Outdoor Dinner Party Ideas

Summer is the perfect time for an outdoor dinner party. There’s no need to stress about impressing your friends or throwing a great shindig, though. Keep the menu simple and create stations so that guests feel free to move about the space with ease.

Whether you have a postage stamp–sized yard in South Philly or a larger backyard in West or Northeast Philly, summer is the ideal time for hosting an outdoor dinner party. A bit more sophisticated than your basic barbecue or picnic, an outdoor dinner party gives you a chance to show off your cooking skills and enjoy time with friends. Try some of these dinner party ideas to make sure your next get-together goes off without a hitch.

Keep the Menu Simple

When it comes to outdoor dinner party ideas, simple is best. Everything you prepare for the party you’ll need to bring outside to serve (or to prepare if you are using a grill). The less complicated your dishes are, the easier things will be for you.

That doesn’t mean you’re stuck serving burgers and dogs, though. A fun outdoor dinner party menu might feature grilled pizza (let the guests add their own toppings at the table), grilled meat or veggie skewers, or grilled tacos. Keep the sides simple, too. Serve a fruit salad, such as feta, watermelon, and mint; a grain-based salad; and raw veggies with hummus and dip.

Create Separate Areas

An awkward thing that tends to happen at parties is people always gather in one area. No matter the size of your house, people seem to congregate in the smallest possible space. Keep that from happening by creating separate spaces for your party. For example, if it’s a very warm night, you might keep drinks indoors. Have a separate table for sides and snacks and a separate spot for desserts. If your yard is big enough, you can set up the dining area and a separate seating area for mixing and mingling before dinner.

Bring Indoor Furniture Out

Don’t have enough outdoor seating in your Philly home for all your guests? Don’t rush out and buy new chairs and outdoor furniture. Use some of the ones you have indoors. Bringing indoor furniture outside for just a few hours should be fine. Just make sure you don’t put your nice dining chairs in a muddy area. If you don’t have a tablecloth large enough to drape over your outdoor table, use a clean bed sheet instead.

Banish the Bugs

Few things will ruin an outdoor party more quickly than a bunch of mosquitoes. Keep them away and keep your guests cool by bringing a few fans outdoors. The wind created by the fan will deter the bugs, while making your party a bit more comfortable.

Have a Small Space? Visit a Park

It just might be that your outdoor space isn’t big enough to host a large dinner party. Or, you might not have outdoor space at all. If you want to hold a party, but don’t have the space for it, visit a park. You can have an informal dinner party there by claiming a picnic table or spreading blankets over a grassy area. To host a larger group, you’ll need to fill out an application for a picnic in one of the city’s parks.

Summer is the perfect time for outdoor entertaining. Make your dinner party as stress-free as possible by keeping things simple.


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