Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Plan for the perfect outdoor get together!

Well it’s that time of year again and with it comes all of the fun things that we could only wish for during the cold winter months! Sure, it’s also getting to be time for a good spring cleaning but let’s talk about the fun side of spring! This is the time of year that I begin thinking about having some outdoor fun and that means cook outs and family get togethers. It doesn’t take much for everyone to have a great time and here are 5 great tips to ensure that your next outdoor adventure is one that everybody will remember!

Plan the Space
First things first! Will everyone be sitting at a table or lawn chair or is standing room only the way to go? I think that it’s always better for guests to be able to sit and relax while enjoying the great weather and eating. One unique idea is to place small rugs on the grass where everyone can relax and if there is shade from trees available than so much the better! Of course if you prefer the usual picnic table or folding table that’s just as good. You can also consider both arrangements. The kids will love sitting on the grass and it will give them their very own “kids only” space. Either way it’s vital that you have enough seating for all of your guests and that they are comfortable.

Dress it Up!
Eye candy is important at any function and if you want to create an inviting outdoor atmosphere there are a few simple tricks you can do to make the outdoor dining area colorful and attractive. Be sure that you have plenty of napkins for everyone and place them where they are convenient and easy to see. Spring is a colorful time of year and if you can mix and match different colored plates, cups and so on it will look great! One of my favorite conveniences is to wrap the cutlery in “take one” bundles and place them in a planter or colorful glass bowl for easy access, sort of like when you visit your favorite local buffet. As a final touch you could add a few bowls of everyone’s favorite summer fruits and veggies as the perfect appetizer/snacks and the colors make a great centerpiece as well!

Choose the Right Food
Some food just isn’t a good choice for fun in the sun, especially salads or dairy based dishes that will spoil very quickly. If you do plan on this type of food be sure to keep it refrigerated until it’s time to serve it. Traditional outdoor food that is better suited for the heat would include salads with a vinegar base, bean and noodle dishes and of course grilled kebabs! If possible place the food serving tables in a shady area.

Keep the Kiddies Busy!
If your party plans include children it’s a good idea to plan some activities for them as well. Something as simple as some crayons and coloring books or a few safe and simple outdoor games will keep them happy and occupied for hours. Remember, when the little ones are happy, everyone is happy!

Bright is Right!
If the party is planned for evening hours or might last that long than outdoor lighting is a must. A few strands of white LED lights will make the surroundings beautiful at night and provide enough light for everyone to see. Adding candles is a great touch as well and will create a warm and glowing atmosphere that is very relaxing. Of course, nothing is more exotic that some well placed tiki torches to brighten the night and create a “tropical” ambiance that everyone will remember!

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