Entertaining: Five Tips for Easy Outdoor Parties

With the summer months coming to a close, the days are about to get shorter and—mercifully—cooler in Southwest Florida, which means we’ll soon be heading outdoors for the sorts of backyard parties and family gatherings that seasonal visitors spend lots of money to experience. Here are five tips for easy outdoor entertaining—no big budgets, party planners or decorators required.

You’re never too old to play lawn games. Drag out that old Twister mat, repurpose your beach bocce or pick up a croquet set—they’re great icebreakers for guests who haven’t met to get to know each other, and everyone loves revisiting childhood favorites.

Seating is important and something that you may not have enough of on hand unless you regularly host at-home gatherings. Rather than resorting to folding chairs that cheapen the look of your setting—and that you then have to store—consider renting some for the day. Taylor Rental has plenty of styles to choose from, and they’ll deliver and pick up, too.

Decorations don’t have to be expensive to look expensive. Head to the party aisle at Target—or even the Dollar Store—and stock up on monochromatic paper lanterns, straws, cocktail napkins and other decor for a simple but chic aesthetic. Or, in lieu of tablecloths, opt for large sheets of brown craft paper, which make cleanup a breeze, too.

Bugs are inevitable in Southwest Florida. Instead of smelly sprays or citronella candles, place fans strategically around the perimeter of the space. Mosquitos don’t like flying in breezy areas, and they’ll give your guests a spot to cool off if the weather is less than seasonable.

Get creative with your drink selections! In addition to beer, water and other bottled drinks—which can be self-served out of a metal bucket or other oversized container—offer mix-your-own cocktail options by infusing simple syrups with raspberries, mint, basil and other fruits and herbs, then serve with seltzer, iced tea and vodka or gin.

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