Outdoor Patio Entertaining Tips

outdoor patio entertaining tipsThe heat is on, but you won't be feeling it when you plan ahead for outdoor summer entertaining. Whether you're planning a casual get-together and barbecue with a few friends, or an elegant evening party for a sophisticated crowd, you'll find your event will be a great success when you follow some simple planning tips.

Be Sure to Attend Your Own Patio Party

One of the most important things to remember when entertaining is that your family or friends will want to spend at least a little time with their host or hostess - that's you! Be sure to make the time to enjoy your company. Create your party decor the day before the event and select a menu that can be prepared ahead of time. Buffets are ideal for both formal and casual outdoor dining. Once the food is laid out your guests can serve themselves, leaving time for you to socialize and relax.

Light Summer Foods for Patio Entertaining

Main-course summer salads make for a lovely outdoor buffet. Include a variety of chopped salad greens, grilled vegetables, grated cheese, marinated tomatoes, s election of olives and various herbed oils - things that can be prepared well in advance giving you more time to spend with your guests. Serve an olive oil foccacia bread from the grill and let your guests help themselves. Remember to check out the wide assortment of outdoor dining and patio accessories available online such as outdoor drink coolers and serving trays.

*Tip for keeping your salad greens crisp on hot nights: Nest your salad bowl in another bowl of well-salted ice to keep the salad greens crsip. Occasionally toss the salad to keep it cool.

Set the Outdoor Dining Mood with a Festive Table

Floral centerpieces will liven up any summer entertaining table—there are so many flowers, vivid foliage and even fragrant herbs this time of year. Be creative with the containers to suit the your party decor and fill them with a wild array— try beach buckets, garden planters or tall decorative glasses! Put stones in the bottoms of centerpiece containers to prevent them from tipping over in the wind.

Candles are ideal for creating an outdoor party mood, but be sure to use candles that will last the duration of your event and place them in safe and secure locations. Lots of low candles are lovely-looking on a dining table, but many a guest has been burned when reaching for something. Tall candles are better for dining tables, with low candles providing sparkle in low traffic areas.

Keep Outdoor Safety of Your Guests in Mind

As the host, it is your responsibility to make safety your top priority. Offer soft drinks, fruit juices, water or other non-alcoholic beverages so that your guests have a choice and keep a taxi service number at hand in case one of your guests has too much to drink. You want your friends and family around for the next party!

Also be aware that summer heat can cause dehydration and heat exhaustion. Provide your guests with refuge from the sun with colorful patio umbrellas, an array of spray bottle fans and seating in shaded areas.

Lastly, nothing ruins a party quicker than bug bites or a sunburn. Use citronella candles, even during the day, to keep bugs away. Try one of the new aromatic bug repellants. Keep lots of water around your party area and be sure to provide relaxing seating areas out of strong summer sun. Putting these things in place ahead of time will save you much stress and strain, and allow you to really enjoy your summer entertaining this year.