Planning an outdoor soiree for the holidays? What fun. Here are a few tips to make the most of your space and ensure a good time is had by all.
- Make sure your guests know that Party Central will be outdoors, so they can dress appropriately. Consider having a back-up supply of warm jackets or shawls.
- Provide plenty of light. Nothing is prettier than strings of lights and lanterns from a decorative standpoint, and you want to set a particular mood. But you also want to be sure guests can see where they’re going in the late afternoon and evening.
- Dress it up. You may have holiday decorations out front and throughout your house, but be sure to give your party space the holiday treatment, too. You probably won’t have to lift a finger to “fix up” your artificial grass lawn – it’s always ready to party. And when the celebration’s over, it will look as fresh and becoming as ever.
- Plan for enough seating. Even at an “open house,” some folks will want to sit to relax or chat. Tables are a must no matter what, as people need places to set glasses and plates. Anything sturdy with a flat surface will work fine outdoors. Or consider setting up your summer tables and umbrellas, then edge the umbrellas with lights or lightweight garland.
- Consider having multiple food and beverage stations if you’ll have lots of guests for a reception style party. Fox example, you could separate booze, beer, wine, and your hot cocoa. Each of them needs a different type of set-up, and if you have limited space, smaller set-ups are easier to tuck in here and there. Multiple stations are also more convenient for guests. If you have enough space, place each station under a small canopy with a festive sign so guests can easily find them.
- Set the tone with music. Holiday tunes are certainly appropriate, but instrumentals are a better choice to add atmosphere without interfering with conversation.
- Keep the screen on your fire pit. We tend to think more about fire in the summer, but as dry as our state now is, that threat exists for us all year round. Besides, you want to keep sparks off your artificial grass. (It won’t flame up, but it might melt a little spot.)
- Plan a guest-conscious menu. Consider the age range, and ask about allergies or other dietary concerns. Make little ID cards for dishes on your buffet table, if guests can’t easily tell what’s in them. And, even though your Mom may not attend, do include some healthy alternatives along with comfort foods and holiday sweets.
- Do as much as you can ahead of time, especially if you’re expecting a big turnout? Prep work can be tedious and time-consuming or it can be a pre-party in itself. Invite some friends over, open the wine, set out the cookies (or some carrot sticks), and get busy making decorations and pre-paring the food you’ll be serving.
Alternatively, invite a few friends to come a little early to help set up. Hosting on your own? Ask a good friend or two to take charge of specific tasks such as pouring wine or helping greet arriving guests.
- Give the guest bathroom a once-over right before people arrive. The action might be outside, but sooner or later guests will want to use the facilities.
The best thing about preparing as much as you can in advance? You can actually circulate and enjoy your own party. Salud!