How to Host the Perfect Alfresco Dinner Party
There’s something about being outdoors with all your loved ones eating and drinking in the perfect setting that feels so magical. Here are some tips to help you host an extra special alfresco dinner party, and one that will be unforgettable for your guests – in a good way!
Plan and Prep
Some people like to go with the flow and wing it when it comes to hosting an event. And while that might be an exciting thrill for you, you don’t really want any unneeded stress. The best way to avoid that is by planning and preparation.
Prepare your food in advance - you don’t want to be stuck in the kitchen cooking at the very last minute, while all your guests are having a great time without you. Whatever food can be pre-chopped and pre-cooked, do it. Any time you can spare yourself from the kitchen, just means the more time you have to enjoy and socialise with your guests.
Plan for unexpected weather – if it is a particularly warm day, ensure you have some form of shade for your guests. Keep some sunscreen out on the table, and even some insect repellent spray for those annoying guests you didn’t invite – mosquitos! If you know the weather might drop a few degrees in the evening, keep some blankets out and perhaps a fire pit. If it seems to be a windy day, keep some weights on your table setting so your tableware doesn’t go flying everywhere – planning and preparation are key!
Try not to overcomplicate things by cooking too many things and things that are overly technical. Keep it simple. Stick to what you know and what you’ve tried and tested before. Hearty, but easy to eat meals where guests can serve themselves makes for a relaxing atmosphere, that way they will also stay at the table longer! If you have pre-picked a theme you can keep the food in keeping with your theme – for example, for a Spanish theme you can have lots of tapas, including spicy chorizo, a Spanish tortilla and a paella dish or for Mexican you can have tacos, tortilla chips and a gorgeous guacamole dip! For Greek you can have a lovely chickpeas and feta cheese salad, kebab skewers and hummus! Pick what you love to eat and what you know is delicious and work a theme around it.
Drinks are just as important as the food! You could even start with a cocktail hour, with a lovely little drinks station, this will keep your guests engaged and socialising before they sit down at the table in the dining area. If you opted for a Spanish theme then a beautiful jug of sangria is the perfect accompaniment to your tapas, or some minty mojitos or chilled margaritas would go well with your Mexican food. For some non-alcoholic options, you could serve elderflower presse, lime and mint sodas, pink grapefruit fizz – they all add great colour and variety. Make sure you are also topped up on ice. There’s nothing worse than sipping on a warm drink especially on a hot day. Ice buckets and cooler boxes can take some of the pressure off your freezer space and help keep drinks cool throughout the day.
Set the Scene
There’s something very rewarding when you are hosting a party and you hear lots of “ooohs and aaahs” from your guests, followed by, “where did you get this from? I love it”. Your décor and ambience are such important elements to creating the perfect dinner party for your guests. How you decorate the table, for example, is all part of the dining experience. Small candles laid out in a row paired with peonies in tall bottled vases make for a very attractive centrepiece.
Your choice of tableware is very important too. Gorgeous palm leaf plates and cutlery made from bamboo are completely eco-friendly. You don’t have to worry about breaking any of your favourite glass or ceramic plates, and especially washing them all afterwards! You can opt for stylish and sleek tableware that is also disposable and bio-degradable.
Some fairy lights or lanterns can really set the mood too, especially if the sun has set and you need some light but don’t want it to be overly bright. You don’t need to get carried away, but a few little touches can go a long way and really elevate your evening.
Depending on your theme or mood for the evening, you could even switch up the tempo and have a little games area pre-set up to add some fun and excitement. Games such as beer pong or flip cup are great ways to get everyone involved and really buzzing. Or if you have animals in your garden, such as chickens or rabbits, these can provide the perfect entertainment for little ones attending.
Hosting any event whether at your home or outside somewhere, can be pretty stressful – you just want it to be perfect, it’s understandable. From games and entertainment, to tasty meals and exciting beverages, weather preparation and the perfect ambience - it can easily get overwhelming. But hopefully the above tips will give you the confidence to hosting your very own version of a perfect alfresco dinner party and making it a truly magical evening for all your guests.