When it’s summer in the Okanagan, it’s time to take advantage of the beautiful outdoor weather as much as possible. Hosting an outdoor dinner party is a fun way to do that, and it will mix up your next event with friends and family. Here are our top 10 ideas for hosting your own outdoor dinner party in summer.
1. Cozy up against the evening chill.
Provide your guests with plenty of blankets, heat lamps or even set up the table by a fire pit if you have one to protect against the chill in the air as the evening goes on.
2. Add fresh decor.
An easy way to decorate is by placing fresh-cut flowers in re-usable mason jars. You can then send them home with guests after dinner as party favours!
3. Add enough lighting.
String lights, candles, and little tea lights add both a dreamy ambiance as well as some much-needed light as the sun begins to go down.
4. Keep bugs at bay.
Invest in some good citronella candles and provide your guests with bug spray or bug wipes to keep mosquitoes away. You can also use upside-down cupcake covers as drink covers to keep bugs out – just punch a hole through the middle for a re-usable straw and you’re set!
5. Have a backup plan.
Check the weather ahead of time and try to schedule for a clear evening. But if there’s a chance of rain, have a backup plan readily available, such as moving to the indoor dining room or under a covered portion of your outdoor space, or putting up a tent cover.
6. Prepare enough seating.
If your outdoor space doesn’t have a proper dining table, consider moving your indoor table outside or renting a folding table and seating. Make sure that there are enough comfortable places for guests to sit and relax. Or, pull out some cozy blankets, pillows and poufs and have dinner on the garden picnic-style.
7. Provide entertainment for kids.
If your guests are bringing children along, have some games and outdoor toys for them to have fun with. It will keep them busy while the parents can sit back, relax, and enjoy dinner and conversation.
8. Focus on outdoor-friendly foods.
Pre-make appetizers and salads and keep them under covers on the table or a buffet. For the main course, opt for something that can be cooked or grilled outside so you can still mingle and entertain your guests while prepping. A pre-made dessert is also handy to have on hand to serve straight away.
9. Make your own ice.
Instead of buying a bag of ice from the store on the day of, start making extra ice and storing it in your freezer in plastic bags a week or more ahead of time. By the time the party rolls around, you’ll have enough to fill your cooler or drinks bucket to keep outside so guests don’t need to keep running in for a refill.
10. Play a summer playlist.
Have some favourite summer tunes ready on a playlist to keep on in the background. It’s easiest if you have a Bluetooth speaker so you can keep it outside instead of blasting it from inside the house and disrupting neighbours. That way, your guests can also connect and put their music on as well!