The Best Excuse for Backyard Entertaining is Here!
Canada Day is happening this Friday, July 1st, and Independence Day is on July 4th in the US. These national holidays are synonymous with backyard entertaining, and we’ve got a few tips to help make hosting at your house easier.
Food & Drink
The heart of backyard entertaining is the menu. Take the guesswork out of how much potato salad you’re going to need with this simple rule of thumb:
- Burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, desserts – 1 ½ servings per guest
- Salads and sides – 1 ½ cups per guest
- Drinks – 1 ½ per hour, per guest
Real Simple has a handy BBQ Calculator to make planning easier.
If you are hosting a larger gathering of 20 or more, think bulk and big batch. Make lots of large salads and sides, and serve up pitcher style cocktails at a drink table. Talk about effortless! Mix up your favorite 2-3 ingredient summer thirst quencher to ensure the drinks keep flowing with the least amount of effort.
When it comes to glass and dinnerware, keep it laid back. Unless you are entertaining royalty, don’t be afraid to set out an eclectic mix of styles and patterns for a relaxed feel. If you don’t have enough to go around, get a large set of inexpensive plain white dishes that will go with everything on the table.
We’ve all been there – more guests than places to sit. The quick fix is to recruit your indoor furniture for the day. Dining room chairs are the obvious, but stools and poufs can also work. If you’re keeping things really casual, using blankets and throw pillows for picnic style groupings is a fun option as well.
Renting is also a great way to go. Folding chairs can be low as $2 each, and vendors often have other backyard entertaining staples available. Outdoor speakers, coolers, and even a bigger grill are great if you’re going big. Many vendors offer delivery and pick up as well.
Lighting & Warmth
If you plan to keep the party going after the sun goes down, ambient lighting and something to take the chill off is critical.
Add some warm white string lights for the perfect summer evening ambience. Hang them on the deck, fence, or even in the trees. For smaller gatherings, hurricane lanterns and tealights in mason jars turn up the cozy to eleven!
Make some throw blankets available for laps and shoulders to keep everyone comfortable as the evening cools off. Most of us have a collection of soft blankets and throws that are perfect for an evening outside.
A firepit or an outdoor fireplace is the perfect way to take the chill out of the air. Both the Mahana and Divine series feature blowers to warm up those cool summer nights. If you prefer an open fire, the Montigo firepit comes standard in linear, round or square shapes, or can be customized to suit any dreams you have for your outdoor space.
Bugs. The ultimate party crashers. Keep bugs under control by removing any standing water where mosquitos breed the week before the party. Empty the kiddie pool, dump out any pots or containers with water in them, and take a quick tour of the yard to check for any pools of water. Having fans near the food can also help keep smaller pests at bay.
Music is a great way to create atmosphere but keep it simple with a five hour playlist. Most gatherings don’t last much longer than that, and if they do, no one will notice if the playlist rolls over. As for content, keep varying music tastes in mind. A list heavy with popular classics like Queen, Rolling Stones, Bowie, Stevie Wonder will appeal to many. Then pepper in some hits from different genres – disco dance, 80s new wave, 60s surf, and some current pop. The best playlist will be upbeat and varied.
Happy Canada Day / Independence Day
And there you have it. A few tips to make backyard entertaining a lot less stressful. These tips work for gatherings both big and small. The important thing is to stay safe and have fun!