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Archive for July 24th, 2012

 

The other day I was flipping through a magazine and saw an article about an event planner who hosted a party on her front porch.

What a fun idea!

I loved the thought of a casual gathering where people can come dressed for the summer season, sit back and relax with good food and great friends.

With your guests casually gathered outside, there is no need to worry about the dust bunnies hiding behind your couch or the wall in the kids room that really needs painted.  Just make sure your bathroom is sparkling and the kitchen is clean and you are ready to entertain!

Here are a few ideas to make the most of a party on your porch (or patio):

• Decorations – keep it simple. If you’ve already got pots of flowers outside on your porch, just leave them where they are. You can add a fresh bouquet to a table, if you like, but play off what you already have available.
String some fun lights along the edge of the porch and put flameless candles or lanterns around for some soft lighting if you plan to be out after the sun goes down. If you can, take time to sweep down the porch, remove any cobwebs and dust that may have accumulated and wipe down chair seats.

• Seating – create groupings of chairs and make sure you have enough places for everyone to sit. Some people might lean against a porch rail for a while, but eventually everyone will want to sit down. Kids can sit on porch steps if you are short on room or chairs.

•Invitations – send an email or make a phone call. No need to get fancy or formal. Make sure your guests know this is a super casual gathering.

• Food – serve finger foods.  These are easy for guests to nibble and pick at without being heavy. Don’t put your food all on one table. Use smaller tables and space them around the porch. You might have a beverage station, a dessert station, a table with cheese, fruit and crackers and another with meats and more filling appetizers like mini quiches or stuffed tomatoes. Keep cold foods chilled by placing trays or bowls in a container filled with ice. Use a child’s wagon, a galvanized tub, even a plastic storage tub will work. Just fill with ice and nestle in your serving pieces.

• Beverages – make this easy on you by offering just a couple selections. You could make a couple of pitchers of flavored ice tea like mint or lavender and serve along with ice water. Make sure you have plenty of ice. When you think you’ve got enough, add one more bag. Use a cooler, a bucket or metal tub filled with ice to keep bottled beverages cold. You can also use small canning jars and pour in a variety of drinks, like lemonade, juices or  tea, to offer a variety of choices without a lot of fuss or mess. Just screw the lids on the jars and let your guests select their favorite drink. Have plenty of chilled water on hand, be it bottles or pitchers.

• Extras – have a clean-up station set up with a dishpan for dirty dishes and utensils, a large garbage can and some paper towels or wet wipes for messy fingers. If you make it easy for guests to clean up after themselves, they generally will. Offer your guests a parting gift that is summer-themed, like some lemonade mix or a little bag of salt-water taffy.

Go on, invite some friends over for a super-easy, super fun porch (or patio) party soon. You’ll be glad you made the time to connect!

She Who Loves Porches

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