12 Stress-Free Ideas for Your Next Outdoor Party

Whether it's a casual barbecue or a full-on dinner party with a touch of glam, you'll wow guests with these easy hosting and decorating tips.

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Photo By: Rustic White Photography

Entertaining Made Easy

Entertaining friends and family can be a lot of fun, but taking it outdoors is even better — especially when you have a few tricks up your sleeve. Keep reading for our top tips.

Stress-Free Place Settings

If you do lots of outdoor entertaining (or just have kids), you may want to stock up on non-breakable tableware. Look for plastic or wood chargers, acrylic barware and melamine dishware. Buy coordinating colors and patterns you can mix and match throughout the year.

Chic on the Cheap

You don't have to drop big bucks on fresh flowers to get that Insta-worthy centerpiece. Simple greenery (clippings from your yard will work!) strewn along a table runner can add sophistication without blocking all that sparkling dinner conversation.

Twinkly Table Lights

When it comes to lighting your outdoor soiree, don't overlook the table itself. Those short strands of tiny LEDs look beautiful when clustered together in a vase or under a cloche. They instantly give the table a magical, romantic glow without creating a lot of heat.

Light Show

When entertaining at dusk or after dark, amp up the ambience by hanging different types of string lights. Think cafe lights, traditional string lights and lanterns overhead. Curtain lights (yes, the ones packed up with all your holiday decor) are a great way to create a romantic, glam vibe without a ton of effort.

Shop This Look

VIP Seating

Set up zones where guests can kick back and relax as they mix and mingle. If you're entertaining when it's super-hot outside, be sure to provide shade, too. Bonus points for a misting fan or water feature.

Kids' Lounge

If your guests are cleared to bring their little humans to the party, create a kid zone just for them. Outfit the area with some low-slung seating and a kids'-only cooler brimming with ice-cold drinks. If you expect quite a few kiddos, have a couple of fun outdoor games on hand that everyone will enjoy.

Comfort Boost

Use indoor poufs, pillows and throws to make your outdoor seating more comfortable and inviting. Use what you have and build your outdoor party color scheme from there.

Mobile Mixology

The bar cart. It's probably the most hard-working piece of furniture the consummate entertainer will ever own. Load it up with crowd-pleasing spirits, mixers and garnishes, then roll it outdoors so guests can mix up their own cocktails. Include non-alcoholic options, as well, in pretty pitchers or dispensers.

Help Yourself

Make your next gathering a lot more enjoyable for guests, as well as yourself, by keeping it self-serve. Serve up food and drinks family-style, or keep your menu strictly apps. Wrangle utensils in pretty cups, put napkins in a cute basket and stack plates so guests can easily grab them when they get hungry.

Chill Out

Entertaining outdoors often means serving food in a warm environment, and that can be a recipe for disaster. Keep cold foods at a food-safe temperature by using dishes with a built-in ice compartment, or at the very minimum, nestle your dishes into a large bowl or deep tray of ice.

Cool Coolers

Place several coolers throughout the space so guests don't bottleneck at the bar cart. This clever pop-up version has plenty of room for chilled drinks and also doubles as a side table.

No-Fly Zone

Uninvited guests, like flies, mosquitoes and wasps, can be a huge buzzkill at an outdoor party. Keep pests off your nibbles by serving them in covered dishes or topping them with mesh screens. (You can also use an upside-down mesh colander.) If mosquitoes are a concern, remove any standing water from the area, trim overgrown shrubbery and mow the grass. If you happened to have potted herbs, like basil, lemongrass or lavender, place them around the party zone. They smell great and repel bugs!

More from:

Room by Room