Summer in New Jersey is finally heating up. It’s the perfect time to entertain your friends and family. Taking the party outdoors allows you to spread out, enjoy the weather, and keep your inside rooms clean.
Create a theme for your party. Make it a luau and have leis and grass skirts for your guests. Use tiki torches filled with citronella oil to keep the mosquitoes at bay. For a beach theme, serve ready to eat snacks in colorful sand pails and use the shovels for serving. Use giant tubs filled with ice to keep your drinks cold, and have a few beach balls on hand. For a Mardi gras theme, provide colorful beads and masks for your guests. You can get just about anything at Party City! No matter what the theme, string lights around your deck rail or under the umbrella for a real party atmosphere. Use citronella candles (safely) to keep the mosquitoes away while adding ambiance.
Provide Plenty of Seating
Depending on the layout of your home’s backyard, you may have a deck or patio that already contains outdoor furniture. However, if you plan on more guests than you have seating, consider renting or borrowing additional picnic tables and place them in the yard. Use large umbrellas to provide shade, if necessary. And ask your guests to bring extra chairs. Just about everyone owns a few take-anywhere camping chairs.
Good Eats Are a Must
Plan ahead and do all your prep in the days prior to the party so you can kick back and enjoy your guests. I used to boil my chicken and ribs the day before the party and transfer them to a foil pan. Make the BBQ sauce (or use bottled) and brush the meat lightly and refrigerate. Reserve the rest. When you’re ready, you simply add your meat to a hot grill and reheat. Once they’re heated through and have grill marks, brush with additional sauce, grill another few minutes, then enjoy!
Make burgers patties ahead (or use frozen). Make a few sides and salads the day before as well. This also gives the flavors time to meld and everything will taste better by the time you serve it. Remember the ice to keep your salads cold. For desert, try this grilled fruit.
Depending on how much space you have, set up a few yard games such as badminton or volley ball, yard darts, bocce ball, croquet, or horseshoes and have some balls and Frisbees on hand. If the weather is hot and you don’t have a pool, consider water balloons, a slip ‘n’ slide or sprinklers for the kids. Get out the hose and have fun!
And don’t forget the music!