5 Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

by Alli

It’s time to take it outdoors! Haven’t we been cooped up inside way too long? I don’t know about you, but I’m so over being inside. These 5 Outdoor Entertaining Ideas will help you throw the perfect party (even if it’s just for your immediate family. 

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Spring has sprung and it’s outdoor entertaining time. Can I get a witness? It’s time to hit the deck, make sure the grill is cleaned and get ready for some outdoor entertaining ideas!

Whether you are planning a small intimate date night outdoors or having the entire family or neighborhood drop-in (yikes!), or celebrating a special occasion (graduation, bridal/baby shower, going away party, etc.), here are some ideas I think you’re going to like!


5 Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

1.  Ditch the plain, boring paper plates.

I love melamine and bought these at World Market. They might get a little pricey if you need to buy a large number of pieces.

I also spotted some beautiful ones on Amazon. I wish I had seen them first! These floral plates are gorgeous. You can also find striped, rustic, or just about any pattern you want. 

If you want to stick with paper plates for easy cleanup, go beyond the plain and boring and add a pop of color! Make sure you grab the heavy-duty kind. 

2.  Keep it simple and low key.

 You don’t have to stress over the meal. Plan a simple menu and let the grill do all of your work!  

Check out my perfectly cooked steaks! But you can go way beyond the beef! The veggies can be cooked on the grill, too. Even dessert can be grilled! Here are 17 irresistible grilled desserts!

A fish fry is a little more prep work, but, honestly, the outside deep fryer does all the work! Find the best-fried fish in the world right here! Or keep it ultra-healthy and grill your fish.

When cooking outdoors, my menu usually consists of a freshly prepared salad, main dish meat, a starch, assorted beverages, and a dessert. Sometimes, if I’m feeling especially festive, I’ll have an appetizer – usually an antipasto platter.  My favorite is Ina Garten’s!

3.  Prep your yard and clean the house!

Mow the lawn and tidy up the landscaping. Also, unless you have an outdoor pool house with a bathroom, make sure the house is clean. I always do the deep cleaning a few days in advance and then on the day of the party, I hit the high spots!

Keep Bugs Away When Entertaining Outdoors

Make sure you have these beautiful citronella candles to keep unwanted pests away. These candles have come a long way, baby. They are no longer bland and boring. 

  • Mint will also help keep the flies away! Use pots of mint as part of your decor. It’s beautiful and smells good. 
  • Mosquitoes hate citrus peel. Use citrus peel as part of your decor by scattering them among your centerpiece for a rustic look.
  • Lavender repels spiders, mosquitoes, and moths.  
  • Set up a couple of oscillating fans to keep bugs at bay.
  • Reusable popup mesh screen food covers help keep bugs away from the food. 
  • I’ve heard that dryer sheets tucked under the dining table legs will keep ants away. Hey, it’s worth a try. 

4.  Decorate with cuttings from your yard.

It’s pretty! It’s free! What more could you ask for?

I have knockout roses and hydrangeas starting to bloom. Either of these flowers works perfectly for a centerpiece. 

hydrangeas - perfect centerpiece for outdoor dining ideas

5.  If you feel too overwhelmed, host a pot-luck.

Of course, this is a tip for once the world opens back up. Have everyone bring a dish. It’s helpful to specify dessert, side dish, etc. so that everyone doesn’t bring dessert. Of course, that would be fine by me! And ask your BFF to come over early and help set up.

The outdoor party that I’m featuring here is an intimate party for my husband and me. And I decided to celebrate our love of the Caribbean with a tropical party. 

Hey, if you can’t get to your favorite island anytime soon, you can dream while you’re celebrating at home. 

Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

When it comes to an island party, I like to use tropical colors, with blue and lime green being my feature colors.  Then I add in a splash of orange and yellow.

I like to mix patterns. But if you don’t, go with what you love! 

Five Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Notice that the place cards/napkin holders/party favors are luggage tags. I just inserted our names written on colored paper into the luggage tag on top of the plastic insert.

The luggage tags are very inexpensive. Amazon has so many different styles and colors to choose from. 

Five Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Special Note:  I never write my home address or phone number on my luggage tag.  I use my cell number and my website address. Why bother at all? It’s just easier to locate my checked luggage as it comes off the conveyor belt and I may gain a new fan of my blog!  

Want more packing tips?  Here’s my top 10 packing list!

Outdoor Entertaining

Shop The Look For Outdoor Entertaining Ideas 

Plates/Napkins/Bowls/Lime, Blue Sodas/Straws – World Market

PlaceMats/Citronella Candles – I grabbed these at The Dollar Tree. You can also find beautiful placemats and candles on Amazon. These washable woven vinyl placemats look like linen. 

Table Runner – I love this table runner

Luggage Tags – Amazon.com

Flowers – Walmart

Outdoor Entertaining

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Oh, wait!  Don’t forget the music!  You must have summer music playing in the background!

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