Host An Elegant & Enjoyable Outdoor Party With These 7 Easy Tips

Whether you're planning an afternoon garden party or a multi-course dinner, entertaining alfresco offers both challenges and opportunities. Enjoy an elegant yet stress-free occasion with these handy suggestions:

1. Prep The Meal Ahead

Try to minimize the amount of time you'll have to spend cooking by planning your menu carefully. Start with a cold or room-temperature appetizer, such as a hummus platter or cheese and fruit plate. For your main course, stick with something you can make ahead of time, such as a bolognese that just needs to be reheated as you make a pasta. This lets you maximize the time you can spend with your guests (not to mention the relief that your hands won't smell like garlic).

2. Trade the Floral For Fruit

Decorative vases of in-season blooms can be lovely, but expected. Change up the decor with a striking patterned bowl filled with fresh oranges, lemons, or whatever fits your color scheme.

3. Leave the Bartending To the Punch

It's common courtesy to fix your guests a drink, but accommodating every order can keep the host behind the bar all night. Plan ahead with a pre-made cocktail that everyone will enjoy, such as fruity sangria or a peach bellini. Be sure to serve from a glass punch bowl or glass dispenser and add cut fruit or herbs for an elegant, unique presentation.

4. Change Up the Dishes

Hosting an outdoor dinner lets you play with brand new ideas for tableware. Don't be afraid to mix it up with funky bold colors or vintage mismatched dishes. You don't have to break the bank either: large home retailers always carry a variety of outdoor tableware, while brave shoppers can find hidden vintage treasures at thrift stores.

5. Consider the Napkin

Depending on your weather, lightweight napkins may be a nuisance on a windy day. You'd hate to see your table settings blow away before the guests arrive, so switch to heavier linens or find some stylish napkin holders. You can even make your own using fruit, rocks, or whatever else you find fitting to your table decor.

6. Include At Least One Locally Sourced Ingredient

Every town has something of its own to offer, so why not share yours with your guests? Visit your local farmer's market to serve fresh produce. Maybe you can't make an entire meal from your community's crops, but serving homegrown apples or wine from a nearby vineyard helps to personalize your party.

7. Dress Up Your Water

It's amazing how easy it is to make artwork out of H2O. Keep your guests hydrated in style by adding sliced limes, lemons, or cucumbers to your glass water pitchers. Infused water adds a subtle but pleasing flavor and show your guests that you have put thoughtful effort into even the most basic ingredient.

Related Links:

Outdoor Refrigeration
How To Decorate An Outdoor Kitchen
Practice Food Safety In the Outdoors
13 Space-Saving Ideas For Small Kitchens
Style Tips For Small Kitchens

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