Q. My husband and I moved into a new house with a great yard this past Spring. We’re planning our first party and we want it to be outdoors since it’s summertime and we love to BBQ. I want to impress my guests with a sit down dinner outside, but want them to mingle around the yard as well. I need ideas! I’ve been unpacking boxes for so long I feel like my head is full of cardboard. Oh, and I’d like to give a party favor as well.
A. I’ve got several ideas to help get you started with your party planning. Whether you have a clambake, grill the usual burgers and hot dogs or create a signature cold summer drink, there are a few extra touches to help complete the success of the party. Why not bring a beach feeling to your backyard with these ideas:
Serving food like ribs or a clambake can be messy so use an oversized striped beach towel as a tablecloth. We love the ones from landsend.com
Decorate for your clambake with lobster corn holders and a lobster pot to cook lobster or corn. The lobster pot can also double as a beer cooler. (both items below from surlatable.com)
Create your own signature cocktail with a little help from a mix. (from surlatable.com)
Bring the comfort of the indoors out with oversized beach towels or blankets and mounds of pillows. (all items below from landsend.com)
Keep stress at bay by setting the table with plastic plates, cups and silverware - just take it a step further and mix up bright colors. (from wrapables.com)
Keep it kid-friendly, whether your guests are 5 or 50 years old, and serve up popsicles for dessert that are easy to make with fruit puree or juice or ice cream sandwiches in fun shapes. For an adults-only party, consider a fruity cocktail popsicle. (both from wrapables.com)
Party Favor Ideas:
Offer guests inexpensive, fun party favors like paper fans to keep cool.
Bake up cookies in shapes that say summer, wrap in parchment and tie with a bow.
Fill plastic kid buckets with retro candy, colorful gumballs and a blow up beach ball or Frisbee.
A simple, delicious gift is to fill Chinese takeout containers with special M&M’s personalized with your own message. Decorate the plain containers with marker drawings.
At each table setting (if you have table settings), tie a ribbon around a packet of flowers seeds.
Offer everyone your special BBQ marinade by filling plastic squeeze bottles you can pick up at party stores and wrap them in parchment paper tied with twine.