Keys to Common Sense Outdoor Partying
When you’re setting up for a barbecue or outdoor party at your home, it’s not so much about positioning furniture; it’s about the needs for a party that’s taking place outside. Simply put, if you take people outside, you’ve got to make sure you take care of them outside. Here are the keys to more successful outdoor entertaining, recommended by David Fuller of John-William Interiors. As it turns out, deliberation is just as important as décor.
You may be busy cooking at the grill, but you what you don’t want is to keep your guests cooking in the Texas sun all afternoon while waiting for their plates. Get some umbrellas or an awning to keep your family, friends and loved ones cool and comfortable. Another cool tip? Adjust the awning’s angle with the sun to keep everyone in the shade throughout the party.
Use TV TraysThe TV tray was not only created for the family room or man cave—it makes a great accessory for barbecues. Instead of having guests balance barbecue and beer on their knees, get a dozen TV trays or so and keep them in your garage for entertaining. Trays with laminated tops are especially great for barbecue, and trays with large tops are great for kids to share. (Or maybe even one guest, who’s dealing with two plates). You can also rent extra tables or borrow a folding table from a neighbor. Know how many people are coming in all and plan accordingly. Comfort is the key.
Cool It Down
Whether your guests prefer lemonade, iced tea, beer, soda or sangria, keep your bottled and canned beverages cold with style. And ice. Just get yourself a wash bucket, a galvanized pail or even an old- fashioned or rustic tub, then fill it with ice for the beverages. A word to the wise: tie down the bottle opener next to the ice tub or bucket. The last person to use the opener tends to wander off with it, or set it in a clandestine and barely-visible location like behind the punch bowl or in their pocket. Tie it down by the ice, and people can open their beverages right there.
(You can also use separate metal trays full of ice to keep your potato salad cooler, longer).
This is Austin, and it’s really hot. An oscillating fan does a great job of spreading the air around outside, keeping everyone cool. If it has enough turbulence, it’s also great at keeping the flies and mosquitos away, which brings us to our next point…
One of the most important things to do before outdoor entertaining, especially in Austin, is to have your yard sprayed for mosquitos. This is both for comfort and safety, especially for guests with kids, and it’s easy to have done.
Protect The Goods
If you buy really good outdoor furniture, some guests aren’t going to want to sit on it, because they’ve got barbecue in their hands and don’t want to damage it. Fortunately in this modern age, there are solutions, literally. For example, Sunbrella® is a solution-dyed acrylic fabric, designed in such a way that if you get something on it, it just hoses right off— from fruit punch to barbecued wings. Sunbrella® is available at John-William Interiors on both interior and outdoor furniture. With white fabric being the “in” thing in outdoor furniture today, this is a great way to keep your stylish furniture clean as new.
The take home? When hosting, consider your guests first. Think function before enjoyment, get your entertaining space set for that function, and finally, enjoy. Everyone at your party just wants to talk, eat and be outside. Using these common sense tips, you can make sure they can do all three, comfortably.