If you’re anything like me, the onset of warm weather has you dreaming of elaborate outdoor entertaining. I imagine myself all decked out in a flowing summer caftan, with sunglasses that cover half my face and a perfectly coiffed mop of sun-kissed hair blowing in the light breeze.
There’s a table of hors d’oeuvres and fun summery drinks, and quaint homemade light fixtures dot my yard.
Come mid-summer, however, any get-together at my house usually consists of hot dogs and burgers instead of fancy small plates, a bonfire in place of charming jars glowing everywhere, and I’m most definitely sporting a T-shirt and shorts instead of the fancy caftan. Not a terrible scene, but nowhere near the ideal atmosphere I’d hoped to create.
If you have lofty aspirations to entertain in the coming months – but are overwhelmed by lack of time, budget constraints, or you need some neat and attainable ideas – Real Simple has some great tips for easy outdoor entertaining. Here are a few for your consideration:
- Encourage your guests to wander around by placing food and drinks on separate tables. Good parties are filled with good conversation, and these little meeting stations are sure to get people chatting it up.
- Place essentials such as barware, ice and glasses on a bar cart that you can wheel in and out of the house when it’s time to restock. That way you’ll spend less time making multiple trips for supplies, and more time enjoying the company of your friends.
- Here’s one I really dig: Fill a serving platter with water and float flower heads, such as peonies, on top. This simple solution will create a chic and sophisticated entertaining space – and you’ll feel like you’re channeling Martha Stewart!
- Get creative with your seating! Things like tree stumps and ottomans can be used for additional sitting space.
- Illuminate the evening with distinctive lanterns, twinkling strands and festive lights, but consider using a brown extension cord that may be easier to hide.
- Don’t forget to guard against mosquitoes! Gather your citronella candles and place them all around your party area.
- Bring indoor furniture outside to create outdoor “rooms” and encourage conversation. Have some comfy chairs that are easily portable? Maybe an end table for guests to set their food and drinks? Carry them outside for a cozier feel.
- Is the night a little chillier than you expected? Don’t be afraid to start that bonfire to warm up your guests. It may be fun to have the makings for s’mores around the house as a dessert option.
Click here to read the whole article. Happy entertaining!