It’s that time of year again! Warm weather and sunshine means cookouts, barbecues and all things outdoor. I always feel like summer comes and goes way too quickly so I try to take advantage of the beautiful weather and do a lot of hosting this time of year.
I am all about being the hostess with the mostest and pulling out all the stops for guests, but sometimes, it is a lot of work. And sometimes, the host just want to sit back and relax. I am a firm believer in your guests only have a good time if you the host are having a good time. It can be very easy to get caught up in the details. But at the end of the day, I think that your guests would much rather you be present in the moment with them. My biggest tip for any hosting is do all your prep work before-hand. Also, don’t be afraid to ask guests bring a beverage and/or side dish. It is much easier to host when everyone pitches in. Below is a quick check-list on how to throw together a last-minute outdoor party
1.) Set a theme. It is easy to create a last-minute theme using either a color or cuisine. Making mexican? Create a fiesta theme with bright colors. Having a barbecue? Pick a red and white picnic color scheme. Having a Luau? Grab some tiki torches and coconuts.
2). Buy matching plates, napkins, cups, and straws.. Stick with your theme or color scheme. I can almost always find these at the dollar store. Keep it simple though and make one stop for these. Don’t stress yourself out running all over town trying to find matching items. The dollar store typically has party supplies in every color.
3.) Set up a specific food/drink serving area. Use a designated counter, your dining table, or set up an additional table to create a designated area. This makes it easier for guests to help themselves and also looks nice decorated with a theme.
4.) Use matching serving platters. I keep my serving ware in neutral colors so they go with anything. I have nice white ceramic plates for indoor hosting and tin for outdoor hosting. The nice part about having neutral entertaining ware is you can mix and match it. If you don’t have a nice set of matching entertaining ware, the dollar store always has clear plastic platters and bowls. You can’t go wrong with clear plastic!
5.) Fill a drink dispenser with a fun alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink. Lemon/Cucumber/Mint water is always a good nonalcoholic option. There are multiple recipes for alcoholic drinks out there – but go for a pretty display using fruit, berries, and leaves.
6.) Use fun drinking glasses. I keep a set of 24 mason jars on hand for this purpose. Drinks in mason jars are always cute. Margarita glasses, wine glasses or even patterned paper cups always add an extra touch when hosting. Don’t forget your straws, umbrellas, or other drink garnishes.
7.) Use a chalkboard. I always keep a small chalkboard on hand for hosting purposes. Write something on it that has to do with the theme, food, beverage, whatever your heart desires. The chalkboard adds a coordinated touch to the party.
8.) Keep your food and drinking aligned with the theme. If you are hosting a fiesta, let guests know to bring a mexican-inspired dish and make margaritas for your drink. Having a luau? Grab some Hawaiian beer to serve with your Kalua pork. Always make sure your food and beverage align with your theme.
9.) Create the ambience. Put a Pandora station on your sound system that goes with your theme. Light candles, lanterns, and tiki torches prior to guests arriving. Make sure your home is tidy and clean. And don’t forget to karate chop those throw pillows!