6 Tips For Hosting An Outdoor Dinner Party This Spring
May 9, 2021
Springtime means a little extra sunlight and warmer evenings, so it’s the ideal time of year to entertain your guests outside.
And after a long, long corona-year, we're so ready for an outdoor gathering.
We asked some of our favorite Instagram planners and stylists for tips on how to host the perfect little fête this Spring.
Here are some ideas for hosting an outdoor lunch, brunch, or dinner party in your backyard this spring.
Keep it small
When you're hosting a dinner party, you're responsible for every little thing... so reducing the amount of "things" you're responsible for can make the entire evening way more enjoyable. Emily Stiling of Stiling Co, a dinner party planning company with Instagrammable taste, says to keep the party small and intimate, around 12 - 15 guests. "This helps you focus on attention to detail and makes the dinner party/picnic more personal."
Plan for success
Prep is always key to host a truly effortless and successful outdoor dinner party. Start by sending out invitations a few weeks in advance. Keep it small with just a few close friends for a more intimate evening. It also makes it much easier to plan for, especially if this is your first dinner party. Then you just need to clean inside the house, spruce up the outdoor areas, and mow the lawn a few days out. Set everything up so your guests will be entertained and comfortable.
A few things to consider in the planning phase:
- what needs to be prepped beforehand? ie permits for public spaces, gardening, cleaning, grocery shopping, meals
- which kinds of meals will be the easiest to prepare ahead of time?
- if you're cooking food the day of the event, can you both cook and chat at the same time? this is an often overlooked factor that can take a dinner party from cute to chaos in a matter of minutes
- what will be the effects of a group of people using your space? if you're a neat freak or have weak plumbing, consider these things as you invite groups of people over to your home
Emily Stiling | Stiling Co
Always try to pack as light as possible! Pack party equipment in wicker baskets and use for accent pieces around your dinner party / picnic.
Create a colorful vibe
Rather than having a bland backdrop for your delicious meal, create a truly springtime vibe all around your outdoor space. Use some colorful spring decorations which match the hues of the season like blues, yellows, violets, and pastels, with accents in deeper shades of blues, reds, and of course greens. Put these on a neutral white or beige tablecloth to make them really pop against the background.
Stiling Co likes to add a pop of color via throw pillows and ornate drinking glasses.
You could do the same by adding cloth napkins in a bright color paired with a metallic napkin ring. If you're not trying to buy new table decor just for your backyard dinner party, then some pretty seasonal fresh flowers or a few handfuls of colorful wildflowers will add a little life to your tablespace.
Take indoor furniture outside
Just because you're entertaining outside doesn't mean that you need to use a folding table and plastic chair. Bring some of your indoor dining furniture out to the backyard instead.
Emily Stiling of Stiling Co uses this trick to set an intimate mood for outdoor dinner parties.
You can also use some old barn doors if you can find them. Not only will they make spacious farmhouse style tables for people to surround together, but they’re also great because they’ll make your spring dinner party seem intentionally thought-out and authentic.
Choose the right menu
Choosing the perfect dish or the best wine to pair with your food is honestly too stressful to try to do for an outdoor gathering.
Instead, choose options that can be made ahead of time so that you're able to enjoy your backyard party instead of slaving away in the kitchen.
Charcuterie boards work perfectly for an appetizer, so guests can munch on bite sized snacks leading up to the main course. For dinner, opt for a simple recipe like pasta salad, roasted pumpkin with sea salt, or easy one pot meals. For dessert, serve fruit drizzled with honey or some popsicles made ahead.
Ask guests about any dietary requirements in advance, but don’t try to make something different for everyone. Keep the menu light and simple with tapas or other finger foods. Remember that a dinner party isn’t the best time to try cooking multiple main dishes at once.
If you want to really wow your guests with the food and still have enough to actually enjoy spending time together, you should hire a private chef. Simply choose a menu and the number of guests, and a private chef will arrive with all the ingredients, cook everything, serve it up, and even clean up afterwards. From tasty appetizers and light snacks to multiple main courses, you choose the right menu for you.
Emily Stiling | Stiling Co
Bamboo biodegradable plates and utensils is the way to go! They are aesthetically pleasing and make for an easy clean up!
Mix and match tableware
You don’t have to bring out your best china or other fancy plates to create a great tablespace outside. Instead, try adding something a little different with some mix and match tableware. This is especially practical if you have a large group of guests because not many people have enough matching sets of plates anyway.
Mix and match a few different styles of simple yet elegant disposable plates, cups, and stemless wine glasses, and then balance the simplicity with some ornately engraved vintage silverware. Finally, neutralize the formal cutlery with some light colored linen napkins for a bit of a casual vibe.
Lights make the mood
When you begin a dinner party in the afternoon, the sun will most likely end up setting well before you’re all ready to finish. So instead of ending the evening just because it starts getting dark, add some lighting to set the mood to your spring dinner. Create the perfect warm glow with a fire pit to light your dinner after the sun goes down or hang up some cute string lights to light your outdoor gathering.
Add to that ambience by sprinkling a few candles or some tea lights around the table. You can also hang some fairy lights or solar lanterns around the area, and don’t forget some citronella torches if insects are a problem where you live.
Spring has sprung so it’s time to get back outside again. And what better way to take advantage of the lovely springtime weather than inviting some friends round for an outdoor dinner party. Simply by following these tips above, you can make sure that your little outdoor soiree goes off without a hitch. And remember that hosting a dinner is supposed to be fun… so enjoy it. Bon Appetit.
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