What comes to mind when you think of an ‘outdoor party’? If you envision basic food, mosquitos and sunburn, you might not be too eager to throw your own alfresco function anytime soon.

But it doesn’t have to be this way—by following some of the tips below, you will be well on your way to throwing an outdoor party that is just as fun as any indoor shindig.RC_Weddings_SammyandAJ_006Image: Sammy + AJ, HOORAY!

1. Check the weather forecast

This one might seem like a no brainer, but be sure to check the weather forecast before planning your do. Will it be sweltering outside, or will your guests freeze? Be sure to pick the right time of year and plan accordingly. And be sure to look after your guests either way—if it’s likely to be cold out, arrange some outdoor heaters and blankets. Likewise, if it’s likely to be a hot one, organise some icy cold treats and shade to keep partygoers cool.RC_Birthday_Lyndalls60thGardenParty_18.jpgImage: Lyndall’s 60th Garden Party, HOORAY!

2. Plan for the unexpected

The weather can be unpredictable regardless of the season. Even if you don’t think you’ll have to worry about rain, a great party always has a back-up plan. Have outdoor covers and pop-up pergolas on-hand just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse. Heaters or fire pits can also come in handy if the temperature suddenly dropsRC_Weddings_SammyandAJ_097Image: Sammy + AJ, HOORAY!

3. Pick a spacious spot

A key success factor for your outdoor party will be hosting it in the right space. Grassy areas work well enough, but a deck is really the ultimate place to host an outdoor event. If your home doesn’t have a deck, you could hire a professional builder to create one for you. A simple internet search for decks in your location will lead you to companies like Additions Building, who specialise in constructing and installing decks and patios. Not only can a deck improve the appearance and value of your house, it will also provide a flat surface where chairs will stay balanced, your guests’ shoes won’t get dirty and creepy crawlies will (mostly) be avoided.
RC_Birthdays_RubysStrawberrySoiree_31Image: Ruby’s 5th Birthday, HOORAY!

4. Opt for easy-to-eat food

Just because you’re hosting an outdoor party doesn’t mean you have to stick with traditional BBQ food. Try to include finger food that is easy to eat, so guests can eat without having to worry about making a mess. A decadent feast board of cured meats, antipasti delights and cheeses will go down a treat.RC_Birthdays_Naomis30thBirthday_065Image: Naomi’s 30th, HOORAY! 

5. Set up a drink station

As a host, this tip is a lifesaver. Save yourself from constantly being on ‘drink duty’ by allowing your guests to serve themselves. Set up a prominently placed drink station with ice buckets, glassware, straws and a bunch of garnishes. Stick to one type of beverage per tub so guests don’t have to risk frostbite to find the drink they want.RC_Birthday_Lyndalls60thGardenParty_08.jpgImage: Lyndall’s 60th Garden Party, HOORAY!

6. Be prepared for bugs

A number of non-invasive insect repelling products can be used to keep bugs at bay. Look for insect-repelling products like coils, candles and lights, which can be placed on the ground, on tables, or hung from the veranda. Offering a low-irritant, low-odour bug spray will also be appreciated by your guests.RC-Birthday-Gabes40thBirthday-14.jpgImage: Gabe’s 40th Birthday, HOORAY!

7. Limit the mess

Make the clean up easier by opting for disposable plates, napkins, cutlery and cups—everything can be thrown away and you don’t have risk broken glass being squashed into the ground. Just because they’re disposable doesn’t mean you have to use generic white paper products. Pick a theme—even if it’s just a specific colour palette—and tailor all of your disposable products and decorations to this theme. It’s small touches like this that will keep your guests in the party spirit.

blog_funstuff_chambordlunch_09Image: Pastel Garden Brunch, HOORAY!

8. Party time!

Parties are not easy to pull together, even under ideal circumstances, and the outdoor environment poses a unique set of obstacles. But by following some basic rules, such as the ones above, your party will be unforgettable for all the right reasons.RC_Birthdays_Naomis30thBirthday_105

Image: Naomi’s 30th, HOORAY!