Work with the Weather
You may not be able to beat Mother Nature, but you can join her if you plan wisely. Make sure there are shady spots to beat the heat, supply sweatshirts if there’s a surprise chill in the air, and have backup party space ready inside if the elements don't cooperate.
Stock Your Space
It's no fun jogging in and out of the house for supplies (and no one wants a sweaty host). Move essentials—plates, glasses, ice, napkins, utensils, and trash and recycling bins—to the prime party area.
Two Words: Room Temperature
Outdoor parties mean drive-by dining: Guests nibble, chat and return to the food the whole time. Selecting food that won't spoil and still tastes (and looks) good after sitting in the sun can mean the difference between a blast and a flop.
Battle the Bugs
Pests are never on the invite list. For maximum bug protection, light a few citronella candles—but keep them away from the food. No one wants to eat a burger that smells like bug repellent.
Bring on the Bevs
Both libations and nonalcoholic options are key for thirsty outdoor guests. To keep the party pumping, make sure you've got more than enough drinks—think three per person over a two-hour party. But no matter what you serve, make sure there's ample agua. Heatstroke is not a good party favor.
Hide the Breakables
Hey, here’s a way to ruin your fun: Spend all night worrying about the safety of your favorite stemware and serving platters. Put away the coveted casserole dishes and carafes and use less expensive pieces instead.
Not everyone remembers to lather up before an outdoor party. If your event is midday, provide a few bottles of SPF. Leave sunscreen in prime spots outside, as well as in the bathroom.
Create Indoor-Quality Comfort
Outdoor events are casual, but that doesn't mean everyone should be expected to stand. Scatter blankets and pillows from the family room—and even beach towels and lawn chairs—if you don't have enough table seating.
From Everyday with Rachael Ray
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