Outdoor Entertaining 101

Outdoor Entertaining Tips | A Well Crafted Party

Summer is here and as the temps are starting to increase, the parties are beginning to move outdoors! I personally love outdoor entertaining as it usually allows more guests to participate than my home does. Outdoor entertaining does come with its own special challenges including hot temps, bugs, and limited access to running water. Throwing a successful outdoor party just requires a little forethought and preparation.

Recently I visited Afternoon Live and shared my outdoor BBQ tips. The short segment didn’t quite cover all of my favorite outdoor entertaining tips. As I explored my past 700+ blog posts I realized that while I have shared several outdoor entertaining parties and tips, they have never been all in one place. See the segment below and read on for some outdoor entertaining tips that will make all of your summer parties safe and fun!



Outdoor Entertaining Tips:

One of the things that the show’s host, Tra’Renee asked me was how do I come up with my ideas, “Do you just sit around all day thinking of parties?” And, while that isn’t too far off from the truth, I do also work three jobs and have two kids! So, my party thoughts happen usually as I am doing something else. Like most of you, some of the ideas that I get stem off of something I’ve seen or read on blogs, sourced through Pinterest, Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. However, some of my ideas come from the action of throwing a lot of parties and finding solutions to problems that myself or my guests may have. Outdoor entertaining has a LOT of problems to solve which makes it even more fun to create ideas to solve those problems and make it look like part of the party!

Outdoor Entertaining Tip: Keep your outdoor entertaining supplies at your fingertips and in sight! It will inspire many more parties. | A Well Crafted Party

Get your summer entertaining supplies in sight and ready for use!

Part of the fun of summer for me is the ability to host a small soiree at the drop of a hat. Inviting my friends over for a quick Friday night meal or Saturday BBQ often happens around Thursday evening as I get off work. In order to host your own outdoor parties with ease and often, prepare your summer porch for entertaining or create an ‘outdoor entertaining space’ in your pantry to supply all the items you’ll need to host an impromptu summer get-together. I like to keep my outdoor dinnerware, citronella candles, and other such items together on a shelf or in a bin. Back when I had a covered outdoor porch I placed them all up on the shelves so I could see them and want to use them. Now I live in a smaller space and keep them in a tub on a shelf in my pantry. When the summer is over I’ll store them in my outdoor storage, but right now I want to see them front and center!

Sunscreen & Bug Spray Station | A Well Crafted Party

Make a Sunscreen & Bug Repellent Station for Guests

I don’t know about you, but sunburns and bug bites can ruin my outdoor fun. If I’m being totally honest with myself, I often don’t even think to grab my sunscreen and bug spray when heading out to a party. Since my skin cancer diagnosis I’ve been better about brining sunscreen, but even then I’ve forgotten at times! Having a station of bug repellent and sun screen for guests to use as they need it takes one more thing off of your guests ‘to remember’ plate and really allows them to have a good time. Usually, when I am hosting an event, I’ll also add a package of baby wipes for guests to clean their hands after applying sunscreen or bug repellent. I typically keep a variety of types of sunscreen and bug repellent so guests may have a choice, but feel fine with simply having one brand on hand. (Print off my free Sunscreen & Bug Repellent printables and set up your protectant station today!)

Favorite sunscreens: 

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  • Coola Suncare Sunscreen Spray in Pina Colada Scent: This sunscreen goes on light and not-too-oily. It smells AMAZING and it lasts a long time. Better yet, the Coola brand rated well on the EWG’s Best Sunscreen List.  (This Coola Travel Kit is on my summer must-buy list.)
  • Mineral Fusion Brush on Sun Defense: I hate putting on sunscreen AFTER I’ve put on my makeup. During the summer I put a base of sunscreen on before applying makeup. But, when it is time to reapply I don’t really feel like ruining my makeup. (Not a problem when swimming or hiking, but certainly a problem when outdoors for a work event.) This Brush on Sunscreen applies a thin layer of transparent powdered sun protection!
  • Natures Gate Face Sunscreen: I love spray sunscreen for getting my legs, arms, and hard to reach back area. However, I do NOT use spray sunscreen on my face. I use the Natures Gate Face Sunscreen because it goes on thick, but isn’t oily. I feel like I have a good layer of protection. It also rates well on the EWG’s Best Sunscreen List.
  • Babyganics Sunscreen for Baby: I like to use this brand for the kiddo as I’m not super confident that he isn’t breathing in the spray sunscreens. This one is the one we typically use and it also scored well on the EWG’s Best Sunscreen list.

