This post is sponsored by Enbrighten Café String Lights by Jasco. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
The past 2 months have been a blur. I helped my daughter plan an out-of-state wedding and wedding-day reception in April, which was beautiful. Everything went so much more smoothly than I could have expected.
But after the first reception was over, I was ready for a break. The thought of planning a local casual outdoor reception for May was causing me some unnecessary anxiety. Luckily, my husband stepped in and asked a caterer friend to be in charge of the food and again everything turned out better than I could have expected.
If you’re planning any outdoor entertaining this year, whether you’re having friends over for a barbecue or kids over for a birthday party, I’ve got 3 tips for making your get-together as enjoyable and headache-free as possible.
3 Tips for Enjoyable Outdoor Entertaining
Keep things simple – the most important elements for a successful outdoor party or get-together are good food and good friends. If you start with a good foundation, then it’s almost guaranteed that everything else will fall into place. And if it doesn’t? If the weather doesn’t cooperate or the food doesn’t turn out the way you’d hoped? The most important thing is time with friends.
I try to remember to keep my priorities straight and my expectations reasonable. For outdoor entertaining, I always try to plan foods that are easily eaten while standing around chatting. But most of all, when I keep things simple, I stress less, which makes everyone happier (but mostly me….and the host sets the tone for the whole party!)
Prepare for Mother Nature – when planning for a get-together outside, it’s hard to predict what Mother Nature will be up to. Scratch that. It’s impossible to know what the weather will be like. Whether you end up with the perfect summer night, you (and all of the food) is melting in the heat, or you’re running for cover when the rain hits, it’s important to have a back up plan and be flexible.
I like to keep foods and decorations ready to move at any time. When it’s hot, foods can be kept cold by placing smaller bowls inside larger bowls or tubs filled with ice (note: you’ll need to be prepared to refill the ice when it melts). Rainy evenings outside can still be enjoyable as long as you’ve got cover overhead.
Set the right ambience – just like I believe that foods should be kept simple, I am a fan of simple decor. But in the same token, a few simple decorations can set the mood and get your party started off on the right foot. My daughter’s casual outdoor wedding reception last month was held at a friend’s house. They’ve got a huge space – with an entire covered pavilion that is perfect for rain or shine (luckily, we had shine the entire night, until we cleaned up – and that’s when the rain started pouring!).
Because my kids have grown up having BBQs, pool parties, and summer camps at this same pavilion, I wanted to do a little something to dress the space up. I started by printing some pictures from their wedding just a few weeks before and hanging then on twine with clothespins. The second thing I did was hang LED café string lights along the ceiling of the pavilion. When the sun went down, the café string lights lit up the area perfectly and set a warm, inviting mood.
Enbrighten LED Café String Lights by Jasco are my new favorite instant-ambience tool! They can be hung indoors or outdoors…in fact, they are built to last year round with continuous outdoor use. They’re energy efficient and you never have to replace a bulb. And I can attest to the fact that they are sturdy!
I was slightly nervous about my teenage son and a friend putting the string lights up and taking them down on their own, but the claim on the box that the acrylic bulbs are impact resistant held true for us (ie, you can drop them, step on them, or leave them out in severe weather and they’ll be just fine).
Where would you use Café String Lights? Do you have an outdoor space that you would like to spruce up, or are you perhaps planning a bedroom makeover? Or maybe you’re having an outdoor get-together this summer like I just had last month. Whatever the occasion, Enbrighten LED Café String Lights by Jasco will be perfect. And guess what? You can win your very own set OR a room makeover by entering the contest on the widget below. See the widget for giveaway details…and good luck!
Find out more about these Café String Lights by Jasco at www.cafelights.com/ and follow them on Twitter and on Facebook
Enter to Win!
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Darlene W says
How illuminating, great for you and the hubby to sit in the backyard as well