Justin Livingston
15 Nov 2016

There’s nothing quite like the weekend. After five days of professional focus, you get 48 hours to do as you wish: take a hike upstate with a loved one, meet for a brunch that eases into sunset happy hour, or make a pillow fort and binge on the latest Netflix release. Your options are near limitless.


For me, few things give me greater pleasure than planning a little weekend party. Gathering friends, serving up a potluck-style meal, and catching up on the latest gossip is truly music to my ears. Since we’ve had such wonderful weather lately, I’ve been opting for outdoor spots like my backyard or the local park.


But what are the main ingredients to crafting the perfect weekend bash? Here are my top tips…


Plan Ahead

A successful outdoor party doesn’t require anything elaborate – just good food, good friends, and a social setting. But, in order to avoid any confusion or duplicate food/drink options, it’s smart to make plans ahead of time. Make of list of what items guests are bringing or assign the needed items to guests as needed.



Comfortable Seating

No matter your location (at the park, in your backyard, etc.), you want to make sure your guests are comfortable. For my park party, I laid down small chair cushions and a few bench cushions for my friends to enjoy (and bonus points for the fact that they’re easy to transport).




Accessorize The Table

Dressing your table is an important part of setting the mood. It doesn’t have to be fancy – opt for casual pieces like craft brown paper and bamboo plates that make for an easy clean-up. I laid down colorful blankets for a bohemian vibe!



Keep Food Simple

While you can get creative with food options, it’s certainly not necessary. I’ve always found that the simpler the food, the easier it is to please everyone’s palettes (and allergies). Fresh fruit, chopped salads, mini burgers, finger sandwiches, and veggies trays are excellent picnic choices. 



Bring The Bubbles

For an outdoor party that knocks it out of the park, I have a secret weapon: sparkling water. I always stock my picnic basket with San Pellegrino Sparkling Water. It’s an incredibly refreshing beverage that deliciously ups the ante to my picnics and is always a crowd-pleaser.




Master The Music

A stellar playlist is the ultimate way to set the ambience of your outdoor party. Opt for classic hits that everyone will recognize and pepper in some newer tunes that’ll get guests in the party mood. But keep music at a lower volume – if guests can’t hear the conversation, they won’t want to stick around.


Add The Panache

Bringing a few extra items to up the ante of the atmosphere is always a plus. Allowing guests to bring their pets, setting up flower bouquets, crafting a make-your-own sandwich “bar,” or (if it’s hot out) offering guests handheld fans and sunscreen are all great ideas to add a little flair and keep guests around for the long haul.




What are some of your favorite ideas? What tips and tricks have worked from your favorite outdoor parties?

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