Hosting a successful outdoor celebration at home
By Laura Firszt, Networx
Graduation, weddings, the Fourth of July … summer is jam-packed with exciting events! Why not take advantage of the warm weather and host a celebration in your own garden? Make sure your party will be a success by paying attention to often-overlooked details.
Begin your party planning by comparing the amount of space you have with the number of guests you’d like to invite, to make sure there will be sufficient elbow room. For an event with a sit down meal followed by dancing, you’ll require about 15 square feet of space per person, less for a simpler event. When you are planning a wedding, you will need additional square footage if the ceremony, as well as the reception, is to be held on your grounds.
Ensure that your yard is level enough to comfortably accommodate standing or seated guests. Have tree branches and other obstructions professionally trimmed in advance. Get rid of any standing water and stock up on citronella candles and electric fans to deter mosquitoes. Mow the lawn a day or two ahead of your party. Items such as wading pools should be removed temporarily.
Unless you entertain in the garden on a regular basis, you probably won’t have enough chairs. When hosting a casual group, supplement your outdoor seating with furniture from inside your home. Table and chair rental is the best option for a large formal event. Be prepared to accommodate guests with special seating needs -- for example, babies and small children, the elderly and handicapped individuals.
Depending on the local climate, you’ll need some form of shelter from rain or sun, such as table umbrellas or a tent. In case of extremely hot weather, you might want to rent or even buy an outdoor air conditioner. Choose cut flowers that will not droop in the heat … or decorate with environmentally friendly planters instead.
Food and Drink
Are you up to preparing all the party food yourself? Delegating a friend to help – or hiring a catering company – just might be a sanity saver. Make sure you or the caterers have the proper resources to keep the meal and refreshments at a temperature that is both appetizing and safe. Clear your freezer in advance and stock up on ice for beverages. On a scorching day, don’t forget to offer your guests plenty of iced water.
Adequate toilet facilities are a must, particularly if your event is planned to continue for several hours and you will be serving alcohol. Clean all bathrooms designated for guest use and stock with clean hand towels and attractive toiletries. Once again, consider renting portable toilets. For formal affairs and important business functions, especially in cosmopolitan cities like New York, you might opt to hire a cleaning service to tend the grounds, outdoor toilets and indoor areas which party attendees or food service personnel will have access to.
Evening events will call for some form of outdoor lighting. Candles or lanterns cast a cozy glow, while electric lighting can provide stronger illumination. Whatever system you choose, test it in advance to check that the lighting will be adequate. Be careful to avoid any fire hazard.
Keeping Your Cool
To help you enjoy your own party, prepare as much as possible in advance. Leave the “morning of” as open as possible so that you have a chance to relax before the action starts. You may even wish to schedule some self-care such as a face massage.
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