One of the greatest pleasures of summer is enjoying the great outdoors, and having an outdoor party is one of the best ways to do this. You might be thinking of a barbecue with a few friends on the back patio, or a big event for the entire neighborhood, but in all cases some careful upfront planning is needed to make your party a huge success.
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First of all, you need to think about how you can make your party a relaxed and comfortable event. To do this, take a lesson from indoors. Make sure there is plenty of comfortable seating where your guests can chill out, eat and talk, and make it inviting by adding things like throw cushions.
Also make sure that there is enough lighting for when it gets dark, but remember that there is no need for bright lights – as long as there is enough light for people to see, their eyes will adjust. Colored outdoor lights are perfect – not only do they provide the right level of illumination, the colors really help to set the mood as the evening sets in.
If you are having a really large party – for example, a get-together for 100 or more people at the local park – then you also need to get the logistics right and plan for contingencies. For example, what would happen if it rained? People can’t just run back into your house – and if they head off to their own houses then the party is over. Instead, think about party tent rental. This will provide cover for your guests if there is a downpour, and also gives them somewhere cool to go if the sun gets too bright. You also need to think about providing restroom facilities – and easy access to these if you have anyone coming who is disabled.
Large family-oriented events are a great opportunity for parents to get to know each other better, but this can be difficult with the kids in tow. At the same time, you want the children to enjoy the party as much as the adults do. So, think about setting up a supervised area where children can play together, and even considering hiring a children’s entertainer such as a clown or magician. The kids will really enjoy themselves, and the adults will get a little me time as well.
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Catering is also a consideration. If you are having a potluck, then try to get everyone to agree in advance exactly what they are going to bring. This way, you won’t end up with 50 bowls of macaroni salad and nothing else. At the same time, think about people who have special dietary needs. For example, up to 13% of people say they have food allergies, with peanuts, milk, eggs, fish and shellfish being among the worst offenders. Also make sure that you cater for people who are vegetarian or vegan – you want them to enjoy the party just as much as everyone else.