With the chill of winter behind us, spring here in the Seattle area has felt more like summer. Temperatures have reached the low 80s, the flowers are blooming, and now is the perfect time to get outside for a party on the patio.
Whether you’re planning a family picnic, casual cocktail party, bridal shower or graduation shindig, use the following tips to make the most of your outdoor gathering.
9 Essentials for the Best Patio Party
1. Send Invites Early
Calendars fill up fast, especially during the spring and summer when folks are going on vacations, attending weddings, and planning their own get-togethers. Make sure to send out your invites with plenty of notice.
This gives you the added benefit of getting a jump start on the rest of prep. While a last-minute ‘burgers on the grill’ kind of thing can be a blast, if you’re looking for something a bit more festive, it takes time to get organized. Make sure to give yourself the time needed.
2. Clean up Your Patio
Winter can be hard on your patio. Tile can accumulate dirt. Furniture can get gunky, even if you took the precaution of covering it. Steps can become slick with mold and mildew. And, light bulbs can burn out.
Take an afternoon to give it a good spring cleaning, so that your outdoor space can be as welcoming as the inside of your home. Get our 10 tips to spring clean your patio.
3. Take Stock of Your Seating
How’s your seating situation? Take stock of how many places guests can sit. Do you have enough? Depending on the type of party you’re throwing, you may not need a seat for every guest.
For example, cocktail parties where you expect folks to mingle might not require an excess of seats. However, a dinner party definitely will. That being said, don’t be afraid to get creative with your seating options.
It may be that you can have end tables which double as stools. You might be able to have some nice foldout chairs that you keep tucked away and pull out as needed. Explore our outdoor seating collection.
4. Spruce up Your Outdoor Décor
How’s your patio looking? Giving a tired outdoor space a facelift doesn’t always require a major investment in all new furniture. Sometimes it’s as simple as adding a few throw pillows or tabletop accessories. You might also consider swapping out your umbrella awning for a new color or replacing the cushions on your sectional.
5. Don’t Forget Lighting
Do you plan on guests staying past sunset? Make sure there’s plenty of light. One of the quickest ways to get folks to go home is to turn off the lights. By lighting your patio, you encourage everyone to stay.
We’re quite partial to the Gloster LED lanterns. They charge during the day and then easily turn on at night, providing an attractive glow.
6. Plan a Simple Menu
When you’re thinking about what to serve, try and keep things simple. Look for recipes that pack a big flavor punch, without requiring tons of work. Better yet, pick recipes that can be prepped in advance. This allows you to focus on having fun too.
We love this Smoked Salmon Crostini, is it fits the bill on all accounts.
Smoked Salmon Crostini
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 TBS Dijon mustard
½ TBS grainy mustard
½ TBS finely grated lemon zest
Salt and pepper (to taste)
1 baguette, thinly sliced and toasted
1-pound smoked salmon
2 TBS dill, chopped
In a medium bowl, combine butter, mustards, lemon zest, and salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly until ingredients are evenly distributed. (Can be made up to 1 week in advance.)
Add a small smear of butter to baguette slices. Top with a small piece of smoked salmon and sprinkling of dill. Serve immediately.
7. Stock up on Drinks
Your drink menu doesn’t have to be extensive. White wine and cold beer are a simple choice, perfect for an outdoor party. But be sure to have a few non-alcoholic options too. Sparkling water and a fruit juice are often a good choice.
8. Bust out the Tunes
Music makes every party better. It can make small talk easier and help keep the mood festive. Make sure you have a fun playlist and radio on hand. (In a pinch, you can place your phone in a large bowl to amplify the sound.)
9. Have Extra Sunscreen on Hand
Make sure your guests are protected. When you have an outdoor party, it’s always a good idea to have extra sunscreen on hand. You might consider placing it on the counter in the bathroom where it’s clearly visible so guests can access it easily.
Need help finding patio furniture that’s right for you? Stop by our Seattle or Bellevue location to speak with a patio furniture specialist.