How to Host an Awesome Summertime Soirée on the Patio
Summertime Soirees are the hallmarks of my favorite time of the year - Summer!. In places like the Midwest, where winter can stretch way beyond it’s 3-month limit, summer can also sometimes be the shortest season. So as soon as the temperature even teeters 50 degrees, we fire up the grill, whip up something delicious, break out the shorts, and lay out on the backyard patio. Sounds crazy, I know. But if you lived in a midwestern city, where you could easily experience a snowstorm in May, you’d understand.
If there is one drawback to summertime though it is this: multiple outdoor party invitations - often on the same day. There are backyard BBQ’s, wine tastings, family field trips, beach luncheons, outdoor movie nights and the like. I never want to offend hardworking hosts by leaving their dinner party just to catch another one. So that got me thinking. What if my readers and I could crash a bunch of parties at once - but do it virtually? Thus the #SummerPartyCrashTour was born.
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I also hope you’ve had a chance to visit the other ladies in this Summer Party Crash Tour. If not, no worries. I’ll be sure to include the full list at the end of this post. Trust me they’re all awesome and each have something I KNOW you’d love to see.
You may recall the above space from my very first participation in the One Room Challenge. Here is where I can enjoy nature, a cup of tea, a great book or bonding with friends. It’s also the perfect spot for al fresco dining.
Believe it or not, as I was photographing this space for this virtual party there was one torrential rain storm after another! Yet I was still able to create something for you that I think is special and outside of the routine backyard get-together. Here's the shortlist of a few things you might want to include in your next deck or patio party.
5 Easy Steps to an Unforgettable Outdoor Dinner Party
1. Create an Outdoor Room with Flowers and Greenery
If you live in a row of condominiums like I do, you know that creating an intimate space can be quite the challenge. My work-around is to create a semi-private "room" by using flower boxes and tall plants. Let me tell you sumthin'... being surrounded by all that greenery is simply luscious! It just feels exclusive. Seize this opportunity to pass that experience on to your guests.
By the way, some of my plantings (see below) are edible. They include thyme, peppermint, rosemary, basil and a beautiful orange flowering herb called nasturtium. They all look, smell and taste delicious! In a future post, I'll show you how I use these to create unique and easy dishes to serve my guests.
2. Add Ambience with Music and Lighting
Music. It's so easy to incorporate it that there's really no excuse not to. Simply connect a pair of wireless speakers to your iPod and hit play. Welcome your guests with upbeat hits and quiet it down during dinner with Samba and Bossa Nova tunes. Remember, this is all a part of the soirée experience too.
Lighting. Let’s face it, everyone looks good in a candlelit setting. And seeing everyone’s faces illuminated at nightfall by the glow of burning candles makes for an unforgettable occasion. In addition to the hardwired lights that are set to a timer, we like to include a few tea light candles on the table, as well as dimly lit overhead lights. I scored these gorgeous silver Moroccan lamps at HomeGoods. You can view a similar style here. They're perfect for housing solar lights or even real candles.
3. Have a Variety of Chilled Drinks On Hand
I LOVE entertaining, but I don't like running back and forth to the kitchen to refill drinks during a sit-down dinner. The solution? Keep a bar cart or small tub stocked with a variety of drinks on ice at the end of the table. It's accessible and looks rather attractive.
4. Set an Inviting Table Setting
To be clear, the majority of my backyard parties are super informal. But regular readers of J'adore le Décor know that for my cherished friends and family, I like to roll out the red carpet. Does that mean that things have to be complicated, expensive, or brand new? Absolutely not.
The restaurant quality tablecloths used in this tablescape were given to me free by a company that was downsizing. As you can imagine, they come in very handy for outdoor parties. Also, the green water glasses (qty 6) were thrifted for a steal at 40 cents each. The floral "runner" is actually a scarf and was also thrifted for a dollar. Finally, I picked up some floral arrangements from my local grocery store for $4.87, and shopped my home for everything else. If you're counting, that puts me at $13 bucks and some change. I'm totally diggin' that.
5. Add an Element of Surprise
Ahhh... my favorite part of party planning. I've been collecting these pineapple drinking jars, purchased from various places, for a while now. They don't all match, but I use them at the same time nonetheless. Guests are always surprised by them. To make things more interesting, I include fruit-filled Rosé ice cubes. The clear glasses show them off beautifully. In an upcoming post, I'll show you how I made these as well. Top off the ice cubes with your favorite wine or flavored tea and you're good to go.
This small attention to detail makes my guests feel extra special, which is actually my goal for every person that enters my home.
Bonus Tip: Keep the Meal Simple
I love a good BBQ. But the person manning the pit often misses out on a lot. So when I plan a sit down soirée, I try to keep the meal simple. Notice that there is just one pot on the table. Inside is a FABULOUS summer recipe that includes protein, veggies, fresh herbs and cannellini beans. It covers all the basis. In a later post I'll share the recipe with you. But for now, here's a sneak peek.
And that my friends, is just one of many ways I like entertain on my small patio during the shortest season in my neck of the woods. Next stop on this tour is The Holliday Collective, where Crystal has created a refreshing cocktail for us.
The talented ladies who have joined me on this collaboration are all exceptional mothers, daughters, sisters, wives and friends. 'm sure you would agree that they're also quite an inspiring bunch! My hope is that you will continue to follow them and their blogs long after this Party Crash has been forgotten.
It has been our pleasure to entertain you in this way. From all of us to you, a huge thank you for stopping in to "crash" our parties!
Ola - J'adore Le Decor (host) - You Are Here
One more favor may I ask of you?
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