Planning a Backyard Party
Summer is in full swing and summer barbecues and backyard parties are all the rage. It is absolutely wonderful to bring your friends and family together to enjoy the beautiful summer weather and get a chance to chat and catch up. My friend Darci Maxwell is with us today to share her tips for planning a backyard party. If you are hosting a backyard get together over the next few weeks, use this guide below to help you plan the perfect party.
Plan Party Hours
A lot of things rest on what time your backyard party will be held. If you are hosting a morning brunch, you will be serving different food, playing different activities, and inviting a different crowd than if you are going to be hosting a backyard dinner party. And of course, if you want your party to go well into the night, you’ll have to plan adequate lighting for your party guests. Once you have decided when you want to have you party, go ahead and move on to the next party planning steps.
Plan Your Guest List
The next thing that you will need to do is plan a guest list. Do you want to host an intimate get together with only a few close friends, or make the party as big as possible? Are people allowed to bring their kids or is it an adult only party? Are people allowed to invite others to the party? Make sure that your attendees know whether or not it is an invite-only party so that you don’t have any unexpected guests. Make sure that you get the invitations out at least two weeks in advance so that your guests can mark their calendars.
Once you know how many people will be at your party, and what time the party will be, you can start to plan food and drinks. Plan your food based time of day you are hosting and what your theme is. For example, if you are hosting an evening luau, you may want to provide mini egg rolls, Hawaiian Haystacks, and shrimp skewers whereas if you are serving afternoon tea, you’ll want to serve cucumber sandwiches and macaroons. As a general rule, each party guest will drink about 3-5 drinks, eat 1-2 patties (if it’s a barbecue) and eat ½ cup to 1 cup of each side dish. You will also need to decide if you will want to provide all of the grub, or if you want to turn it into a potluck and ask your guests to bring something to the party. Just make sure that you make specific assignments so that you don’t end up with 8 potato salads!
Plan Table Settings and Seating
You need to decide how and where are your guests going to sit to eat their food, and how would you like the tables to be set? You can either set up a casual party with card tables and seating placed around your yard and the food served buffet style, or you can have a fancier event with table settings and servers. Just make sure that you provide plenty of napkins, plates, and forks.
As this blog suggests, you need something for your party guests to do while you are cooking the food (if you are having a barbecue) or after they are finished eating. Since it is summer time, you can plan plenty of water activities such as a backyard pool, a slip n’ slide, a water balloon toss (and then a water balloon fight), or an inflatable water slide. If you don’t want to get wet, you can break out lawn games such as croquet, bocce ball, badminton, cornhole, etc. If you’re going to have a bunch of kids over you can rent a bounce house to entertain them for hours.
Plan Your Backyard
It may be a wise idea to quickly clean up your backyard before you host your party. If you have an unfinished landscaping party, try to get it done before you invite everyone over. If you have a garden or flower beds, make sure that they are weeded and tidy so that your backyard looks its best. And of course, if you have a dog that runs around your yard, make sure that you pick up any presents your pet left behind.
Plan For Inclement Weather
Make sure that you have a backup plan in case you are rained out. Do you have the space to bring the party inside or will you just have to cancel it? Regularly check the weather so that you know what to expect on the day of the party, and wait to purchase perishable foods such as fruit and veggie trays until the day before in case you do have to cancel.