How to Plan the Perfect Outdoor Dinner Party
Does your NYC apartment have an outdoor space? Lucky for you! Don’t let summer pass without taking advantage of your personal piece of the great outdoors. Here’s how to plan the perfect outdoor dinner party.
Are you one of those New Yorkers whose apartment has an outdoor space? Lucky you! Take advantage of these beautiful summer days and plan the perfect outdoor dinner party.
Make Your Guest List
The first step when planning an outdoor dinner party is deciding on a guest list. Let the size of your outdoor space determine how many people you invite. If your space is small, spending the evening with four guests will be infinitely more pleasant than trying to squeeze ten people onto a tiny balcony.
Don’t feel too confined by your space though. If you have a Juliet balcony, open the doors and bring the outside into your living room. Will you be entertaining your guests on your building’s rooftop? Then, you’ll probably have more room. Just make sure to check with building management to find out if you need to make a reservation.
Plan the Menu
After you’ve invited your guests, it’s time to start planning the menu.
Since you’re probably working with a tiny NYC kitchen, be realistic about what you can cook. Choose a menu that allows you to prepare most of the food ahead of time so you can enjoy the party. Try to include a few no cook dishes that won’t heat up your apartment, too. New York summers are too hot for heavy meals anyway. If you have a grill, put it to good use.
Here’s an easy menu that won’t take a lot of space or time and can easily be adjusted according to the size of your guest list:
- Easy Antipasto: drizzle a mixture of marinated vegetables, olives, fresh mozzarella, and cubed meats with olive oil. Serve with fresh baguettes on a pretty platter.
- Summer Kale Salad with Strawberries, Peaches, and Blueberries
- Pasta with Fresh Tomato Sauce
- 4-Ingredient Watermelon Sorbet
- Rose and Fresh Lemonade (serve it nonalcoholic or spiked with vodka for an easy cocktail)
Clean Your Apartment
Okay, cleaning your apartment is the not-so-fun part of planning an outdoor dinner party!
The truth is, your guests won’t be inspecting the place with white gloves. So unless you just moved in and will be giving tours, focus on the parts your guests are most likely to see, such as the bathroom (here’s how to clean it in 15 minutes).
Make your outdoor dinner party extra special by creating ambiance. Dress up your space with candles, strings of globe lights, and beautiful flowers (keep it simple and grab a couple bouquets from the corner store). Shop for pretty pillows, cushions, and accessories, and don’t worry if everything is a little mismatched. It will only add to the charm!
For more decorating inspiration, check out these outdoor dinner party ideas.
Take It to the Park
For many New Yorkers, an apartment with outdoor space is simply a dream. That doesn’t mean you can’t throw an outdoor dinner party though.
Spending time outside is one of the best ways to take advantage of summer, so take your party to your favorite park! Pack a cooler with food and drinks, round up a bunch of blankets and pillows, set up lawn games, and let the festivities begin.
Enlist a Helper
Don’t forget to find a friend to help you (especially if you’ll be transporting stuff to the roof or park). It can mean the difference between enjoying your party and being stuck in the kitchen all night!
Get more tips for hosting a New York dinner party here.