At last, the sun is out, the sky is blue, and after months of hibernation you can finally hold an outdoor get-together for neighbors, friends and family. Whether you want to celebrate Memorial Day or just enjoy the warm weather, preparing for a cookout or picnic doesn’t need to be a hassle – just use these timesaving party tips.
- Whether you’re hosting an intimate dinner party with friends or a casual barbecue with family, plan the menu a few days ahead of time and make up some dishes in advance. Staples like potato salad and homemade burgers or veggie burgers can be assembled the day before and refrigerated.
- Another way to save time and hassle is to prepare any frozen items like ice cubes or popsicles well in advance – along with any condiments, like salad dressing or gourmet mayo.
- Don’t forget to buy anything that might be hard to find on a last-minute dash to the store, like citronella candles to keep bugs at bay or charcoal for the grill. Stock up on extra paper plates, cups and Bounty napkins in case you get a few unexpected guests!
Go with Fuss-Free Décor
- It’s surprisingly easy to transform a drab outdoor space. A few planters filled with hardy annuals like pansies or petunias can add cheerful pops of color. Set candles in glass jars along walkways, on tables or along deck railings for comfortable outdoor lighting. A string of fairy lights adds a warm, cozy feel and helps illuminate a dark patio once the sun goes down.
- Don’t forget about music – a wireless speaker and your smartphone is all you need to set the right mood for your party. Put together a playlist (or find one through a streaming service) with at least three hours of music.
- Keep a few blankets handy in case the weather turns chilly later and your guests won’t leave when the sun goes down.
Serve in Style
- If your guests include kids, serve food on unbreakable paper or plastic plates to save worrying about any accidents. Wrap spoons and forks in Bounty paper napkins and place next to the food so that guests can help themselves.
- If you’re serving buffet style, lay out salads, chips and dips on the table, followed by meat or fish. This way, your guests can fill up their plates while they’re waiting for the grill, and the main dishes will stretch further.
- If you’re using the grill to prepare party food, get someone to help you with the cooking. It’s a fun thing for a guest to do and frees up time for you to socialize with your guests.
Tip: Don’t forget the after-party cleanup! Keep Dawn dish soap handy for washing up serving platters, and pop a Cascade Platinum ActionPac into the dishwasher to make dish duty a breeze. Use a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser to easily remove stuck-on food from countertops and tables.
Go on a Picnic
- If you don’t have an outdoor space large enough to throw a party at home, why not invite your friends and family to a picnic in the park? Bring a basket with you that includes plates, cutlery, plastic cups and napkins. Inside, pack easily transportable food like sandwiches, salads, dips, fruit and water. Don’t forget a large blanket, too. Eating outside should be comfortable, after all!
How do you get ready to host an outdoor party? Share with us in the comments section below.