Anyone who has ever planned an outdoor event will tell you that there's more to it than what you'll probably initially expect. When the success of your party is at the mercy of the elements, there are so many things that can go wrong – it can be discouraging to even the most experienced party planner. Whether you're putting together a beautiful wedding reception, a birthday party, or a simple barbecue, it'll be sure to go infinitely smoother if you have these three essentials.
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A Solid Pest Control Strategy
The last thing you want your guests to worry about is getting eaten alive by bugs. The best way to prevent it from happening at your party is by utilizing a multi-tactical approach.
Treat the area with bug repellent ahead of time to get rid of any existing nests and eggs. Treating it ahead of time will cut down on the all-too-familiar smell of chemical treatments.
Strategically place plants that naturally repel bugs around the area. Focus on the perimeter, as well as places where people will be likely to congregate, such as the food table and the game area. Lemongrass, lemon balm, dahlias, dill, garlic, lavender, marigolds, petunias, and chives are all natural bug repellents, and they make lovely add-ons to outdoor wedding decor as well. Go to town on incorporating these natural bug-busters into your party's decor and avoid having to spray everyone down with nasty bug spray.
Invest in decorative citronella candles and torches to ward off any remaining bugs and add a soft ambiance to the party's atmosphere.
Keeping the bugs at bay will be one of the best things you can do to make your guests comfortable. You want them to leave with happy memories, not miserable bug bites.
Menu Items that Reflect the Season
All parties should include food that's in line with the current season, but this is especially the case when it comes to outdoor parties. When the shindig is outside, guests are especially observant of the weather, so it's a nice touch to let the season help you decide what to put on the menu.
Autumn and winter events are great for comfort foods like macaroni and cheese, pumpkin pie, stuffed mushrooms, apple recipes, and sangria to drink. Menu items for spring and summer shindigs should gear more toward fresh fruits, veggies, grilled options, and light beverages such as lemonade and iced tea. Check out some healthier alternatives that won't leave your guests in food comas. Since guests to outdoor parties will have few opportunities to wash their hands, avoid offering messy foods such as barbecue ribs or corn on the cob. Stick to serving finger foods that can be served with toothpicks and keep everyone's hands nice and clean.
Inclement Weather Alternatives
Of course, every outdoor party should have a backup plan for when the weather doesn't cooperate. One of the simplest solutions is to rent a party tent. Even if it doesn't rain, guests may find it to be a nice break from the sun's rays or any harsh winds. Chances are you've planned an outdoor party to avoid bringing it into your home. But some backyard party hosts have the luxury of an indoor rec room that can serve as a backup area for the party. If this is an option for you, go ahead and plan to use it – but hope that you don't have to.
Rain isn't the only way Mother Nature can ruin your party plans. Extreme heat or unexpected cold fronts can also put a damper on things. If you live in an area where temperatures fluctuate significantly, plan for both extremes. Arrange to set up a misting fan and keep plenty of water on hand in case it gets super hot. Patio space heaters are also helpful additions to a party tent, should the temperature drop unexpectedly
As you make the major plans for your outdoor party, keep these essentials in the back of your mind. As with many things, it's always best to plan for the worst and hope for the best. No matter what the weather has in store the day of your party, you'll be ready with these tips. Please feel free to share any outdoor party planning wisdom you have with us in the comments below.