10 Outdoor Entertaining Dos & Don'ts

Whether you’re hosting a dinner party for four or a backyard BBQ for 40, follow my Top 10 Outdoor Entertaining Do’s and Don’ts to make sure you throw a fabulous fete!

Outdoor Entertaining Dos and Don'ts

1. Do Chill Out

I always say that the shoe sets the tone for an outfit. Well, the host sets the tone for the party—if you're stressed, your guests will be too. (Trust me, they’ll notice.) To keep your friends from talking about how awkward your party was behind your back, remember to take five minutes for yourself before they arrive. Take a few deep breaths, try out some dance moves in front of a mirror, and remember: This is a party, it’s supposed to be fun!

2. Don't Send a Mass Email

Don't send me a mass email invitation to your party; I won't come. I prefer a personalized invitation. If you can't send individual paper invitations in the mail, at least take the time to write a personalized email to each guest.

3. Do Plan Ahead

Prep as much as you can before the party. This will stop you from getting too stressed out. Make food ahead of time that you can set out cold or at room temperature, like dips and bite-sized appetizers.

4. Don't Be Afraid to Ask For Help

I always have a Number Two at my parties—also known as a wingman or woman—to help refresh drinks, cut limes and direct people to the bathroom. Don't be shy about asking your guests to bring specific things to your party. People like to contribute, and if you assign specific dishes to each person, you won't end up with 10 taco dips.

5. Do Mix and Match

Outdoor parties have a naturally casual feeling, so use casual tableware and mix it up for added visual interest and ease. Mix and match dishes, glasses and flatware that you've picked up here and there. One note: Do skip the plasticware. Even a casual party deserves real tableware, and it's better for the environment, too.

6. Don't Forget to Keep It Interesting

Just like a stylish outfit has color, pattern, texture and shine, so does a stylish table. Decorate with colors that make you happy or that you look great in. Incorporate patterns into your table linens and décor with your pillows and even your table torches. Go ahead and mix your metallics—gold and silver look great together—and add texture with your placemats and napkins.

7. Do Remember Good Lighting

Great lighting sets the tone for a party. On a table, a flickering light creates a warm ambiance and imparts a beautiful glow. For that, try TIKI® Brand Glowing Table Torches. They combine a natural flame with an LED light that illuminates the glass from within for a stunning visual affect. Around your yard, set up torches to define the perimeter—your guests need to know where the party is!

8. Don't Forget The Elements

Keep an eye on the weather and have a “rain date” on the calendar, just in case. Put sunscreen somewhere obvious, place citronella torches on tables and around the yard to help keep mosquitoes away. Don’t send your guests home itchy and fried!

9. Do Create Multiple Seating Areas

If you’re throwing a large party, create smaller, more intimate spaces where groups can gather and chat. Group two to six chairs around a table with a TIKI Brand Table Torch, or throw some cushions or floor pillows on top of a blanket near a TIKI Brand torch for a casual vibe.

10. Don't Forget to Set the Mood with Music

Good music can mean the difference between a ho-hum party and the shindig of the summer. Since a good host doesn’t have the time to be a DJ, too, I like to choose a decade or style of music and create a playlist. I’m really into great 70’s disco right now; check out my playlist for some of my favorites!

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