Throwing a party can get a little crazy. There’s the invitations, menu, guest list, seating, dishware, cutlery, music; the list goes on and on. Does the party need to have a theme or can it be casual? How many people have RSVP’d? Will an uninvited “guest” make an appearance? Will you have enough food to feed everyone? Does the prep work ever end?
Now you might be asking yourself if it’s even worth it to throw a party. Who needs the stress, right? A party doesn’t have to be planned to the very last detail. Your guests should feel relaxed at the party, not like they’re on a tight schedule. A host that can’t let the little things go is probably the party pooper of the friend group, is that who you want to be?
Party Smart, Not Hard
A party is a gathering of friends and loved ones to enjoy and revel in one another’s company. It’s about the experience, not the theme of the evening. No one is going to care if your mason jar centerpiece tipped over, what they’re going to care about is you. If the host seems stressed or overburdened, the guests will feel like an inconvenience, and the party will soon fizzle out. You’ll be saying goodbye to your last guest before the dessert’s been served. There are only four things to make sure to get right at the party: the food, the booze, the lighting and the games.
Since you’re throwing an outdoor party, you’re going to be tempted to serve hot dogs and burgers. While this can (and probably should) be an option, you’re going to want to mix up the menu, especially for your vegetarian and vegan friends. HGTV suggests going with finger foods so you that your guests can get a sampling of each menu item and still fill up their plates. Scrumptious finger foods, dips and chips that are sure to be a hit at the party can be:
- Avocado french fries
- Bite-size burgers
- Sourdough bread
- Fruit salad
- Deviled eggs
- Bacon-wrapped peppers
- Potato salad
- Grilled asparagus
- Spinach dip
- Shrimp skewers
- Roasted mushrooms
- And a personal favorite, Melon, mozzarella and prosciutto skewers
Really, this list can continue for pages. The main take away you should be getting here is to have a representative from the five food groups: meat, dairy, fish, vegetable and fruit. You don’t want any of your guests to go hungry, so make sure you know their dietary restrictions in advance.
What’s a good party without good booze? Is there anything as good as listening to good music, sipping a strawberry margarita and watching the sun go down with your friends? It’s these kinds of experiences that just make the day-to-day grind worth it. To help your friends create some lasting memories (if they don’t party too hard, of course!) make sure your bar is stocked. Just don’t forget to provide some delicious beverages for the non-alcohol drinker too—to have water as the only option is pretty boring.
What kind of alcohol is best for an outdoor get-together? The Huffington Post suggests serving sangria, whiskey sours, Bloody Marys, and mojitos. You can go fruity, bold or shoot straight from the hip with any of these options.
You’ll want to create a party space full of energy and good vibes, but you’ll also want it to be safe. Nothing ruins a party faster than when a guest falls on his way to the bathroom because he didn’t see the protruding stone step leading up to the glass door. This is why you’ll want to make sure your outdoor lighting is both festive and well balanced throughout the space. For the garden walkway, use the ORCHOS Garden Torch to light the path. For the food table, use twinkle lights, and for the patio, be sure to use your covered porch and ceiling lights to create an ethereal effect. Every host worth their salt knows good lighting means layered lighting.
Throwing a party is only as complicated as you make it. Remember, it’s about the fun, not the planning panic.