Summer is the perfect time to host your next great outdoor event or gathering. Take advantage of all that summer has to offer by planning an outdoor event with plenty of activities and delicious food. Connect with friends and family, catch up with each other, and make memories that are sure to last a lifetime.
What Kind of Event Should I Plan?
Before making any big purchases or commitments, start by simply deciding what type of gathering you want to have. A few ideas might include:
- A barbecue
- A picnic
- A bonfire
- A pool party
- A birthday party
- A family reunion
- A lawn game party
- A holiday party
- An outdoor movie night
- Something else entirely!
Once you’ve decided on the type of event you want to host, start thinking about decorations and activities that will make it special. Ready to start planning more? Just keep reading this blog for some great tips and inspiration.
10 Great Outdoor Dining Ideas and Tips
Hosting an outdoor event this summer is an opportunity to connect with family and friends you might not have seen in a while, enjoy the sun, and simply just relax. To ensure your event is the best it can be, here are ten great outdoor dining ideas and tips!
1. Always Start By Planning Well In Advance
When hosting any outdoor event, it’s always a smart idea to plan ahead of time! This helps ensure you have enough time to manage important hosting elements like:
- Weather-related issues
- Scheduling conflicts
- Activities and themes
- The size of your party
- Potential catering needs
Taking into account these key factors helps ensure a smooth and stress-free outdoor event for you and your guests, so everyone can focus on enjoying themselves!
2. Consider Adding a Theme or Matching Decor
Get creative with decorations! Use colorful tablecloths, lanterns, and string lights to create a festive atmosphere for your guests. If you’re hosting holiday parties or a themed party, you can also hang festive banners and flags.
For example, for a beach or pool-themed party, you can add fun items like:
- Beach balls
- Inflatable pool toys
- Tiki torches
If you’re having a barbecue, consider setting up some lawn games like cornhole or horseshoes for guests to enjoy while they wait for their food. If you’re having a picnic, think about bringing out comfy lounge chairs or blankets for everyone to lounge around on while they chat and snack.
Consider adding some music too! Whether it’s live music from local musicians or just playing tunes through speakers set up around your outdoor space, having some background noise will keep everyone entertained throughout the day.
3. Be Sure to Purchase Outdoor Silverware and Dishes
Invest in quality serving pieces that are designed for outdoor use so they don’t break easily if dropped on hard surfaces like concrete or asphalt, so they don’t break if dropped. Materials like melamine or plastic are more durable than traditional glassware and offer a great outdoor dining option. Be sure to look for pieces that can be easily cleaned with soap and water, and that are dishwasher safe.
4. Keep Menu Items Simple and Easy-to-Serve
Choose menu items that are easy to prepare ahead of time so you can enjoy more time with your guests instead of spending all day cooking in the kitchen! A few tasty, easy-to-prepare items that are excellent for outdoor events include:
- Grilled Vegetable Skewers
- Marinated Chicken Breasts
- Baked Potato Salad
- Caprese Salad with Balsamic Glaze
- Grilled Corn on the Cob with Herb Butter
- Watermelon Feta Salad
- Barbecue Pulled Pork Sandwiches
- Mediterranean Pasta Salad with Olives and Feta Cheese
5. Don’t Forget About the Drinks!
Have fun with drinks! Offer signature cocktails or mocktails made from seasonal fruits like watermelon or strawberries for a refreshing summertime treat! Or set up an outdoor bar station with coolers full of ice-cold beverages so everyone can grab what they need without having to go inside every few minutes!
6. Follow All Food Safety Tips
Be sure to follow all safe food-handling practices to ensure no one gets sick at your event. A few good tips to remember when serving outdoor food are:
- Keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Use insulated coolers with ice packs to keep food chilled and use chafing dishes to keep hot food warm.
- Keep raw meat away from cooked and ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination that can lead to foodborne illness.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water before handling any food items!
- Avoid leaving perishable foods out in the sun for more than two hours (or one hour if the temperature is above 90°F) and discard anything that’s been out too long.
7. Don’t Forget About Shade and Seating
Make sure to have plenty of sunscreen and shade options available for guests who will be spending time outdoors. Areas like a covered patio or umbrella can be great options!
8. Have Blankets or a Firepit for Cold Nights
Don’t forget about comfort items like extra blankets and pillows in case it gets chilly outside at night. A cozy, crackling fireplace can also add a wonderful ambiance to any outdoor setting!
9. Set Up Lawn Games and Entertainment
Set up some lawn games like cornhole or bocce ball for some friendly competition! Or add some sprinklers or a wading pool for the kids and pets so that everyone can stay cool during the day while still having fun in the sun.
10. Consider a Caterer or Event Service
Take advantage of restaurants that offer outdoor dining options for family celebrations or parties. This can help reduce the stress of planning and preparing food for large groups. Catering your event with a trusted restaurant like Refuge110 can help ensure your event is truly one to remember!
Catering Your Event With Refuge110
Whether you’re hosting a sweet sixteen, birthday party, bar mitzvah, or something else, our friendly team here at Refuge110 can work with you to customize a menu that is sure to be perfect for your event. Contact us today to learn more about the catering services that we offer, or come give us a try by dining in at our restaurant or enjoying some takeout!