Summer’s here, and you know what that means? Party time! The weather is warm, the days are long, and the backyard is just begging to be filled with friends and family.
This year, throw the best fete yet. You know, the one people will be talking about long after the dog days of August are behind us. With a little pre-party prep and a lot of creativity, the fun won’t end until the last reveler goes home.
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First, decide who you want to entertain. Perhaps you want to host a family reunion, or get your former classmates together. Maybe it’s a neighborhood shindig you’re looking to throw. The specific group and distance they will have to travel determines how much advance notice you need to give your guests.
Next, pick a date. Make sure it doesn’t conflict with times the people you want to attend might be away. Summer schedules fill up quickly, so you might want to do a little poll to check availability before you set the date in stone.
Finally, send your invite. If you’re throwing a super-casual get-together, a simple call, text, email, or evite is fine. But if you want to get a little more creative and start making an impression right off the bat, you could make your own. For example, you might decide to blow up balloons, write the invitation out on them in Sharpie, then deflate and send in a brightly-colored envelope with instructions for the recipients to inflate the balloon when they get it. Or, you could get bottles, print out your party information, and then roll this up and place it inside for a “message in a bottle” style invite.
However you decide to let your guests know about the backyard party, be sure to include any pertinent info about the theme, dress code, when food will be served, and if there will be a rain date in case of inclement weather. No one wants to show up to a pool party without a swimsuit, or wearing all black to an Independence Day themed celebration. Also, ask guests to RSVP so you’re not left guessing as to how much food and drink to have on hand.
Backyard Party Ambiance
The best thing you can do to ensure your guests have a great time is to create a distinct vibe and ambiance in your backyard. Start by making comfortable seating areas using your existing outdoor furniture. Supplement these with any pieces you can safely bring out from indoors.
If there are still not enough places to sit, no worries. You can rent extras tables and chairs relatively inexpensively, or you could get crafty. One idea is to line up old wooden pallets, cover them with a tablecloth, and then surround the “table” with pillows for a do-it-yourself dining area. Or, you could set up picnic blankets around the yard for extra eating and lounging space. Even setting up a tent can make for a fun private place to eat, talk and laugh.
Lighting makes a backyard party go from meh to wow. Use string lights, or even holiday lights, to brighten the night. Wrap them around trees, or string them overhead from branches. Adding paper lanterns to these make a colorful statement. Fill mason jars with fairy lights and set them on tables to create a warm glow. Or you could put small LED lights inside balloons and inflate them for a colorful effect.
If you looking to amp up the wow factor even more, consider installing your own fire fountain. The combination of trickling water with a fiery center will captivate your guests. Companies like Living Water Aeration stock all the parts you need to create your own flaming focal point.
Backyard Party Decorations
One of the most fun things about throwing a backyard party is picking out the decorations. Plates and napkins come in such cute coordinating colors and patterns these days. Just pick a color, theme or holiday for your celebration and let your unique personality shine.
When setting tables and eating areas, you might want to use color coordinating table cloths. Or, you could cover them with brown Kraft paper and put little metal pails with markers or crayons on the table. That way, everyone can doodle and draw their way through the meal.
Fresh-picked flowers from your yard make for great centerpieces. But then again, so do fruits and veggies. Simply fill vases and jars of varying heights with produce of different types and colors. You might be surprised how beautiful and sophisticated asparagus, carrots, grapes, grape tomatoes, snap peas and baby peppers look when presented this way. Bonus points for being edible and healthy!
Of course, every party needs a great soundtrack. You could make a custom playlist for your event that includes songs that appeal to and having meaning for your particular group, and play it through speakers during the party. Or if you want to be totally old-school, set out a record player, a library of records, and ask your guests to play DJ by picking out the songs they want to hear.
Food for Backyard Party
The key to enjoying your awesome party is by prepping beforehand and keeping thing simple when it comes to food. The easiest way to cut down on meal prep is to make your party a potluck. People are always happy to bring something along with them.
Whatever menu you create can be made memorable by serving it in a new and unique way. For instance, instead of simply setting out plastic bottles of ketchup, mustard and mayo, create a cute display with condiments in tiny metal buckets or in clear jars with labeled popsicle sticks instead. Serve salads in berry containers rather than out of a giant bowl. Put taco fixings directly into an individual bag of corn chips. Set up a make-your-own s’mores bar, or even invite the local ice cream truck to stop by.
Drinks for Backyard Party
It’s always a fun idea to develop a signature drink or two to go along with your event. Search online for a craft cocktail that matches your theme and party personality. In a pinch, champagne with a scoop of sorbet can do double duty as dessert and thirst quencher.
Fruit infused water is both a pretty and delicious option for those who don’t drink alcohol. Frozen blueberries make for colorful, edible ice cubes. And hot cocoa by the fire fountain is sure to be a hit with the younger set.
No matter what drinks you serve, heighten the fun with your serving method. Set up a lemonade stand and with drinks behind it and anyone who wants to serve them up. Use a wheelbarrow or blow-up pool to chill drinks. Or make an old-fashioned bar cart and have your guests serve themselves.
Backyard Party Fun
Every great party includes some games and activities. So get out your old croquet or bocce set, cornhole game, and Frisbee and let them fun begin. Fill up a plastic baby pool with bubble solution and then use hula hoops to make giant bubbles. You’ll soon see the kid in everyone coming out.
Up for a little DIY? Make your own giant Jenga game with wood from the home improvement store. Take a tarp or shower curtain, use duct tape to make lines on it, and then use Frisbees or paper plates to play Tic Tac Toe on it. Spray paint circles onto the lawn in different colors, make a spinner, and you’ve got lawn Twister.
Fill piñatas full of little items from the dollar store such as colorful beads, sunglasses, and water guns. Once you’ve played and everyone has gotten a few prizes, use them to accessorize a do-it-yourself photo booth. Hang a big frame from a tree and have a Polaroid camera and film on hand. It’s great fun and gives your guests a photo memento from the party to take home.
Ready, Set, Go!
Now that you know how easy it is to throw the best summer party yet, isn’t it time to start planning your own? Set your theme. Pick your menu. And bring on the fun!