Outdoor patio parties are all the rage during the warmer months of the year, but there’s some tricks involved to planning them properly. When the first hint of Spring appears there’s an undeniable drive to get outside and enjoy the beautiful fresh air that only intensifies with summer’s arrival.
These warmer seasons are a perfect opportunity to get out of the house by taking your dinners and parties outside on the patio. If you’ve never hosted a patio party before and are wondering what you can do to make your first one a huge success, you’ve come to the right place.
We love patio parties and have put together a series of tips that will help you make the most of your debut party. While you could wait for a major holiday like the 4th of July to come around before you host your party, we encourage you to get out and enjoy a party with your friends and family anytime you get the chance. After all, if you have a beautiful patio what’s the point in not using it?
Table of Contents
- 1. Comfortable Seating
- 2. Disposable Plates and More
- 3. Creatively Mix-and-Match Place Settings
- 4. Simple Menus
- 5. Don’t Fear The Weather
- 6. Match Your Menu To The Weather
- 7. Create an Outdoor Space
- 8. Spread Out The Vittles
- 9. Cold Food Ice Trays
- 10. Decorate With What’s Available
- 11. Set The Right Mood
- 12. Defend Against Bugs
- 13. Stick to Flameless Lighting
- 14. Bring Out The Fire Pit
- 15. Patio Lights For Party
- 16. Plan Enough Seating
1. Comfortable Seating
The first challenge you’re going to face when preparing for your patio party is making sure there’s comfortable seating available. You want people to be able to lounge and relax at your event, so make sure you invest in cushions, wide chairs with arms, and maybe even a hammock or three to keep people lounging and relaxed during the event. Make sure you select the material for your cushions carefully, however.
You want them to be mildew resistant and durable enough to stand up to being out in the weather if you want to leave them outside.
On the other hand, you could bring them back to the house when the event is over in anticipation of next time.
2. Disposable Plates and More
Who wants to do dishes after a big party is over? No one, that’s who. When you’re preparing your guest list, think carefully about what form of disposable goods you can use to make cleanup a breeze.
Start with the stand-by that is disposable plates and glasses, and then start getting creative. Get a disposable tablecloth and encourage your guests to use it as a napkin to reduce the amount of waste involved. Put disposable shoe covers by the door, so they can avoid tracking the outdoors in without having to take their shoes off every time. Want to combine consumable with disposable? There are edible plates, silverware, and even shot glasses, you can buy online that just go down the gullet of the diner so there’s no cleanup!
3. Creatively Mix-and-Match Place Settings
When you’re hosting a patio party, remember that you’re having an outdoor event, not a ritzy gala. A mixture of various styles of decoration will help really bring that idea home.
Have some old plates that don’t match anything you’re using anymore? Get them outside to serve off of. Have a host of different sizes and styles of glasses? Why not take them out so people can use them. This kind of decorating will help give your patio party the rustic feel that makes it a slice of Americana.
4. Simple Menus
Patio parties aren’t intended to have big fancy dishes associated with them, instead, they’re meant to be rustic backyard affairs where everyone eats their favorite comfort foods.
Potato salad, hamburgers, hot dogs, fried chicken, anything you can easily make on a grill or serve in a casserole dish is a great idea. Sides should include potato chips, pretzels, veggie and meat trays, things that are easy to set up and clean up after. These little touches will keep people chatting and eating the whole time.
5. Don’t Fear The Weather
One thing that some people worry about when planning a patio party is what to do when the weather takes a sudden nasty turn.
Make sure you check out the weather forecast for the day and then plan for rain anyway. A good way to do this is having patio umbrellas set up outside to cover the seating and eating areas on your patio. That way, you have shade from the sun and protection if it rains.
Rain during a patio party can be really relaxing to the right group of people, just bundle up under the umbrellas, serve warm drinks, and talk while the rain falls.
In winter, using patio heaters can make the party more fun.
6. Match Your Menu To The Weather
While we’re talking about weather this is a good time to chime in about your menu choices. We’ve already covered the fact that your menu should be relatively simple.
In addition, it should be themed to the weather, and easy to change if the weather changes. In addition to hot drinks during a rainstorm, you can also serve bowls of soup with a thick hearty bread to chase away the chill. If it’s hot out you’re going to want to focus on a largely cool menu that includes salads, iced drinks, and cooling desserts like ices, sherbet, and sorbets.
Little touches like this can make your event something that people will treasure and look forward to in the following years.
7. Create an Outdoor Space
While your patio is already a wonderful place to host parties, with a little bit of thought, you can turn it into a wonderful outdoor space with some clever decorating. The aforementioned umbrellas are a good way to isolate it from the rest of your yard, but you can also create a faux boundary using hanging lights, netting, and other touches.
