Throw an Elegant Dinner Party

The summer months are the best time of the year to gather friends for a celebration of long days and lazy evenings, but keeping the party going with the trials of outdoor life can be a challenge. Even the savviest of party planners can misstep in throwing an outdoor shindig without the right tips and tricks.

If you are itching to show off that newly landscaped back yard, follow these helpful hints to throw an elegant, yet casual, outdoor dinner party.

Keep away unwanted guests. One of the biggest pains while enjoying the summer sun is pesky mosquitoes. While it’s nearly impossible to keep them all at bay, there are ways to keep them from “bugging” your guests. A few strategically placed fans will keep these weak fliers from getting near your party, and a few packs of bug repellant wipes at each table will provide coverage without the messy spray.

Keep the decor simple and functional. Washable linen table cloths and small vases of colorful flowers are enough to make an understated elegant feel. If you want to really impress your guests, devote one table to wine and cocktails, and use a standing vintage picture frame to outline your cocktail menu. Be sure to give some recipes for your signature concoctions. Mason jars can neatly hold silverware, and tea candles will add just the right amount of lighting.

Fine-tune your music selection. Music can not only set the mood of the evening, but it can act as a welcome background noise in the early stages when your guests are arriving. Picking the right playlist and volume level will keep your guests feeling relaxed. Plan for at least four hours of song selections, and keep the volume loud enough to hear, but soft enough so that your friends don’t feel the need to stop the conversation.

If you’re inviting kids, have a special plan just for them. A kid-friendly menu of hot dogs and fruit cups can satiate most picky eaters, and a cooler full of juice boxes and waters will keep the notorious kid thirst away. A few outdoor party games and toys can be a lifesaver for parents just trying to enjoy their libations without having to deal with a bored child. Be sure to make sure all of your guests know where to find the kid-friendly activities, and most importantly - the bathrooms.

Make cleanup a snap with disposable dinnerware. You can find paper dinnerware in almost any color, and buying a variety to match your party colors will make you look like a pro. If you’re worried about waste or the impact on the environment, take a couple of trash cans and label them each with recycling and trash. Place them under a table with a circle frame above each one indicating its purpose for paper, plastics or glass. This will make sorting for guests easy, and clean up for you a breeze. 

18th Aug 2017 Eric Morgan

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