Who doesn’t love entertaining outdoors! BBQ’s, parties, afternoon teas and cocktails – its all better with a bit of fresh air. James Mawson from Outdoor Living Direct shares his 17 Bright Ideas for Improve Entertaining Outdoors:
Tell your neighbours – Most people will be pretty cool with you having an occasional party, so long as you’re cool to them in return. So let them know when it’s happening, when it’s winding up, and give them your phone number in case they need to get in touch about anything.
Tunes are an excellent idea – Midrange and treble frequencies are highly directional, and so clever placement can reduce your chances of noise complaints. If you point the speakers towards the side of your house, the sound will disperse more and you won’t need to crank the system so loud. Bass frequencies travel in all directions and through the thickest of walls, so don’t pump heaps of bass. Aim for a playlist that everyone will love – or as close to everyone as possible. There’s a time and place for educating your friends on those songs that you love but nobody else has gotten into – but at a garden party, this can fall flat .
Finger food rules – While forks and plates still work when you take them out of the house, finger food is king! Dips, skewers, fruit and cheese platters, or dessert snacks are all strong options. For more finger food ideas click here
Keep kids busy – If your event is a family “do”, or you otherwise expect kids at the party, plan an activity for them. Scavenger hunts, tug of war, sack races, or duck duck goose all work well. Having activities planned not only makes the party more fun for the children, it also gives the adults some time and space to better enjoy the party. Be sure that children are properly supervised at all times.
Keep ’em roam in’ – Set up drinks and nibbles on different tables, and place them apart, to encourage guests to wander and mingle. Have your seating area in a different location as well. If you have an esky or a fridge for beer and soft drink, try placing that apart from the tables and chairs too.
Match drinks to food – If you are serving beer or wine, have a think about what food you’ll be serving before making your selection. Goat’s cheese goes well with wheat beers, a full bodied shiraz goes well with lamb skewers – there’s no end of info on the web about matching drinks to food, although ultimately the most important rule to follow is what you enjoy.
There’s always that ‘KISS’ principle thing – So keep it simple. Instead of running around like a headless chook cooking up a zillion nibble and snacks, just do a few super delicious ones. This will give you plenty of chance to actually enjoy the company of your friends. Your guests will relax and have that much more fun when they see their host is digging the party too.
Tip the cops off – Every Australian state and territory police force runs a “party safe” or “party smart” program, where you can register your house party. If you’ve more than a handful of people coming, this might be a smart precaution. By letting the police know about your party, they will be better placed to help you out in the unlikely event of gatecrashers or other trouble ruining your night.
Drink driving is a douche move – Enjoying a few alcoholic beverages at social occasions is popular amongst a lot of Aussies, but getting behind the wheel drunk is severely uncool. Serve some interesting drinks for designated drivers – non-alcoholic punch goes well. This will also encourage the non-drivers to not go too overboard, which can help everyone to have a good time. If there’s a chance that refreshments are going to be poured liberally then let people know about public transport options, and maybe even have someone on hand to collect people from the station, to encourage cars to be left at home. Having a bit of crash space on hand in case anyone ends up over the line is also a good idea.
Theme it up, themey – If you feel like mixing things up a bit, pick a theme for your party. You’ve no end of options: an 80s theme, science fiction, punk rock, ye olde worlde elegance, or whatever you feel like. Click here for some more party theme ideas
Raid the yard for decorations – Some cuttings from the garden placed amongst can make for a gorgeous but simple, no-fuss decorative motif.
Brown guacamole is gross – If you’re making dips the day before the party, cover them with cling wrap so that the cling wrap touches the top of the dip. This will stop the dip oxidising in the fridge.
Mix’n’match, it’s all good – Don’t stress too much about matching cutlery or crockery. Garden parties are at their best as relaxed, informal affairs. Go with a varied mix to keep it feeling laid-back.
You can’t control the weather! – Weather forecasts are actually becoming more and more reliable these days, but stuff happens. With adequate covering, rain goes from being a total disaster to a minor inconvenience. If you’re entertaining during daylight at all then shade is also a consideration – your palest friends will be immensely grateful. Umbrellas are actually pretty good at this stuff.
Catch some flicks – For outdoor entertaining with a twist, grab a projector and a screen and watch some films. LCD projectors can usually be hooked up to laptops, and you can rig up your own screen with a white bedsheet and black backing. Position the screen so that street lights, nearby house lights or passing car lights won’t get in the way. Get your guests to bring blankets to sit on, and serve popcorn.
Know who’s coming – Sending out written invitations has long been a good way to reduce the chance of gatecrashers. Increasingly though, parties are put together via social media. To keep a lid on who’s coming, set your facebook event to “Invite Only” and in the event description, ask your guests to just run it by you first if they wanna bring anyone you don’t know.
Light the way – Is that your cat mittens or a possum with rabies? It’s so dark, who can tell! A little ambient light is all you need – candles work great.
- My name is James Mawson and I write about outdoor entertaining and lifestyle on the Outdoor Living Direct blog
- TAGS:ideas for mums, bright ideas, bright ideas for mums, tips for mums, mums websites, tips for outdoor entreating, things to think about when entertaining outside, outdoor entertaining ideas, ways to party outdoors.