It’s true. Aussies sure love to stitch up the perfect outdoor event and we’re very good at it. We’re masters at cooking the perfect steak and chilling our beer ‘just so’ while we relax outside on the outdoor furniture we’ve worked hard for. We’re also great at whipping up cheese platters and starting witty conversations about every topic imaginable. We’ll spill those stories until the early hours of the morning. We love to laugh, live large and let it all out.
Australia sure is a great place to live, especially on a hot summer’s night with a whole evening to relax and in the company of our “besties.”
But here’s the thing:
Some Aussies let their show down by forgetting a few simple aesthetics that can really make the difference between a ‘great night’ and an ‘unforgettable’ night. And, if you’ve ever been to or held such a party, you’ll know you nailed it because people will continue to talk about your party for many years to come. Others will ‘take a leaf out of your book’ at their next party. They’ll thank you for the great party ideas such as the marshmallow skewers or the inspirational creative costumes you wore at your last themed party. Parties are great how they give back like that.
There are some things I believe are key to the perfect summer outdoor party. Here’s a list from my own private ‘list of party essentials’ that have made our parties popular over the years.
1. Create a quirky, interesting twist on normal food
I love to skewer things and people have loved this idea at my parties. I skewer all kinds of food items like marshmallows (and place them around the house in vases), fruit, vegetables, meat and much more. What I love about skewers – is that they look great even if you are putting super cheap ingredients on the skewer. People also love them because they’re hygienic and easy to carry while at an event. They also don’t get their fingers too sticky. These are always a hit at my parties.
2. Make your outdoor zone both comfortable and stylish
Invest in gorgeous outdoor furniture that will last the test of time. Make sure the furniture is durable and comfortable as well as stylish. Consider a great outdoor settee (think ‘The Block TV Show’) as well a beautiful outdoor table. Comfortable guests who feel treated in terms of ‘style’ and ‘comfort’ will thoroughly enjoy their night. It’s nice to make guests feel as though they’re dining out in a hotel lobby or a city bar. It’s great to be able to create that kind of ambience without leaving home.
Think cool furniture like this:
5. White Fairy Lights
One of my super cheap and cute tricks at a party are white fairy lights. I will throw fairy lights on the dining table to give the evening an instant feel of glamour and style. IMPORTANT: Use the BATTERY OPERATED kind – so guests don’t electrocute themselves if they spill a drink!
6. Create ambience with music
I can’t believe the number of gatherings I’ve been to where the gift of music is simply forgotten. Please don’t forget music. Start the evening off with some light, easy listening (lounge or jazz etc) and then move into heavier dancing music later on. Make sure music is playing when your guests arrive. Do not make music an ‘afterthought’ and always create a playlist ahead of time. If you don’t have time consider using a digital radio attached to speakers tuned to a cool station like Koffee.com.au. Such stations offer awesome music you can play all night long that will surely impress your guests.
7. Invite the right people
In terms of people, I’ve always believed quality is better than quantity. People really make a party. I’d rather sit around that lovely dining table I invested good money in with people who matter. Pick people you love to hang out with, who make you laugh and offer you good advice and kindness. Ditch anyone who has ever put you down, laughed at you, turned out to be false, stolen your ideas and are only self-interested. These kinds of people are not friends and not worth the time or money you’re spending on them. Be strict with this. Life is far too short to suffer friends who are not on your side.
8. Pot-luck party food and BYO alcohol
If you are on a low budget but would like to treat your friends to a great party consider a pot-luck party. People are usually happy (and would prefer) to bring something along so don’t be afraid to ask. Aside from the offering of a slab of beer or some Champagne for the ladies, make your party BYO. This way you won’t break the bank. If you’re event is hosting families (including kids) definitely go pot-luck – as kids really ramp up the numbers and parties can become very expensive if you have to feed all adults and their kids.
9. Photo booth
With social media being so popular Photo Booth’s are becoming increasingly well liked at parties and weddings. It’s easy to create a cool photo booth with a simple piece of cardboard with a rectangle cut out in the middle of it. You can even buy Photo Booth kits at $2 shops or online these days that include cool masks and hats for your guests to pick out of.
Here’s the kind of fun I’m talking about:
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