Creating a sense of a separated space will make your deck even more impressive to your guests. While you’re at it you should settle on a theme for space you’re creating, so start getting creative! Hawaiian themes always benefit from Tiki styled decorations, while paper lanterns can add Asian air to the proceedings.
8. Spread Out The Vittles
One of the trickiest things to manage during any party is how to keep your guests interacting, and this tip is a great way to do that! All you need to do is set up the food in different areas around your patio. Have a drink station at one end, the burger bar in the middle, and the snack bar at the far end, for instance. This will ensure that people are moving around and creating opportunities for conversation and social encounters during their stay.
Conversation is an important part of any social event, so encouraging it will only make your party shine brighter in the memories of your guests.
9. Cold Food Ice Trays
Temperature control is an important part of food safety and enjoyment, especially when the weather outside is hot. Consider using metal bowls to serve your food out of so you can create a cooling tray that’s full of ice.
Metal conducts temperature very well, so this will ensure that the food in the metal bowls stays delightfully chilled. This is a good idea for punch bowls as well, since it will keep them from becoming watered down as can happen when you put ice directly in the punch.
Fruit also does well with this form of cooling, especially watermelon. There’s little that’s as refreshing as a cool piece of fruit on a hot summer day.
10. Decorate With What’s Available
One decoration technique you can use to help tie your patio together with your property is using materials that are available on your land.
Take flowers from your garden, boughs from trees that are nearby, even tall grasses can be used in decorating your patio in preparation for the party. If you have edible flowers on your property, you can use these as part of your patio party decorations as well by serving them up on your salads or on top of sweet treats. Using the elements available in your environment to decorate the patio will serve to connect your outdoor patio party with its surroundings. This step can really help beautify a place and make an impact on your guests.
11. Set The Right Mood
Setting the right mood for your outdoor patio party can go a long way towards helping it be successful.
Start with selecting the right kind of music for your party, and set up speakers around the patio at places where it will be able to be easily heard without overpowering any conversations that are happening.
12. Defend Against Bugs
For all the guests you invite your outdoor patio party there’s sure to be a host of unwelcome guests that come along as well.
While onerous humans could be counted among this number, we’re talking about biting bugs and other insects that may make the event unpleasant or get into your food.
Using an upside-down colander is a good way to keep bugs off of your food while it’s waiting to be served. It will also serve to help keep the food warm while making sure that condensation doesn’t form as excess steam escapes through the holes.
Citronella candles, mosquito wicks, bug zappers, and other tools should all be included in your outdoor patio party preparations to make sure that it isn’t dampened by unwanted bites.
13. Stick to Flameless Lighting
This is primarily a safety issue, but it can also be one of convenience on windy days.
Flameless lights are available that bear a striking resemblance to candles and other natural flame sources. These devices will add their gentle glow to the event without causing any kind of fire hazard to result. You can get electric or even solar-powered lights that will keep the ambiance of the event for just a few dollars each on the inexpensive side of things.
More expensive options are available that will provide more light, be more visually attractive, or otherwise help prevent fire issues. Another option that may fit the theme of your event is chemical lights. Glow sticks can shed a surprising amount of light if there’s enough of them gathered together, and can give your patio an otherworldly and playful feel!
14. Bring Out The Fire Pit
There’s nothing quite like the crackle of an open flame to help gather a group together after the sun goes down. While flameless lighting is a good way to go for your outdoor patio party, a fire pit with a screen to protect against sparks can really tie the night together.
Make sure that you have enough firewood stockpiled and keep children and animals away from the fire pit unless supervised by their owners. When you used a raised fire pit with a screen there’s no risk of your patio catching fire, but you should still be careful to keep an eye on it for safety’s sake.
15. Patio Lights For Party
Lighting is another important part of setting the mood and how you’re going to use your patio party decorations to illuminate the space will make a difference.
Fairy lights are a good option when they’re available and the theme permits, but you may also want to consider candles, tiki torches, or even just a simple porch light to help set the right mood for the event.
16. Plan Enough Seating
The last thing you need to think about when planning your outdoor patio party is making sure you have enough seating for everyone who’s going to arrive.
Patios can come with built-in benches, but you’re also going to want to be certain you have a supply of lawn chairs, cushioned seating, ottoman and other places that your guests can rest their weary legs.
No one likes eating while they’re standing, and your guests comfort is your responsibility, so make sure you give them the best possible experience when they come to your outdoor patio party.
These are just some of the tips that can help turn a simple outdoor patio party into an incredible experience that your guests will be talking about for years to come. Careful planning, the right patio party decorations, and a great selection of food are sure to keep them coming back. Patio parties are a great way to bring families and friends together throughout the warmer months, so start planning yours today!
After being an architect for 20 years and seeing countless patios come to life, I decided to share my knowledge on OkPatio.com . I write reviews and buying guides on this site so that you can build and decorate your dream patio with ease. I have experience with everything from outdoor lighting to exquisite gazebos. Read more