Outdoor entertaining has so many simple wonderful aspects but the joy of being out in the fresh air and sunshine can quickly turn sour if you forget to mange these few key comfort areas. If your guests are not comfortable they are not going to stay.
Bugs: Living in Minnesota the bugs are the number one issue and the quickest demise of outdoor gatherings. Mosquitos are most active at dawn and dusk so plan accordingly if out at these times to protect your guests. Plan in advance for large gatherings and get an eco-friendly service to spray your yard, stock up on citronella candles, start a bonfire, light decorative torches or lanterns.
- Remove sources or standing water which can be breeding grounds for mosquitoes, check things such as birdbaths, wading pools, garden pools, clogged gutters and buckets that may have collected rain water.
- Place a cut orange or a half full can of soda pop away from the party area to attract bugs to this location rather than your party.
- Serve drinks in clear plastic cups as cans and bottles are good hiding places for insects when you are not looking.
- Keep food stations covered if possible.
- Manage the trash by keeping garbage cans accessible to guests but away form main gathering areas and keep them covered if possible to minimize attraction to bugs.
- Feeling crafty try out this recipe for homemade citronella candles.
Dirt: Let’s face it: you’re outside, the kids are running around – it’s bound to get dirty at some point. Allow guests the ability to wash up easily without having to run to a restroom. Provide hand wipes and a hand sanitizer, or if you want to go the extra mile – warm folded cloths or disposable thick towels. Remember to keep food safety in mind: check out week #1 if you missed what you need to know before you dish up. Food poisoning is never a good thing to give guests as a memory.
Seating: Your guests need a place to relax, make sure you have ample seating but make it conducive to mingling. Set up little sitting areas for 3-6 people. Avoid lining seating in a circle unless you plan to give a demonstration. If you don’t have enough chairs use blankets, large towels and outdoor pillows to make comfortable seating on the ground. If you are eating, it is wise to have a few extra blankets on hand just in case someone spills, so you can have one to eat on and one to relax on.
Extra Thoughts: It is a great idea to have an outdoor party basket equipped with a few essentials you may need like bug spray, sunscreen, wet wipes and Band-Aids that guests can help themselves to, for a complete list click here
Pick up your copy of The Pretty Plate for more simple techniques and recipes, and learn about the five elements to make your everyday meals magnificent.