Hosting An Outdoor Cocktail Party
Finally…weather we can enjoy! After hosting indoors for the last six months, this Spring weather starts giving us the bug to get our friends together and host an outdoor cocktail party. When it comes to hosting, it doesn’t matter if there are 6 people coming over or 26 there are a few easy things that you can do to get the good vibes flowing and host a fun party. Hosting outdoors can be tricky without the convenience of the kitchen nearby; plus, there is always the chance that the mosquitoes may be hungry too! So, here are a few things to help set the mood and create a perfect (stress free!) evening.
Plan Ahead – With us, food and liquor are everything. If you can get those two things right, then everything else seems to fall into place. If possible, cater. If not…it’s time to run out to Costco and round up about half dozen finger foods. Some of our favorites include: Meatballs on toothpicks, Veggies in Ranch (served up in a shot glass), Organic Tortilla Chips and Salsa (duh!), Pita and Hummus, and Samosas with Chutney are our usual go-to’s. Sonia’s favorite is a Caprese Salad, either layered or on a toothpick. Creating a bar menu can also be super cute, see how we make an authentic and memorable Sexy Sangria that you can make ahead of time.
Set the Mood – Often times, setting the tone outdoors with good lighting is key. Fireside is always a good look but if you can pair it up with these super affordable bulb lights, it’s just picture perfect. After the general ambiance has been set, set the table. On occasion we rent printed table cloths from a local party rental shop, but for the most part, over the years, we have accumulated a collection of tablecloths of our own and we share them. We don’t look too far for centerpieces and gather decor from around the house to create an eclectic and romantic atmosphere. In the spring, we cut fresh blooming sprigs from bushes around the house and stick them in vases and in the fall we utilize sticks from our trees to create a really beautiful rustic look to dress up a table. Little table accents and a quick tablecloth can take your dinner or cocktail party to another level.
Use the Fancy Dishes – Ok, ok, hear me out: for more intimate gatherings of 10 people or less, we are thrilled to have the opportunity bring out the wedding china that never gets used. BUT, for an outdoor party, these amazing faux china dishes are our go-to. Guests feel terrible throwing these away every single time. Don’t feel too bad when you use these – they are easy and disposable. And no dish washing required. Get we get an AMEN?
Don’t Forget the Music – It took us a few times to figure out what exactly was missing the first couple of times I hosted at our new house….then it dawned on us: MUSIC! With the pool in the backyard, it was hard to hear using portable speakers like the Beats Pill. They just did not seem good enough. After a little trial and error, we installed some outdoor blue tooth speakers create ambient sound even when the pool is on. It’s amazing how music can make people more fun and relaxed. Fast music makes people move quicker, talk faster and be more energetic; more instrumental music in the background creates a more laid-back environment. Pandora has entire playlists for dinner parties, our personal go to is Tropical Lounge. Figure out what you are going for and round out the party with the right music.
Check the Weather – Now this may seem obvious but having an alternate plan or a rain date are a must unless you are great on the fly — in which case, you don’t even need this post! If you are like us and love the outdoors, it can be disappointing to bring the party inside. Consider setting a rain date, I know it can be inconvenient, but unfortunately that is the risk you take when you planned for the gathering in the first place.
Consider Unwanted Guests – If it is seasonal for mosquitoes to be out, be prepared. Use candles. we recently went to a party where the host put out repellant bracelets for guests to use. That way, if the guests are having a problem with bugs, they can slap on a bracelet that gives them bug protection wherever they go — they don’t have to be limited to the scope of a candle.
LAST BUT NOT LEAST – Be present, people came to see you!! I know you want to make sure that the food is still hot and that everyone knows where the restroom is, but grab a glass of wine. Throw on a smile and hang out with your friends. It’s supposed to be fun and, with the right kind of planning, it can and should be fun for the host too.
Your Party Chicks,