5 simple tips to ensure your outdoor party goes off without a hitch

Hosting the perfect outdoor gathering can feel daunting. Swimply compiled a list of tips to throw an excellent outdoor party, using various sources.


People sitting on a lawn.

Ground Picture // Shutterstock

It's that time of the year again. As the seasons transition and temperatures rise, outdoor party season emerges with an irresistible allure, beckoning people to embrace the atmosphere of al fresco celebrations. There's something about gathering beneath the open sky, surrounded by friends and loved ones that simply can't be replicated indoors.

With such a big task, though, a lot can be forgotten, so Swimply compiled a list of practical tips from various sources so you can host a hitch-free outdoor party that checks all the boxes. Whether it's a casual backyard barbecue, a festive birthday bash, a lively summer gathering with friends, or a romantic evening under the stars, the possibilities for outdoor celebrations are as endless as the horizon itself.

Outdoor parties offer a unique experience that captivates the senses—the fresh air, the open space, the natural ambience of an inviting atmosphere—where guests can relax and socialize freely. Among the timeless traditions of outdoor gatherings, barbecues reign supreme as a quintessential symbol of summer revelry. The sizzling meats on the grill, the tantalizing aroma of barbecue sauce, and the laid-back climate of backyard lounging evoke a sense of nostalgia and comfort that transcends generations.

Similarly, spring and summer birthdays find their perfect backdrop in outdoor settings, where the beauty of lush grass adorned with colorful decorations, provides a picturesque scenery for the laughter of friends and family echoing amidst a warm, sun-kissed day. It's a celebration of life's simple pleasures, where guests can unwind, connect, and create cherished memories.

The possibilities for planning an outdoor event allow for creative themes and decor, making them a popular choice for memorable occasions. However, there are a lot of moving parts, and hosting the perfect outdoor gathering can feel daunting, so here are a few things to keep in mind to keep the party going smoothly.

Have a plan B for different kinds of weather woes

A backyard party set up near a pool with a tent and lights.

aon168 // Shutterstock

We all know the weather can change without warning. Given the unpredictable nature of outdoor settings, it's always a good idea to prepare for different weather possibilities and have a backup plan. "We think about a rain plan, wind plan (for certain regions), heat plan and smoke plan," Hallea Tse of Hallea Events in Seattle told the Knot. Renting a tent or canopy offers protection against rain or excessive sunlight, ensuring the party can proceed uninterrupted.

Additionally, securing an indoor backup space guarantees that festivities can continue seamlessly in case of adverse weather conditions. Having a thoughtful plan not only alleviates stress but also demonstrates foresight and consideration for your guests' comfort.

Mix and match seating for maximum lounging

People sitting in lawnchairs.


Comfortable seating arrangements are paramount for fostering a welcoming and enjoyable atmosphere at outdoor gatherings.

Opt for versatile options such as folding chairs, picnic blankets, and outdoor cushions to accommodate guests of varying ages and preferences. If you don't have enough of your own, The Spruce recommends borrowing from friends or shopping at flea markets for good bargains. Strategic placement of seating areas encourages social interaction and facilitates a relaxed ambiance while maximizing space.

Providing shade options like umbrellas and gazebos ensures guests can seek refuge from the sun and remain comfortable during the event. Prioritizing comfort will have your guests lounging for hours.

Light the way

Party lights with people having dinner in the background.


Enhance the ambiance of your outdoor party with strategic lighting arrangements that illuminate the space and create a warm, inviting atmosphere. Incorporate string lights, lanterns, and candles to add a magical glow to the surroundings and extend the festivities into the evening hours.

Don't forget to illuminate pathways and key areas to ensure guests can navigate safely and comfortably after dark, Rachael Ellen of Rachael Ellen Events reminded Brides magazine.

Ignite the senses with an outdoor fire pit—just make sure the propane tanks are full or the wood is ready to go. Who doesn't love a crackling fire?

Remember food safety

Large metal food warmers on a table outdoors.

satit sewtiw // Shutterstock

When serving food outdoors, it's crucial to prioritize food safety to prevent foodborne illnesses. Keep perishable items stored in coolers or refrigerated containers until serving time. Place serving dishes in bowls of ice so they stay chilled and strategically place the food station in a shaded area. Hot foods should be placed in slow cookers or warming trays to keep warm.

Opt for food covers to protect dishes from pesky insects. Mesh ones typically keep even the smallest of fruit flies at bay, but make sure to get covers of various sizes to accommodate different types of dishes.

Additionally, promptly put away or discard any leftovers to prevent spoilage.

Provide entertainment options

A red, white and blue cornhole game.

Mark Rossbach // Shutterstock

Keep guests entertained and engaged with various outdoor activities and entertainment options. Incorporate interactive activities like lawn games, scavenger hunts, or charades to encourage socialization and friendly competition. Consider hiring live musicians or a DJ to provide music that compliments the mood.

A curated playlist—amplified on a Bluetooth speaker—is budget-friendly and enhances the overall experience. On the other hand, if budget isn't as much of a concern, a photo booth tailored to the event's theme always brings everyone together for the perfect shot.

Story editing by Carren Jao. Copy editing by Paris Close. Photo selection by Lacy Kerrick.

This story originally appeared on Swimply and was produced and distributed in partnership with Stacker Studio.