Outdoor Entertaining Tip: Keep Cold Foods Cold and Hot Foods Hot! | A Well Crafted Party

Keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

I worked many, many years in the food industry. During my time I trained servers on many different topics including the importance of food safety. There is a phrase that is used a lot in the service industry called the “danger zone.” The danger zone refers to the temperatures that food-borne bacteria can grow. To keep everyone at your party safe you’ll want to really pay attention to how long food is sitting out and the temperature that the food is being stored at. The danger zone is in between 40 Degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (or 4 Degrees Celsius to 60 Degrees Celsius).

Tips to keep foods at optimum temperatures:

  • Serve cold foods on ice! You don’t want the ice to melt and get your food items all wet, so nest bowls or trays into a slightly larger bowl or tray that is filled with ice. In the bowls above I used two nesting pyrex dishes with the bottom bowl filled with an ice bowl. One cool trick is to put a little water in the larger bowl and freeze. Once frozen fill the bowl with more water, place the smaller bowl inside and then freeze again.
  • Cover food when not being served. This will help to maintain the temperature better than uncovered food.
  • Use inexpensive, but awfully handy, chafing dishes to keep your hot food hot. A chafing dish utilizes a water pan and can of sterno to help maintain the proper food temperature without cooking your food more than you’d like.

outdoor entertaining made easy | A Well Crafted Party

Make it easy for guests to gather and eat food

When eating at an outdoors BBQ event I often opt for lightweight dishware. Sometimes I’ll go the reusable route and use melamine dishware. Other times, especially when there is a larger party, I’ll use disposable products. When I want something a little different I’ll print off some food tray designs and fold up some custom food trays to serve hot dogs, sandwiches, burgers, etc.

Glass is basically a no-go at outdoor events now that I have kiddos. One broken glass and the party is basically over as everyone is on the ground picking up small shards to protect little feet.

What outdoor entertainment tips am I missing? What is your hard-fast rule for creating a great outdoor party? Comment below!


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Jenni is a freelance writer and media assistant based in Portland, OR. A Well Crafted Party is a blog about all the little things to celebrate in life. Follow Jenni or A Well Crafted Party with BlogLovin, RSS feed, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest.
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  1. Reply

    I love the sunscreen station idea because if there is one thing that we often forget is sunscreen when we go out!

    1. Jenni

      Exactly! Who thinks of it when going to a friends place for dinner? Not me!

  2. Reply

    I love infused water! So refreshing. And what a great idea to have a sunscreen station for guests at an outdoor event! I’m keeping that one in mind for the future!

    1. Jenni

      Oh! Great tip. Cucumber water is one of the most refreshing infusions I’ve ever had and it is SO nice on a hot day.

      1. Reply

        My favorite infusion is cucumber, blueberry, mint!
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  3. I LOVE the idea of a sunscreen station. I’m definitely including that in my kids’ birthday party next month. I also like a little ambient lighting – lanterns or candles. They make a party feel so special!

    1. Jenni

      I totally should have added that about ambient lighting… or heck, even lighting at all! I should have also included tips about bugs at outdoor parties. Guess I have another post in me! Thanks for sparking the ideas!

    • Pech
    • June 20, 2017

    LOVE the sunscreen station and good point on serving cold foods on ice for food safety!
    Pech recently posted…Oregon Travel: Visiting Schreiner’s Iris GardensMy Profile

    1. Jenni

      Thanks Pech! Yes, food safety is SO important during outdoor events. I don’t know about you but getting food poisoning is NEVER good, but it is nightmarish when hot.

  4. What a great list of helpful tips! I love the bug repellant and sunscreen station – such a thoughtful space to create for guests, and with lots of kids over all the time, it would make so much more sense to keep those things all out instead of in our random kitchen drawer as they are now! Thanks, Jenni!
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  5. Reply

    Lots of great ideas and tips, I feel I am now ready to host our first party of the summer.

    1. Jenni

      Thanks Sam!

  6. Reply

    Such a great post with so many good tips and ideas, I now feel ready to host our first party of the summer.

  7. Jenni, I could just hug you right now! A sunscreen and bug spray station – what a brilliant idea! (I burn just thinking about the sun.)
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    • Graham
    • July 27, 2017

    How have I been on this Earth hosting parties for so long without knowing the bowl-in-a-bowl-of-icewater trick!?! Life changing! No more warm runny potato salad!!!

  8. Reply

    Never thought about “Sunscreen & Bug Repellent Station for Guests ” two thumbs for that! NOTED!

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