Tips for Planning the Perfect Outdoor Dinner Party

Hosting a dinner party on your deck is a great way to bring friends and family together. However, you might feel pressure to make sure it goes off without a hitch. Impress your guests by following these helpful tips for planning the perfect outdoor dinner party:

Clean and Prep the Deck

No one wants to dine on a dirty deck. Clean it up and make any repairs before setting up the table. Sweep away leaves, dirt, and other debris. Wipe down the table and chairs to remove built up dust and pollen. Finally, go around and check the deck railings for loose connections, splintered wood, or other issues. You may find a few spots that need quick repairs to ensure they’re safe.

Accommodate Everyone

Get your guest list nailed down early so that you know you have enough seats to accommodate everyone. It would be awkward to be short of chairs once your guests go to sit down to eat. Since deck dinner parties are casual in nature, having matching seats shouldn’t matter. Make it a mix of stools, benches, lounge chairs, and whatever else you have available.

Add Lighting

Keep in mind that at some point, the sun will set on your dinner party. Keep it well-lit with outdoor lighting that enhances the atmosphere. Lanterns and tea lights are ideal for the table. String up a strand of white bistro lights around the perimeter of the deck for a stylish touch.

Simple Setting

Keep the table setting simple so that the good company and the food are the focus. Since you’re dining outdoors, you don’t want to have to keep getting up to get food from the kitchen. Plenty of table space for serving dishes is essential. Little details like fresh flowers and tea lights are easy ways to dress up the table without adding too much and taking up a lot of valuable space.

Food Matters

Since guests are coming to eat, the food that you serve matters. Opt for picnic style options that are easy to dish out and don’t depend on a certain temperature. You want to enjoy the party, not spend most of the time in the kitchen prepping and cooking. Try to keep it as simple as possible while still serving up something delicious.

Cold Drinks Close By

Bring a cooler filled with ice onto the deck so that drinks are readily available. For wine bottles, keep them chilled in a wine bucket on the table. Prepare a batch of fresh sangria or fruit punch in a sleek glass dispenser that can sit next to a bucket of ice. The less that guests have to get up to refill their glasses, the better.

Enhance the Atmosphere

At an outdoor party, the atmosphere can be just as important as the food. Bring out portable speakers and have music playing softly in the background. Even though you’re outdoors, don’t let bugs spoil the setting. Use citronella candles and torches to ensure that bugs will back off.


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