Hosting Your First Major Outdoor Party? What Should You Keep In Mind?

If you've always envied friends who make the party planning process look effortless, the thought of hosting your own holiday or special event could be a nervewracking one. On the other hand, having a party at your home in someone else's honor can be a great way to connect with friends and family members and demonstrate your gratitude toward (or hopes and affections for) the guest of honor. What can you do to host a party at your home without devoting what can seem like months to planning and stressing? Read on for some tips and tricks to help you pull off the perfect event without worrying about seating arrangements, food supplies, or other crucial party ingredients. 

Rent Tables and Chairs

Most homeowners who aren't in the habit of throwing large soirees don't have seating available for more than a small group, and asking guests to bring their own chairs (or tables) can seem tacky. You may also be going for a more sophisticated vibe than "backyard party," which can often be thrown off by the arrival of brightly-colored camp chairs or camouflage designs. 

By renting tables and chairs the day before your party, giving you time to set up, you'll ensure your party has a uniform appearance and that your guests will feel comfortable seating themselves wherever they'd like. You'll also be able to orient the furniture in a way that directs guests to the center of the action, whether this means setting up a "head table" for the guest(s) of honor or making a long buffet line near the back of the party.

Contact companies like Party People Rentals & Sales to learn about your rental options.

Consider A Tent 

Planning any type of outdoor gathering can require a Plan B in case of inclement weather. Even if you live in a part of the country that rarely has outdoor events interrupted by rain or snow, you may find that some guests are more comfortable with a source of shade where they can sit and relax. You may want to add a tent to your rental order if you're already planning to seek some outside help when it comes to seating.

Even if your event takes place in perfect weather, a tent can provide your party with a focal point. Even more importantly, a tent can keep your food from falling victim to falling leaves, errant twigs, or poorly timed bird droppings. 

Use Relatively Non-Perishable Foods 

When planning to feed a crowd, it's always better to overprepare than underprepare—and if your guests are the type who tend to consider RSVPs optional, you may have a tough time gauging your potential attendance and planning food accordingly. As a result, it's usually a good idea to create your menu around relatively non-perishable items that can be consumed several days or more after your event and won't need to be discarded if they're exposed to room-temperature air for more than an hour or two.

For example, if you have a catering company deliver enough sushi to feed 50 adults and only wind up with 30 attendees, it's unlikely your guests will be able to consume the leftovers before they go bad; indeed, to avoid food poisoning, you'd likely need to discard all the excess. On the other hand,by  serving main dishes and hearty sides that freeze well, you'll be able to responsibly dispose of any excess food by sending it home with guests without worrying about foodborne illnesses. 

Another option is to serve a series of appetizers in lieu of a large sit-down dinner. These types of eating arrangements are less likely to lead to food waste, as you'll also be able to plan for smaller individual portions than would be necessary for a full sit-down meal.