Creating ambiance outdoors with the right serving tools, set up, and products is possible—even on a budget. Entertaining is all about the atmosphere and ease. Here’s a few tips to create your own perfect patio party setting.
1. Make Space for Entertaining
Whatever your setup—deck, patio, balcony, or garden—it can be transformed for entertaining. Low chairs and a coffee table make an intimate conversation space and a comfortable dining set with a higher table and formal chairs works great for a large dinner party. You can light some candles for extra ambiance—that’s a big crowd pleaser. A wicker serving set will bring an outdoor chic look to the table. For daytime parties, a cooling serving tray is essential and keeps food at the perfect temperature.
2. Cook for a Crowd
Durable serving ware is a huge part of outdoor serving, and a stoneware entertaining set brings a rustic glamour to your party. It’s made for cooking for the group and serving up anything from appetizers to main dishes without dirtying extra dishes for later.
3. Mix a Signature Drink
Roll the bar cart outside and embrace trendy mixology. Serve your beverages in a large pitcher—whether it’s water infused with seasonal fruit or a rich red sangria. This bar set makes it simple for every guest to try out being the bartender. The set’s recipe card guarantees everyone gets a well-balanced cocktail. For an even more original party vibe, make homemade boozy frozen treats. Spike them with vodka or rum for the grownups or keep them kid-friendly for guests of all ages.
4. Fire up the Grill
A grill is a summer entertaining must. In fact, we’d wager most outdoor parties have at least one grilled dish on the menu. A portable grill is great for balcony parties and smaller spaces. Whether the grill is portable or full-sized, entertaining requires a reliable set of grilling tools to cook, serve, and clean up. While steaks and barbecue chicken are always hits, impress party guests with something trendier, like a grilled pizza or sliders.
5. Don’t Forget Dessert
S’mores are a staple dessert in the summer. S’more sticks are important because they keep your fingers cool while roasting marshmallows. If you’re gathering inside, you can use the sticks with a slow cooker to dip squares of cake and sliced fresh fruit into melted chocolate or cheese.
6. Pour Yourself a Glass
A host always deserves a glass of wine during a successful party. Use an electric wine opener to make opening a bottle quick work. Pour yourself a glass in a wine tumbler that keeps your wine cold and the bugs out. Then, place the bottle in a wine chiller to keep it at the perfect temperature to serve to your guests.
This post has been updated since its original publication in May 2016.