6. Create Comfort
When you’re outdoors, you want to enjoy the evening as long as possible and that means keeping guests comfortable. Drape a few chairs with a blanket or throw so that when the temperature dips, guests can wrap themselves in an extra layer of warmth and keep the conversations flowing.
7. Feed the Crowd
For outdoor gatherings, the grill offers a lot of finger-friendly options. Grilled chicken tossed in barbeque sauce, corn on the cob and baked potatoes are easy and allow guests to help themselves. Set out a few make-ahead appetizers, a simple cold salad and platters of your grilled food, then add little signs with labels for a touch of elegance, and to let guests know what they’re grabbing.
For a truly intimate evening, you might want to consider asking your family and friends to put away the smart phones and unplug for the evening. An easy way to do this is to let people know in advance that the party will be unplugged and then include a small tray on the table for guests to put their cell phones for the evening. Make a short announcement while giving a toast, thanking everyone for powering down.
9. Master Conversation
I have a rule at my parties. No D.R.I.P.s. Avoid conversation about dieting, religion, illness and politics. These topics are boring at best and incendiary at worst. As the host, your responsibility is to circulate, making connections between guests that spark conversation. Try a party game like ‘celebrity’ to keep things fun. Have each of your guests write down the names of five celebs on slips of paper and toss them into a hat. Then, split into two teams. One person from each team has to get their teammates to guess as many celebs as they can in one minute by describing each one without using any part of the celebrity’s name. Fun!