don’t make these 7 outdoor entertaining mistakes
Take these tips to heart—before the party starts.
Creating Awkward Silence
Music keeps the energy of a party going, and nothing kills that energy faster than a radio that runs out of power, a crummy bluetooth connection, or an extension cord that doesn’t stretch far enough. Be sure to stock up on batteries and test your speakers bluetooth or wi-fi signal range so guests can hear the music. Have a backup plan in case the Internet (or power!) goes out.
Boring the Kids
Water balloons and hide-and-go-seek are great, but kids can be fickle, so have several ideas at the ready when they inevitably announce their boredom. Many outdoor games, like “Red Light, Green Light,” can be played outside without equipment and in large or small numbers.
Forgetting Grown-Up Fun
They may not want to climb trees, but many adult guests still have the most fun when active. Games such as badminton, croquet, charades or even table games like cards are great ways to keep the competitive or sporting types engaged. They also make for good diversions if the conversation stalls.
Assuming They’ll Come Prepared
For some guests, simply knowing the date and address of the party is an achievement. Don’t expect them to remember their own sunglasses, sunscreen, and mosquito repellent. Keep a supply of each when you create a little comfort station so under-equipped partygoers can avoid getting sunburns and mosquito bites.
Clumping Everyone Together
While you can’t control the size of your outdoor party space, you can arrange seating in a way that suggests people mingle in large and small groups. A table that seats six or eight away from smaller tables and couplings of lawn chairs invites guests to visit with smaller or larger groups, whichever they might prefer.
Staying Too Busy
The host and hostess set the tone, so it’s important not be preoccupied with running the show. Stay relaxed, light, and interested in your company, and they will respond in kind. Busying yourself with logistics and trying too hard to entertain everyone can backfire and make guests nervous or feel pressured to relieve you of your hosting duties.
Blaming It on the Rain
Sure, Mother Nature can put a damper on things, but she doesn’t decide which parties succeed and which don’t. Have a rain plan to ensure guests stay dry—and entertained—if the weather doesn’t cooperate. If your group is large, consider renting lawn tents. Otherwise, designate indoor space where grownups can mingle, and a play area for the kids.