How to Take Your Outdoor Party to the Next Level

Outdoor Party

What’s the best way to celebrate this stunning Pacific Northwest heatwave? An outdoor party, of course! From Capitol Hill balconies to Kirkland backyards, now is the time to put your outdoor space to use. 

Use the following tips and tricks to plan a worry-free shindig you can enjoy as much as your guests. Because the best outdoor parties are fun and festive – without requiring you to constantly flutter around, picking up and looking after each person who joins your group.

Send Invites Now

People’s schedules, especially during summer in the Seattle area, tend to get packed with activities. Make sure your friends and family have time to attend your party. Send invites out as soon as possible.

Your invites don’t have to be elaborate. You may want to send a digital invitation. Sites like Greenvelope are simple to use. You might create a Facebook event. You may even find it easiest to text or call to ask each person individually. By inviting people now, you’ll have a better idea about your headcount.

Don’t Stress About a Theme

If you love theme parties, go for it! But, don’t assume your party must have a themed. In a lot of ways, an outdoor party brings its own theme.

Plan a Fuss-Free Menu

It can be fun to surf Pinterest for elaborate caviar topped tartlets, homemade parmesan crackers, savory stuffed mushrooms, and homemade spring rolls. In reality, pulling off elaborate appetizers is a lot easier said than done. Unless you went to culinary school, have spent some serious time becoming a home-chef master or have hired a catering company, your best bet is to keep it simple.


A cheese and meat board, like the one showcased by Ashley from Not Without Salt, is a great place to start. It’s easy to put together and allows guests to graze. You don’t need to worry about walking around with trays passing hors d'oeuvres or pulling a pastry out of the oven at the perfect moment. Simply arrange the tray. Set it out and there you go!

Looking to make the food more than just apps? You’ll want to stick to the same simple, make-ahead philosophy. For instance, Good Housekeeping’s Grilled Lamb and Artichoke Kebabs can be made and assembled up to a day in advance. They can then be grilled as needed.

Don’t Stress About Matching Dishes

Paper plates and plastic forks can make for easy cleanup. However, there’s something nice about real dishes. They bring a little something extra to the party (not to mention they’re environmentally-friendly).

But don’t stress if you don’t have a matching set of dishes that’s bring rough. Mix and match. No one will care or even likely notice.

Take Stock of Your Seating

Depending on how formal you’re planning your party to be, you might not need a seat for every person who is coming. That being said, two chairs for a party of 10 is probably not going to cut it.

It may be you can repurpose a few indoor chairs outside for the day. It might also be time to buy a few additional outdoor pieces. They key is to make sure you select pieces that will last. This isn’t going to be the only party you ever throw. Why invest in outdoor furniture you’re going to have to replace year after year?
Discover a Collection of Sturdy Outdoor Furniture

Setup a Drink Station

It’s always a good idea to have a few different drink options – both alcoholic and non-alcoholic. You don’t need every option available. In most instances, beer, wine, water, and lemonade will suffice.

Create a designated drink station with cups, bottle openers, and ice. This will allow your guests to help themselves.

Really want to go offer a cocktail? Check out some of our favorite margarita recipes.

Have an Activity (or two)

It’s always a good idea to have a few games on hand. They don’t need to be elaborate. But games are a great way to get your guests up, moving about, and interacting.

Patio Lights


Is your party going to extend into the evening? If so, patio lights are essential. Without them, the sunset will signal to guests that the festivities are over. Wither it’s string lights and candles or LED lanterns and firepits, make sure you can keep your space lit up and cheerful.
Get more tips about how to choose sturdy patio furniture you and your guests will enjoy.