Enjoying a delicious meal outdoors is one of the most pleasant ways to spend a long summer evening. Add in some friends or family, and life doesn’t get much better than this. An outdoor dinner party brings people together and can be a fun way to show off your home and your culinary skills. However, some people are put off by the seemingly daunting task of preparing for an event like this. While an outdoor dinner party does require quite a few different considerations, if you break the planning into organized pieces, it can be easy to create a beautiful and memorable event.
Here are the main elements to consider when planning your outdoor dinner party:
The venue for a dinner party is one of the most basic requirements for hosting a great evening. Whether it be on your patio, in a backyard gazebo or at a picturesque park nearby, the space where you host the meal will help set the tone for your evening. Keep in mind that different locales might mean different requirements for food, decorations, and lighting. If you are hosting in the backyard, an outdoor dining set is a must, while at a park or garden, you may want to focus on elements such as table décor.
While an extensive or blatant theme isn’t necessary, an outdoor dinner that is unified by an underlying element comes across as better planned out and feels more like an event. And there is no shortage of great themes to work with; whether you want to stay basic with something like “blue & yellow” or go for a more specific theme such as “vintage picnic,” an outdoor setting lends itself nicely to a range of different designs. Don’t be afraid to get creative! It also is helpful to note that outdoor venues work great for elegant botanical or laid back rustic themes, as the setting offers a perfect foundation for either of these schemes. But regardless of style choice, be sure to consider elements such as the table linens,dinnerware, glassware, centerpieces and décor to create your theme.
Of course no dinner party is complete without a fabulous spread of food and drinks. For the food, your choice in entrées might depend on your venue. If you are having a meal at a location away from your home, it can be helpful to choose dishes that are pre-cooked or served cold, such as salads, cured meats or fruits and veggies. For an event at your home, grilling is always an outdoor dining classic. However, for any outdoor location, it can still be nice to keep the food elegantly simple to prevent trips back and forth to the kitchen.
When it comes to beverages, fun summer cocktails can be incredibly easy and make a big impact. Bright and fruity flavors are a great seasonal touch, and refreshing blended drinks can help keep summer heat in check. Be sure to also provide plenty of water for guests – a drink dispenser with lemon or cucumber wedges would be perfect.
Tip: A tray or outdoor serving cart can be a great asset to easily transport and serve food, drinks or other essentials.
An outdoor setting is no excuse to leave your guests in the dark. In fact an outdoor dinner offers a fun opportunity to use whimsical lighting that might be out of place in a more traditional setting. Of course candles are a classic touch, and using a a mix of different types such as votives, tapers and pillar candles can make for a classy, yet eclectic feel. You may even want to mix in a few citronella candles, so that your lighting can also help keep pesky bugs away. Or of you prefer electric light, string lights are always a great addition that brings a festive air to any outdoor event. You can also consider options like tiki torches, which can provide great lighting and contribute to a tropical theme.
Put all of these things together, and you have a well put together outdoor dinner party that anyone would enjoy! All of this being said, the best parties are those spent with family and friends. So even if everything doesn’t come together perfectly, enjoy the warm evenings, the good food, and good company, and take a moment to appreciate all that’s good about summertime.