August is here and Room to Breathe is squelching any excuse you’ve made to put off entertaining guests at your own backyard affair. In case you’re already everyone’s favorite party event planner, tuck this list away for your next get together in the fresh air.
Party invitation – Consider including dining time, what to bring, what to wear and what will happen in case of rain. Give your guests an idea of the vibe (musical instruments and children welcome?) so they can come prepared. Notify the neighbours – Invite them to join you or give them notice of any potential noise, crowd or parking concern. Table(s) and chairs – Prepare with enough seating. Bring dining chairs, stools and ottomans outside. Picnic blankets, cushions, tree stumps, and even a hammock make for a casual atmosphere. Renting folding chairs is a surprisingly inexpensive option. Tableware - Placemats, napkins and/or tablecloths. Plates/bowls, cutlery and drinking glasses. Mason jars are a quick way to increase capacity if that’s your style. Serving plates, bowls, utensils and trays. Lighting - Candles, torches, lamps, string lights or patio lanterns make for ambient lighting. Décor – Add a pop of summer colour with paper lanterns, place settings and outdoor cushions. Add a taste of rustic DIY or classy elegance with menu signs and fresh flowers. Music – Plan ahead with a 5 hour playlist. Choose upbeat music and consider directing speakers against the side of a house for a more even soundscape. Consider temperature – Shade hot sun with patio umbrellas, and offer handheld fans or cold compressed cloths in icy water. Have warm blankets, shawls and portable heaters on hand for cooler nights. Mosquito repellent – Remove any standing water by emptying the kiddie pool and bird bath, plug in a few fans, light citronella candles or offer guests natural and healthy fly repellent lotion. Entertain children with beach balls, bubbles and games. Bocce ball for big kids too. Take care of waste - Receptacles for compost, recycling and waste to landfill could ease post-party clean up time. Food – Whether a buffet, plated meal, tapas or potluck, create thoughtful ingredient cards for those who may have food preferences. Mesh covers are handy to protect food and beverages. Don’t forget the condiments! Drink - Cooler, ice bucket, ice, tongs, bar towel and damp cloth for cleaning up spills. Corkscrew and bottle opener. A blender if blending drinks and a power source and extension cord if needed. Water is a must-have under the hot summer sun. Recruit help – From pre or post party clean up to serving guests, you’ll always be grateful for thinking ahead and enrolling a professional, friend, family member or teen’s paid or volun-told hand.