren’t enough chairs, bring out stools, benches, blankets or even that old beanbag. Don’t be afraid to mix and match what you have, and keep it casual.
Have a Cooler Handy
Cool drinks are a must at any summer shindig. To keep beverages chilled and the fun factor high at your party, fill balloons with water, tie them off and place in the freezer until frozen solid. At party time, add the frozen water balloons to a small kiddie pool, and nestle in bottled beverages to chill until sipping time. For the more conventional cooler route, tie bottle openers to the handles so guests never have to go on a quest or out of their way to crack open a cold one. Keep food chilled throughout the party by filling that kiddie pool with ice and placing dishes like potluck salads, dips and refrigerated desserts on top. Be sure to set the pool on top of a table so it’s off the ground and easy for people, not critters, to reach.
Serve with Speed
When eating time rolls around, keep the buffet line moving by leaving enough room on both sides of the table. (This means you may want to set out additional serving utensils for each dish, too.) Make it easy to see what’s being served by creating food labels to set beside each dish. (Bonus points for noting what’s free of gluten, nuts or dairy!) And keep a small basket or box filled with bundled silverware and napkins nearby so guests can grab and go in a flash. If you have a platter of grilled burgers or hot dogs set up, corral toppings and condiments nearby in a standard muffin tin. Each cup can hold ketchup, mustard, onions, pickles, mayo and more. Add small serving spoons to each cup so guests can customize their burgers, dogs and more to their delight.
Say Bye-Bye to Bugs
Shoo pests away from the scene by setting pretty pots of fresh herbs on tables. Aromatic plants like lavender, mint, rue and tansy are natural insect repellents, and they can double as an easy centerpiece! You can also add a bundle of sage to the fire pit to ward bugs away from the bash.
Plan your full cookout menu: tasteofhome.com