Ten Must Haves for Outdoor Entertaining
Updated: Feb 26, 2019
It's right around the corner. So close you can almost taste it. Spring! And with that most visually explosive of seasons comes outdoor entertaining. I know, a vision of yourself running around like a sweaty wild woman, cleaning up the yard and getting food ready, just popped into your head. I get it, I do. But it doesn't have to be like that. With a little prep now, we can make you look like Martha, Ina and Giada all rolled into one. ( That's not a pretty visual is it?) But seriously, let's be prepared people! Outdoor entertaining should be every bit as much fun for the hostess. Why else would we do it?
So let's talk about the things you may want to have on hand just in case you feel a party coming on.
A Beverage Bucket
It can really be anything, an old metal bucket, a wheel barrow, anything that can hold ice and drinks. It makes it easy for your guests to help themselves and frees you up for more mingling. Shown above is the Seagrass Beverage Tub. Coming Spring of 2019 to ROOST Home, Ambler.
If you're like most people you don't have a set of folding chairs or more than a few outdoor seats. And there's nothing worse than lugging your dining room chairs outside. That's fine, grab those old quilts. It'll give your soiree a retro garden party feel. Better yet, the next time you pass by someone getting a tree removed, grab a few of the stumps. Instant seating, and exposed bark is all the rage right now. (They're great for extra side tables too).
An Herb Garden
I'll admit it, I don't like to cook but... That being said, I do use tons of herbs in the summer. Basil for caprese salad, mint for mojitos, rosemary for grilling meat. Having herbs on hand not only makes me feel like Ina Garten's less organized sister, but it takes my blah cooking (and drinking) and kicks it up a notch. They're so easy to grow and so expensive when you buy them at the supermarket. They can be grown anywhere, from a tiny apartment patio to an acre of property. So, get out there and get your hands dirty. You'll thank yourself come party time!
Don't panic, this will not make or break your Spring and Summer get togethers, but they can be so much fun! Fire pits are super easy to build with kits from places like Lowe's that supply everything you need for a permanent fixture in your yard. There are also tons of portable metal styles that come in a million sizes to fit your lifestyle and budget. There's much less of a commitment with these and they can be easily stored when not in use. Surrounded by Adirondack chairs either style creates a cozy place to huddle on those cool nights. But if you're feeling extra DIYish and want to keep your investment to a minimum, check out this video on how to build one for $40 out of an aluminum tub. Genius! https://youtu.be/d_MmKiYrVRI (also perfect in a smaller version for your Smores station).
Forget the melamine. It's been done, a lot! Enamelware has been around forever and its making a major resurgence due to its retro look and long lasting surface. If you can find some vintage pieces that's great but if you're not up for a treasure hunt, the new stuff comes in some truly beautiful colors and shapes and is as long lasting as the vintage pieces.
Horseshoes, cornhole, bocce ball, volleyball, giant Jenga... it doesn't matter what game, just have at least one to chose from on hand. Nothing breaks the ice better than some good old fashioned competition.
Check out this video from The Rehab Life on how to make your own giant Jenga set https://youtu.be/5QMXpbtSUiQ
Music sets the tone of a party and can easily be forgotten. Be prepared for outdoor entertaining this year. If you haven't already, make an investment in a bluetooth speaker. It doesn't have to be an Echo (but if you can afford one go for it). You don't need to spend a fortune anymore for high quality sound. There are tons for speakers that will work from your iphone playlist that are waterproof and can be left outside. But it's just as easy to bring your inside one out. Either way, get that Jimmy Buffet crankin'.
A Signature Cocktail & Beverage Dispenser
Wine, soda and beer, always. But having a signature cocktail at an outdoor party can cut down on costs as well as time. Make a few batches before the party and leave them in the fridge to be replenished as needed. . It keeps mixers and types of alcohol to a minimum, saving money.. Next, add your concoction to a large beverage dispenser. I prefer the clear ones but you may opt for ceramic in a summer color. It makes it easy for your guests to serve themselves and stops you from having to clean up empty bottle and cans throughout the day. And of course, a beautiful dispenser filled with a colorful drink creates height and looks fabulous on a bar! Cheers!
Large Serving Trays or Cutting Boards
There's nothing worse than lugging things in and out of the house piece by piece. Get a few large serving trays or wood cutting boards for easier set up and break down. Plus they create stations on your table and make it look like you hired a caterer.
A Rolling Cart
Having a portable work or serving station is a dream. I could right a whole blog just on the many uses of these. (And I still may) You definitely don't need to get fancy here. An old garage utility cart makes a perfect outdoor bar or food station. Vintage, as well as new bar carts, are everywhere and can be used inside year round and rolled out for extra serving space for outdoor entertaining. If you are going to invest in one, make sure it has tiers. This allows you to store extras on hand and cuts down on running inside to replenish glasses, plates, napkins and mixers.
So, you're all set, everything you need for outdoor entertaining this year. Except the food. And the people. And the nice weather.