Fall is upon us, and what better way to say farewell to summer, and welcome fall, than entertaining outdoors. Whether brunch, cocktail party, or movie night under the stars, here are some tips to spruce up your end of summer soiree.
1. START FROM THE "Bottom" Up
You want your guests to be comfortable, so your seating options are important. There are easy ways to dress up your existing furniture, adding style and functionality. If you're serving a sit down meal, add cushions to stiff chairs as a quick fix with a fun fabric. For a more casual gathering around the fire pit, bring out your indoor decorative pillows and throws to add color and comfort (just remember to bring them inside when the party is over). Swinging chairs are always fun for guests, and create an engaging boho chic outdoor space. If you're starting from scratch, check out West Elm (pictured), CB2, Frontage, or your local Homegoods for end of summer outdoor sales.
3. What to SERVE
Chose a food suitable for outdoors. Place serving tables in shady areas as direct sunlight can wilt even the freshest greens, and curdle dairy-based dishes. Foods that fare well at room temperature include grilled kabobs, beans, vinegar-based salads, and noodle dishes.
Cold beverages are always a welcome treat at a warm outdoor event. Get creative with fruit filled glass dispensers. Keep your bottled drinks on ice, and make sure to have plenty of them. Country Living did a great job picking the perfect outdoors goos (pictured below).
4. Let there be LIGHTing
Lighting is especially essential for evening gatherings. Small lights strung around trees and shrubs create a whimsical garden glow. Glass Edison bulbs draped across an outdoor space are especially chic and inviting. Candles are a fabulous way to light up an outdoor soiree. Placed in groupings on tables, or in small jars or lanterns, candles add a romantic element to the outdoor space. Consider citronella candles if mosquitos are a concern. Depending on the theme of the get-together, rattan tiki torches could be used to create "rooms" or line boundaries or walkways.
5. Room for ACTIVITIES
Games and activities can really elevate your guests experience. Giant size chess or checkers (available here), corn hole, cards, and other backyard board games allow guests to interact and engage with each other. Snuggle up to a projected movie with individual popcorn buckets, or make s'mores and memories by the fire pit.
For a real crowd pleaser, try adding crispy bacon (prepared prior to roasting marshmallows) to your standard s'more as suggested by KOA.