15 Outdoor Entertaining Essentials for Your Spring Party

Make it easy to throw a party.

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Warm weather means open windows, longer days and lots of outdoor entertaining opportunities with friends and family. But before you pull out your tank tops and fine-tune your lemonade recipe, I want to make sure you have everything you need. I’ve rounded up some of my favorite spring entertaining essentials so you can make sure that you and all of your guests are ready to soak up the sunshine.

1: Outdoor Speaker

Photo by: JBL

JBL

One of the easiest ways to instantly create a party atmosphere is with a portable outdoor speaker. This JBL Charge 3 bluetooth speaker is actually waterproof and could even survive being submerged in water. It comes in a variety of colors and can be easily synced up with your phone to play your favorite music.

$130, jbl.com

2: Portable Grill

Photo by: Macy's

Macy's

This portable barbecue is a great choice for a smaller backyard or for a family that likes to cook their food on the go. This grill easily folds up so you can grab it and go. You can easily fit eight hot dogs, hamburgers or pieces of fish on the grill grate at one time. (You definitely won’t have any trouble feeding a big group with this little lady!)

$82, macys.com

3: Melamine Plates

Photo by: Target

Target

For outdoor family gatherings, you’ll definitely want a set of durable plates. These pretty, patterned melamine plates are virtually indestructible. And best of all, you can toss them in the dishwasher after everyone leaves.

$15 (set of 4), target.com

4: Canopy Umbrella

Photo by: World Market

World Market

A large canopy umbrella will help protect you from the sun and offer a shady spot for the kids. It’s also great to have an umbrella over your table for mid-day outdoor meals.

5: Globe String Lights

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

If you like to entertain outside at night, string lights like these can really beautify your space. Depending on how much space you have, you might need several strands, so try to figure out the best spots for stringing them up in your yard or on your deck.

$24, amazon.com

6: Barbecue Skewers

Photo by: Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel

For barbecue lovers, these non-stick skewers are spring party must-haves. You can use these skewers for veggies, shrimp, chicken, pork or even marshmallows for s'mores. With 12 skewers, you’ll have plenty to go around at dinner or lunchtime.

$10 (set of 12), crateandbarrel.com

7: Highball Glasses

Photo by: World Market

World Market

Along with plates, a great set of oudoor-friendly glasses is another must-have for a hostess. These stylish acrylic glasses look like they could be from a vintage set. They're incredibly durable and can even be stored outside if you're short on space inside.

$16 (set of 4), worldmarket.com

8: Wooden Yard Dice Game

Photo by: Crate and Barrel

Crate and Barrel

These jumbo wooden dice are the perfect size to roll around in your backyard and are perfect for kids and adults alike. The set comes with instructions fo four different dice games, so you can keep the party going for hours on end.

9: Outdoor Area Rug

Photo by: All Modern

All Modern

An outdoor area rug is a great way to make a deck or patio feel cozier. This rug is made with polypropylene fibers, so it’s super durable and can even get wet. This neutral color palette and design would look great with bold throw pillows or under an outdoor dining table.

10: Floor Pillow

Photo by: Serena & Lily

Serena & Lily

Comfy floor pillows like these can immediately create additional seating in your outdoor space. There’s a handle on the side, which means they’re easy to move around. And they’re also covered in weatherproof fabric, so they're a great choice for your deck, patio and more.

11: Teak Outdoor Furniture

Photo by: Amazon.com

Amazon.com

If you need extra seating around your outdoor table or in the backyard, these classic teak chairs would be the perfect choice. The material makes them mold and mildew resistant. Plus, they can easily fold up in case you need to store them out of the way when they’re not in use.

$130 (set of 2 chairs), amazon.com

12: Cast-Iron Fire Pit

Photo by: Hayneedle

Hayneedle

A fire pit is such a fun addition to an outdoor space if you like to throw gatherings at night. This cast-iron bowl doesn’t take up much space, and it adds a cool, modern vibe.

13: Large Lantern

Photo by: Pier 1 Imports

Pier 1 Imports

In addition to string lights, these outdoor lanterns are a great way to bring a bit more ambience and warmth to your outdoor space. These metal lanterns come in a variety of sizes and can safely hold your lit candles.

$30, pier1.com

14: Rolling Cooler

Photo by: CB2

CB2

This rolling cooler has old-school style with modern-day functionality. Wheels allow it to move around the backyard or deck with ease. Plus, it can hold up to 80 quarts of your favorite bevvies. Bonus: It has a built-in bottle opener!

$269, cb2.com

15: Hanging Basket

Photo by: Terrain

Terrain

These modern planters would, of course, work great for plants if you want to dress up your deck, but you can also use them for a party. Hang them from tree branches or around your outdoor space, and fill up the baskets with party essentials like napkins, bags of chips or kids' toys.

$38-$198, shopterrain.com

Host a Casual Outdoor Lunch

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Greet your guests on the patio with a bright, citrus-toned spring lunch filled with light fare and refreshing drinks.

Afternoon Porch Party

For a fresh take on spring entertaining, forget traditional pastels. A playful mix of tangerine, hot pink and trendy textiles create an edgy backdrop for this alfresco soiree.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Layers of Privacy

When entertaining outside in close proximity to other homes, privacy is king. You may not notice right away, but these freestanding planters help add seclusion to the entertaining space. Weighted down by cement-filled buckets inset with wooden planks, the planters are also affixed with galvanized metal pipes to create curtain rods for hanging outdoor drapes. To help camouflage the lumber, the planks are painted the same color as the deck and topped with low-maintenance plants.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Delineate the Space

Create a visual separation between the outdoor living and dining spaces with indoor-outdoor area rugs. Stick with similar styles in the same color palette to keep the overall look cohesive but not matchy-matchy.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Handmade Tablecloth

Can't find a tablecloth in the exact size and color scheme you want? Make your own! All you need is a drop cloth and water-based paint to get the look. Make this watercolor tablecloth >>

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Extra Layers

Springtime weather can be unpredictable. For guests who optimistically dress light, offer warm, color-coordinated throws draped over dining chairs just in case a breeze sets in.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Bold Centerpiece

Since spring is all about fresh flowers, it's the perfect time of year to experiment with DIY centerpieces. This mixture is packed with cut flowers, greenery and branches from blooming trees. When mixing different species, such as tulips, roses, dianthus and forsythia, stick with a solid color scheme to prevent the overall look from becoming busy.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Color and Texture

A layered effect of color and texture always does the trick on a spring tablescape. For a well-layered look, the watercolor tablecloth is accented with seagrass chargers and a mix of plates in white, gold, pastel blue and spring green. The cloth napkins tie the varied textures and hues together.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Formal Flatware

Keep the overall fare and decor casual and fun, but add a small touch of formality by using more elegant flatware in gold or silver tones.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Finger Foods

It's difficult to know if your guests are going to prefer standing or sitting once they arrive to your gathering. Take the pressure off and guarantee care-free dining by serving simple finger foods. Should guests decide to take a seat, these can easily be passed around the table. But if everyone opts to mingle around the patio, the food is lightweight and easy to hold during conversation.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Light Spring Salad

Keep food light and easy for you and your guests by serving a family-style spring salad. Keep food allergies and dietary needs in mind by adding protein either on top of the salad or on the side. To accommodate varied tastes, put dressing options in small serving containers.

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

Light Drinks

Springtime drinks are best characterized as light and cold. Iced tea, lemonade and strawberry drinks cater to guests of all ages. Give classic iced tea a twist by adding a dash of strawberry or watermelon juice, then garnish with a lemon wheel. Try this melon spritzer recipe >>

Photo By: Flynnside Out Productions

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