Thinking of hosting an outdoor party or dinner this summer?  Here are a few of the ways I keep outdoor entertaining easy and fun!


  1. Plan ahead.  Plan your party at least 1 week ahead of time.  Invite your guests, see how many can make it, and make a list of those coming. You can make some pretty cool invitations here!

2. Make lists.  I am a big fan of lists!  Write down what food and drinks you’ll need to buy, what you need for decorations, and any other supplies (dishes, table linens, paper plates, games, etc) you may need to buy.  


3. Have all your shopping done by the day before your party.  That way, you will have time to clean, decorate and cook on the day of the party.

4. Have your music planned out – good music adds so much to a party!  If you’re having it outdoors, make sure you have a way to play the music out there.  I like to use  Groove music and Spotify to create playlists – find some tips on how to do this here – so easy!   

5. Fresh flowers.  They are the perfect decoration, and this time of year, they are everywhere!  If you don’t have flowers or flowering shrubs and trees in your garden, you can cut some at a friend’s, or buy some inexpensive annuals and fill some decorative pots – they will last all summer!

6. Get help!  Enlist family members to help with getting your outdoor and indoor space clean and ready for the party.  Do as much as you can the day before the party.

7. Food prep.  Unless you are a gourmet cook (I am NOT), plan easy, simple dishes that everyone likes.  My husband likes to bbq, so of course I let him do that.  I make a few salads, marinate something for the bbq,  wrap up some potatoes or yams to bake, and I ask my guests to bring an appetizer or dessert.  SO easy!  Here are some more summer dinner party menu ideas for if you want to venture outside the token salads, but still keep it simple healthy and delicious!


8. Provide non-alcoholic drinks too – sparkling water with lemon slices, lemonade, and club soda are all great to have on hand at a summer party.  Or, get more creative with these recipes!

9. Plan entertainment.  I like to have some sort of game available for those who like to play – bocce, volleyball, badminton and croquet are great if you have the space.  After dinner, you may want to organize a card game or board game if you have a smaller group.  Make sure you have everything you need for the activity you choose.

10. Make sure you have time to relax before the party starts.  Have a bath, listen to music, do your nails.  Make sure you are in a good frame of mind and excited to see your friends.  If you are relaxed and happy, your guests will be too.  I try to keep drinks and food self-serve, with everything easy to find for my guests.  I don’t want to be in the kitchen while everyone else is having fun – so I do as much as possible ahead of time, and I don’t worry about cleaning until everyone leaves!

I hope some of my tips will help you plan a really successful, enjoyable party this summer – let me know if they do, or if you have any tips of your own you would like to share!

Here are some more articles about outdoor entertaining you may enjoy reading:

How to Update Your Outdoor Space on a Budget

Outdoor Parties

Step-by-Step Guide to Setting and Outdoor Table for Summer

Creating an Outdoor Sanctuary