15 Party-Planning Tips to Throw Your Best Summer Fiesta
Make your next party one your guests will be talking about the whole summer. These planning tips make it so easy, you’ll be freed up to join in the fun!
Pick a theme
Have you always wanted to host a barbecue?Assigning a theme to the occasion sets the tone and the mood. For example, you can make it a Western party. Stage a cookout complete with Texas barbecue, bandana napkins, and country music. Or make it a spaghetti western party with a Sergio Leone video in the background. Serve pasta with red sauce, breadsticks, and Chianti on a colorful checkered tablecloth.
Choose a unique location
An outdoor site provides the best party atmosphere, but sometimes you want to take a traditional backyard party to the next level. A public park can be a welcome change as a stage for celebrating a birthday, an anniversary, or a personal triumph. Kids and grownups alike will love a graduation party at the zoo. Feeling ambitious? Throw a romantic party on the water aboard a yacht or sailboat.
Weather-proof your party
Outdoor events require a little creative planning when it comes to protecting yourself from the weather. Erect a tent or a temporary overhang to foil unexpected showers. Set up colorful market umbrellas for shade on a hot, sunny day. And if your party rages into the night, you’ll need lights. Candles, hurricane lamps, or tiki torches all fit the bill smartly. For rustic or out-of-the-way locations, rent portable toilets, and bring food, camp chairs, and blankets for sitting on.
Address safety issues
Safety should always be a concern, especially in summer. Make sure you or one of your guests knows basic first aid (as everyone should). Keep plenty of water and ice on hand so everyone stays hydrated, especially kids and pets. Stick with plastic or metal dishes and glassware for the sake of those walking around barefoot.
Craft enticing invites
A handcrafted invitation makes guests feel as though the fun has already started, and writing them yourself does wonders for your brain. Use the invitation to introduce the theme. If you’re having a garden party, glue dried flowers onto handwritten invitations or preprinted cards. For a backyard luau or other tropical-theme event, use oversized price tags and tie the tags to a pair of children’s inexpensive sunglasses. For a pool party, write invites on fun items you can mail, like kids’ floaties.
Choose summery decor
Whether you’re hosting a sit-down dinner in your garden or a tailgate party in a parking lot, festive decorations can transform the party without breaking your budget. They can be as simple as brightly colored tablecloths, utensils, and glassware, or more intricate DIY crafts. When in doubt, use Pinterest for inspiration.
Know the power of flowers
Still need help decorating? Call a florist. Florists’ capabilities go far beyond arranging flowers in vases. They can work with greenery and props to help you set the stage (and tables and chairs and tent) with an aesthetic that fits your theme.
Get your garden party-ready
Turning a neglected yard into a pretty space can seem like an overwhelming—and expensive—task. Enlist your family or friends to help turn your yard into a vibrant party spot without breaking your back or your bank account. The simplest solution: Give your lawn and shrubs a cut. It may not sound like much, but a trim can make a huge difference. Then set out new flowers and plants still in their nursery pots to fill in bare spots in the yard.
Hire a party rental service
Large outdoor events usually call for rented tables and chairs—even linens. If you’re hosting a large crowd, use a party rental service. For a reasonable fee, these firms can supply virtually everything you need, from china, flatware, and coffee urns to barbecue grills, table linens, and crystal beverage pitchers. Rental businesses are especially handy for obtaining things you really don’t need to own, like a portable dance floor. Many companies will set up and break down anything you rent, and launder linens as part of the rental (or for an additional fee).
Hit restaurant supply stores
Often the best party gear lurks in places other than your local stores, as long as you know when and where to look. One terrific place to shop for everything from baking pans to aprons is restaurant supply stores. There you’ll find specialized, professional-quality equipment, frequently at discount prices. A trip to a secondhand store, thrift shop, or a garage sale can be a host’s nirvana. You might find china, silver, and glassware treasures that can embellish your household long after your guests have departed. Other places you should consider: Asian shops, for woks and rice cookers, and Hispanic markets, for piñatas, festive Mexican pottery, or sturdy glasses.