It’s your turn to host the annual summer BBQ and you’re at a loss as to how to throw a memorable outdoor party on your patio that will have the neighbors talking all year. You’ll need to coordinate a lot of different elements into your party and keep them going strong all day and into the night. From delicious food and bubbly drinks to spot-on music and festive decorations your party will be a hit if you use these suggestions.

Beautiful Buffet

Food is the centerpiece of any party, so your focus should be on not only preparing and serving yummy treats, but also presenting them in a way that is most conducive to easy organization. Good Housekeeping suggests placing food and supplies in a certain order at the buffet table so guests can easily serve themselves. Line up the plates first, followed by the sides, buns, meats, fixings, and flatware last. At another central location place an extra set of napkins, seasonings, and condiments such as salt and ketchup for those occasions when guests need to get up quickly and just grab a couple of items. It’s also a good idea to have extra lighting ready to go for when nightfall hits. There’s nothing worse at a party than when the guests get a second wind for more food and can’t see what they’re putting on their plates.

How To Host A Patio Party

Delish Drinks

To quench party goers’ thirst quickly and efficiently, Good Housekeeping suggests incorporating a beverage station separate from the food where guests can mix drinks and mingle.You’ll need to stock the area with plenty of cups, straws or stirrers, bottle openers and corkscrews, and ice in a separate container from the one where you throw the soda and beer. This is ideal for guests who need clean ice for their cocktails. Martha Stewart advises placing the punch bowl in its own ice bucket. This avoids watering down drinks with already-melting ice cubes. Simply slip one glass container inside another and position the ice cubes between them. Not only does it look good, it will pack more punch and up the staying power of your drinks. For all those guests that are tempted to toss their empty aluminum soda cans into the trash, place a clearly-marked recycle bin nearby.

Decorating your Space

If you don’t have any patio furniture or just not enough to accommodate your guests, bring your indoor furniture outside for the day. HGTV encourages you to bring your dining table, chairs, china, glasses and utensils outdoors to turn any patio party into a fine-dining experience for your guests.

Choosing a color theme for your party is easy. HGTV advises that the same rule of three main colors that applies to indoor color schemes also applies to outdoor patio parties, so choose three of your favorite colors and integrate that palette throughout the party. Coordinate accessories such as napkins, plates, place cards, paper pom-poms, pennants or balloons to match your color palette and make the whole space more inviting.

You can throw a beautiful backyard bash that will wow your family and friends. Just add in a little creativity and a spark of imagination!

This article was written by Jules Parmer, who loves hosting guests all year round.  She recommends patio covers in Houston, Texas and a couple of outdoor propane heaters for this time of year, but says go ahead and have your party outside for a change.