Thinking about throwing a summer party? Worried about where to start? We’ve got some great tips (and a pinterest board too!) to help you through all the stages of planning. We also decided to go to the summer party experts at Loblaws Home Brands Summer Collections to get a few tips on what the best products would be to help out with a great summer party (trust us, these guys have summer down to a snap of the fingers).
Plan your menu. Most backyard summer parties are usually a barbeque meal followed by cake or ice cream, but you can certainly break from the norm and make your party completely different. Corn on the cob, salads, sandwiches and fish are all standard summer fare, combined or on their own. If you want lots of variety, don’t hesitate to ask guests to bring along a dish or a snack. If you prefer to take care of the mains, ask guests to bring drinks, sides or desserts.
|PC recommends these nifty Stacking Trays (Small $5, Medium $10, Large $14) for napkins, silverware, glasses and even food.|
Plan entertainment. Background music is nice but, unless all the guests know each other very well, it’s unlikely anybody will start dancing around the backyard. Instead of counting on music as the only means of entertainment, put out some games, like Twister or a plastic bowling set, croke, hula hoops or even organize a game of baseball or soccer if you have enough space (or access to a nearby park or field).
Plan for surprises. Rain, extreme heat, guests not showing up, boredom and even mosquitoes can all ruin your party and make guests leave early. Having a plan, such as a large patio umbrella or an open room ready to host guests in case of rain, can save a summer party. Simple things such as buying mosquito repellents (either candles or electric equipment) and putting out some games can also help.
|PC recommends one of their colourful umbrellas (10’ round, off-set [$99] or the 8’ stand-up style [$39]) to keep guests out of the sun or the rain at your party.|
Plan seating and surfaces. Relocate indoor furniture, like benches or stools, and camping gear, like folding chairs or tables (cover up less comfortable or attractive pieces with cushions and fabric). Skip the disposable utensils, too: Use durable everyday dishes and cutlery, parking trays to catch cleared plates next to trash cans. Finally, set up buffet-style food and drink stations, and the party will run itself.
|PC recommends a few of these Teragear Muskoka Chairs ($69), an Ottoman or two ($29), a Bench ($99) and perhaps one or two Folding Side Tables ($29) to help with seating and surfaces. All are available in red, navy, green, cement and unfinished.|
Position your buffet under an overhang or umbrella to protect it from the elements. Then order its contents this way for easy cruising: plates, sides, buns, meats, fixings, and flatware; place an extra set of seasonings (salt, ketchup, etc.) at a central location elsewhere for guests’ mid-meal adjustments. (Note: If perishable foods aren’t gobbled up in an hour, swap them out with a fresh supply.) Come sundown, have lights nearby so folks can see as they serve.
A beverage station separate from the food lets guests mix drinks and mingle. Stock the bar with cups, straws (to double as stirrers), and plenty of ice — a large metal pail will keep bottles and cans frosty, but consider an insulated or lidded cooler for ice used in drinks. Prevent cocktail-napkin flyaways with a well-placed corkscrew or bottle opener. Label a trash can by the bar so revelers can recycle before they replenish.
Plastic stick-on page markers (from office supply stores) make perfect drink labels (guests can jot their names on tags with a permanent marker, and the tags pull off quickly post-fete).
|Take a break from refreshing drinks and use PC’s Everyday Essentials Drink Dispenser ($15) and keep drinks cold without watering down the flavour with these awesome ice cubes.|
Plan for comfort. Help company stay comfortable outdoors all day — and into the night. Leave out amenities like sunblock, towels (if you have a pool or splash area for the kiddies) bug spray, hand wipes, and, if it might turn chilly, light blankets or extra sweaters/sweatshirts.
|What’s cuter than a kidlet wrapped up in a towel? A bunch of kidlets, all wrapped up in these adorable Jump Kids World Hooded Character Towels ($12 each).|
Plan for the party to go longer than you expect. If your guests are having a good time and everyone is getting along, the party may not end until the wee hours. It does get chilly at night and everyone loves to cuddle around a fire, so why not have a simple fire pit?
|PC has three sizes and styles of stand-alone Teragear fire pits (ranging in price from $39 – $149) for the backyard that will wow and bring everyone together to toast marshmallows at the end of the evening (and to toast you, the perfect host as well!).|
Plan not to spend too much. Backyard parties don’t have to cost an arm and a leg — the best part about them is that they’re outside.
Be sure to check out our pinterest board full of backyard party ideas and tips so you have all the Help! you need to start planning your own party (and don’t forget to invite us!).
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