One of the best parts of summer is the nice weather which makes it possible to have outside parties. I love entertaining and have found since having kids we do it a lot more informally. But that doesn’t mean there still isn’t a lot of work involved! Backyard parties are fun for adults and kids. Being prepared is crucial, you don’t want to be running around looking for the wine opener after the guests arrive!
BEFORE THE PARTY
- Wipe or hose down all patio and outdoor furniture including any toys the kids will be using.
- Buy paper or plastic plates, utensils, and cups.
- Buy plenty of ice. Make sure you have drink ice and cooler ice. Ice down sodas, beers, and juice.
- Use plastic tablecloths for the food area. Have tape or weights to keep it from blowing away.
- Have blankets or towels available for extra seating.
- Have bottle openers and wine openers available.
- Tidy up! Make sure all important toys are safely tucked away. Get that pile of mail out of the way.
- Stock the guest bathroom with lots of toilet paper.
- Have receptacles for trash AND recycling outside.
- Have lots of paper towels on hand to clean up spills or dirty children.
- Make sure there is a shady area for guests who are too hot or don’t want to sit in the sun.
- Do not stage all the food and drink in one area, spread it around.
- Block off all areas of the house or yard where you do not want people to be.
- Contingency plan – you never know when the weather will turn on you!
- Plan a menu that includes plenty of appetizers and snack foods.
- Keep the main course simple with as much prepared ahead of time as possible.
- If using the BBQ, make sure it is out of the way of the kids play area.
- Have a dessert that does not require an additional plate (think cookies, brownies, rice krispy treats)
- Lots of drinks including juice boxes, sodas, water, lemonade, beer, and wine. Make a fun punch or some sangria.
DURING THE PARTY
- When guests enter, point them in the direction they should go or everyone will end up in the kitchen!
- Offer drinks to the guests and point out the areas with kids drinks and adult drinks.
- Be on the lookout for empty serving dishes and refill. Find a friend to help with this.
- Relax and talk to your guests, you don’t want to be busy the whole time and not enjoy the party!
And then there is the clean up. Having the trash and recycling cans outside can help make this easier!