contributed by Kacey Bradley
Summer is the perfect time of year to host outdoor parties. It's warm enough for everyone to hang outside under the shade or have fun in the pool.
However, wanting to invite friends over for an outdoor summer party, but having zero clue where to start feels hopeless. The following nine tips will teach you everything you need to know when preparing your patio for a party. Before long you'll be well on your way to hosting the perfect outdoor event this summer.
Remain Aware of Food Allergies
Preparing food for a party can often be a large stress factor by itself. Add in food allergies and you need to be on the ball. As more people become comfortable announcing their food allergies, you want to ask your guests what they can and can't eat before they arrive.
Gluten and dairy allergies can be the most common, so include a variety of food options. Salads, meats and dairy-free appetizers like vegetable trays will give everyone a safe option to eat, even those who forget to mention their allergies.
Invite Friends of Friends
The friends you know might love the idea of going to your party, but if you're busy hosting and they don't know anyone else there, they might skip the whole thing entirely.
When you draft your invite list, make sure everyone has at least one other friend there besides yourself. Everyone will feel much more comfortable that way.
As you create your guest list, you should also look around for cute invitations. There's something extra special about getting an invitation for an event, and not a social media invite or text. It'll add another fun layer to your party to make it stand out.
Provide Some Shelter
No summer party will be complete without a source of shade. No one wants to stand out in the sun for long periods of time, no matter what food is served or music plays.
You won't regret renting a party tent or other kind of canopy. Guests will appreciate escaping the sun for a bit, and it'll help food and drinks from warming up so quickly after everything is set out.
Keep Water Bottles On Hand
It's easy to get lost in having fun at summer parties, which can quickly lead to guests becoming dehydrated. If guests don't hydrate properly, they could start showing symptoms like tiredness, dizziness or fainting.
Avoid this problem by keeping plenty of water bottles on hand. Leave them in ice buckets around the party area and indoors in your fridge. You may end up with lots of leftover water bottles, but it's much smarter to have them than to leave guests without water.
Place permanent markers by the water bottles so guests can easily label their drinks for continued use. The bottles will inevitably be left on countertops and around your yard, but people will be more likely to pick them up and drink from them again if they can clearly see it doesn't belong to someone else.
Create Sunscreen Baskets
Parents with kids will probably remember more than anyone else to bring a bottle of sunscreen to your party, but other guests may only think to bring food or drinks.
Keep everyone safe by creating sunscreen baskets. Leave them where people will need them the most, like by a pool or other outdoor activity. Guests will appreciate the extra thought and enjoy the party that much more.
Decorate your baskets with fabric on the inside or a sign pointing to the sunscreen. Invite people to use as much as they need, and remind them to reapply every few hours if they can.
Rent Extra Seating
A common issue at parties revolves around finding a place to sit. No one wants to sit and eat their food in the grass, unless you lay out blankets for a picnic. Even then, some people may need chairs for their hips or backs.
Rent extra seating if hosting a large party. Folding chairs won't cost that much to rent, and you can set them up in your party space the morning or night before everyone arrives.
Avoid renting metal chairs as they'll heat up quickly in the sun. Look for plastic chairs instead, or even wooden benches if you have the ability to tow them.
Naturally Repel Bugs
What kind of bugs do you think will want to join your party? That will depend on your party's location and time of day.
During the evening, you'll have to ward off mosquitoes. You can easily do that by lighting citronella candles, which naturally repel them.
Have any basil plants around your home? If not, you might want to go out and get some. Basil repels most insects, which can't stand the smell of it.
Entertain the Kids
If any of your party guests will bring kids, make sure they're entertained. Kids will quickly overheat and get hungry, which makes boredom so much worse.
Here are a few ideas you can use to entertain any kids that come to your summer party:
Fill a kiddie pool with water and dish soap for large bubble wands.
Have a sprinkler going for kids to run through.
Set up buckets of chalk on your driveway.
Fill buckets with water balloons.
Providing kids with entertainment will help everyone have a better time. Depending on which activity you choose, include everything the kids will need, like extra beach towels.
Learn to Be Flexible
You may have a certain idea in mind for your party. While goal setting helps, prepare for some things not to follow the plan. Party hosts have to remain flexible to meet their guests' needs. Thinking ahead and preparing with things like party tents and extra water bottles will help.
If you get some of these essential party features together, you're bound to host the best party of the summer. Now it's time to use your creativity and figure out what kind of party you want to throw.
Kacey Bradley is the blogger behind The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts. Along with writing for her blog, she has written for sites like U.S. News, SUCCESS, Ruffled, and more!