The days are warming up, which means it’s time to uncover the outdoor lounge furniture, bring those potted plants back outside and invite friends over to enjoy the patio. But with the sunshine and warmer weather comes the risk of rain and even snow, so you want to make sure you’re prepared for everything the season might throw your way (which, at this time of year, could be literally anything). Here are a few things to keep in mind when planning a fun and enjoyable spring party outside.
- Delicate Glass and China Should Stay Indoors — When you’re transporting plates, glasses, and serve ware outside, there’s a much higher risk of drops and breaks. Prevent accidents by switching to durable, outdoor-friendly tableware, such as pieces made from reusable plastic or melamine. Not only are these options less likely to shatter, but they’re also easier to clean. Simply toss them in the dishwasher at the end of the night so you can minimize your post-party chores. If you still want to use chic tableware, consider presenting the food inside and then switching to different plates to take outside.
- Air Out Your Outdoor Décor — When pulling your patio furniture, cushions, outdoor rugs, or blankets from storage, you may notice that they’ve collected a bit of funk in the off-season. Several days before the party, lay everything out in a cool, dry area. This will help air them out to get rid of any dust and eliminate smells associated with mildew or moisture. Make sure to give it all a deep clean, too!
- Quickly Elevate Your Spread with Matching Dinnerware — If you’re comfortable bringing your dinnerware outside, add some flair to the table with matching plates and silverware. Just because you’re outside doesn’t mean your tablescape has to be casual. These options also create a chic, natural-looking table setting you can complement with pretty table décor.
- Bug Pests Are Not Invited— Contrary to popular belief, mosquito season actually starts in the late spring. In fact, as soon as temperatures reach 60 degrees F, they start to become active. Ticks are also quite happy to be out and about during the pre-summer months and will start to become active when ground temperatures rise above 45 degrees F. Utilize citronella candles or torches to keep away the bugs. Have bug spray bottles stationed for easy access for your guests, especially for sunset events.
- Having a Backup Plan Is Essential — In the spring, the weather is notoriously unpredictable. While the forecast may say nothing but sun, don’t be surprised if you find a little rain on your parade. That’s why it’s key to have a backup plan. Whether it’s moving the party indoors or having a designated rain date, make sure you prep for unexpected downpours, chilly weather, or disruptive winds.
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- Remember to Keep Your Guests Comfortable — Even if there’s no rain in the forecast, prepare for fluctuations in temperature during the spring months. It may get chilly at night, so make sure to keep plenty of blankets on hand and consider starting a bonfire. If there’s extreme heat in the forecast, try to set up a shady area where guests can get a break from the sun. No matter what the forecast looks like, be sure to keep the dining area under a patio umbrella for maximum comfort.
- Fire Up the Grill or Smoker — It’s probably been months since you fired up the grill or smoker, so give it an inaugural run to honor the warm weather. Start by giving your grill and grill tools a deep clean to eliminate the buildup from last year. Make sure you have plenty of fuel, charcoal, or pellets, and start small by giving the grill a test run before your guests arrive. When it’s time to start grilling for a crowd, go for a medley of meats and veggies to accommodate every palate.
- Spring Flowers Are a Must — No springtime gathering is quite complete without fresh-cut or potted flowers straight from the garden. Make sure to incorporate tulips, daffodils, hyacinths, and other spring blossoms into your décor. Whether by tying single clipped blooms to your flatware bundles or dressing the tabletop to the bottom in large vases or linear containers of fresh-cut blooms, you simply can’t skip the flowers! You can also give them as favors for guests to take home.
- Go for Large-Batch Beverages — If you don’t already own a large beverage server, now is the time to make your big investment. At this time of year, you’ll need at least two — one for water flavored with fresh fruit or cucumbers and one for large-batch cocktails or punch. Whether you go alcoholic or not, make sure to incorporate flavors of the season into your drinks. Rhubarb, berries, honey, and herbs are ideal beverage enhancements!
- Stock the Cooler with Drinks — Coolers have come a really long way with regard to technology. They effectively serve as outdoor refrigerators that will keep your beverages and snacks cold for several days at a time. Make sure to stock the cooler with plenty of ice, water, and beverages. If you’ve invited kids or a particularly rowdy group of adults, it’s best to eliminate glass containers where possible. Stick to aluminum cans or plastic bottles in the cooler.
As with any other get-together, achieving the perfect spring gathering comes down to a little bit of prep and planning. The key is to stay ready for whatever the most unpredictable season throws your way, whether it be rain, wind, or even snow. As long as you keep the unexpected in mind, you’ll be able to host like a pro any time of year.