Planning is key to throwing a great party. It doesn’t matter if you’re planning an indoor or outdoor party, it’ll go off without a hitch as long you plan carefully.
Pick a theme
A great summer theme can turn the most boring soiree into an evening of fun and adventure. It can also help with the planning process because the theme will serve as an inspiration for decor, food and much more. If your party is going to be outside, consider a beach theme or a garden party. If it’s going to be indoors, consider a BBQ or western theme. The possibilities for a theme are nearly endless, so choose something that sounds like fun and matches your space.
Get the invites out
Get your invitations in the mail at least three weeks before your party. You want to give your guests plenty of notice so they’ll all be able to attend. If your party will be outdoors, make sure to note it in the invites so your guests can dress accordingly.
Cook ahead of time
You don’t want to be holed up in the kitchen and miss the party! Serve foods that can be made ahead of time — either the morning of your party, the day before or even weeks ahead of time and frozen. If your party is outside, make sure to take extra steps to keep cold food cold.
Avoid long lines
No matter if you’re inside or outside, no one wants to wait in a long line for food and drinks. Avoid bottleneck issues by spreading out the food stations.
Make everything look good
The presentation of your food and drinks has a lot to do with your guests’ impression of your hostess skills. Don’t serve anything in store packaging. Move dips, dressing, condiments and chips to bowls and move deli sandwiches, fruits and veggies to nice trays. Make sure every dish has a spoon or other serving wares.
Make everyone comfortable
As a hostess, you want your guests to be comfortable. If you’re having a party outside, set up a few oscillating fans and maybe even a misting area to keep everyone cool. Provide plenty of shaded areas as well so everyone doesn’t have to stand in the sun. If your party is indoors, keep doors and windows open to keep the place from getting stuffy and keep an eye out for guests who are too hot or too cold.
Make sure there’s music
It’s not a party without the tunes! If your party is inside, it should be easy to flick on your stereo. If it’s outside, you may have to work a little harder for your music. Either way, consider setting up a stereo equipped with an iPod dock so all of your guests can take turns sharing their favorite tunes.
Be prepared for kids
If you’re allowing kids at your party, be prepared to keep them happy. Provide kid-friendly foods and drinks. If your party is inside, keep them busy with crayons and board games. If it’s outside, they’ll have a little more room to run and for some more energetic activities.
Weather is unpredictable. Never plan an outside party without an inside backup plan.