Monday, 6 July 2015

Outdoor Entertaining Tips - The Basics for Organising a Successful and Memorable Event

*This post is brought to you in collaboration with Super AMart.

Despite it being winter, it doesn't have to be a time to be stuck indoors when it comes to entertaining.

It can be quite refreshing to spend time outside regardless of the seasons - never more so than if you have kids. Children and outdoor spaces are a perfect match and arranging an event specifically in your garden ensures they will be happy, exercised and out of trouble while protecting your valuable interiors!

Social events held outdoors can be a fun way to entertain both your own family and your guests. Getting outside provides the benefits of good natural lighting, fresh air and space and gives you and your friends a chance to relax and admire your home and garden from its exterior, all the while allowing you to create some memorable moments together.

Creating a fabulous outdoor entertaining area for events no matter what the scale is probably a dream most people share and it can be possible to achieve on any budget with a bit of planning and lots of creative flair.

Here are some basic planning tips to make your next outdoor event an entertaining success:

Invitations: Depending on the size and importance of your intended event, it may be necessary to send out 'save the date' notifications or actual invitations rather than just an email or a phone call closer to your intended event. Give people plenty of notice about an up and coming event. Make sure you make it weeks in advance to ensure most of your invitees are able to attend.

Is there a dress code for your event or other special feature your guests should be prepared for? (Such as bring your...(fill in the blank.) Provide as much information as you can on your invites and include anything visitors may need or wish to bring like a plate of food, beverages etc.

Decide on your entertainment area: Do you have a large balcony or a small patio? Any sized area can be adapted for an outdoor function. Consider the weather forecast on the day and try to prepare an area where guests can be sheltered from wind, rain or sun. This may mean leaving the doors to your home open so that people can easily retreat indoors if there's a shower or try providing a pop-up gazebo (sold in hardware stores) as a great alternative to offer some protection from the elements.

Make a beautiful entertainment space: The fun part! To entertain you will need a dining setting that's worthy of an event. Do you have a decent table and enough chairs to accommodate your guests? If not, visit a furniture store such as Super AMart for a range of outdoor furniture settings to fill your needs.

The Breeze 9 piece is an attractive neutral dining setting worthy of any event. Image source: Super AMart.
Otherwise, beg, borrow or steal from friends and family or good neighbours. A local op shop which sells furniture can be a great place to pick up some mismatched chairs which you can decorate with a coat of bright paint to make an odd piece, beautiful.

Decorate!: Easily the most exciting part in the lead up to any event, is the creative side - the sourcing and decorating stages - bring it on!

Decide on a decorating theme (Pinterest is brilliant for inspiration) and begin to hunt down some inexpensive treasures that will look impressive and add flair to your entertaining area. Try solar fairy lights or lanterns, candles, cushions, coloured linen tablecloths, napkins and funky crockery for starters. (I have a dedicated Pinterest board to get you started if you're stuck for ideas.)

Follow Six Little Hearts's board Exceptional Dining and Festive Occasion Decorating Ideas on Pinterest.
Stores such as Typo are a great place to shop for accessories to lift your surrounds as well as Spotlight for inexpensive fabrics and craft items to help you DIY. If you're truly crafty, you can make your own vases, placemats etc. and get the kids involved too for some extra fun.

Feed your guests: Menu plan according to the season. Obviously a barbeque works well at any time of the year. For winter, consider making a big batch of soup to serve and offer small hot treats such as sausage rolls, pies and dips with biscuits and vegetables as well as hot beverages. Consider your vegetarian guests too and prepare at least one or two hot serves for them in addition to the regular menu.

Using a punch bowl is a fabulous way to serve a range of beverages to many guests as well as making a great table centrepiece.

Deal with Nature: Provide a bit of comfort where you can in-line with the season. Remember to have sunscreen handy and insect repellent. A patio heater of some sort will help keep guests warm as will a brazier (you can pick these up quite inexpensively at hardware stores and they look fantastic).

Don't forget the kids!: To really ensure all of your guests have a wonderful and relaxing time, make sure the kids have plenty of things to do so that they leave the grown-ups alone and can play independently. This may be the most important step of all!

Set up an area specifically for the kids where they are visible and well-supervised by everyone. (Share the load!) Provide plenty of outdoor toys, games, food and drinks for the little people. Check around your garden for any areas of danger and make them safe prior to your event so that kids of all ages can run-free. Remember too, that parents of younger children will very much appreciate locked gates!

Do you entertain outdoors often, regardless of the time of year?
Is there anything you would add to this list of suggestions?
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  1. Great tips Jody and a BIG reminder to me that I have entertained here for ages! Well - apart from family events. I really should have a DO with friends - just coz!! :-)

  2. Yes something for the kids is something people forget and it is so important in order to be able to consume your wine!!! Thanks for the tips - love it

  3. Entertaining outside for us at the moment, is entertaining in the shed where there is a fireplace where we toast marshmallows! It is so cold! Looking forward to the warmer months :)


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