August 15, 2019 | Tips & Style

5 Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Dinner Party

With summer in full swing, but the threat of fall approaching (those back-to-school ads are already taunting us), we always start to panic about soaking up every ounce of summer while we can. This almost always entails taking every opportunity we can to dine al fresco.

A server asks whether we want to sit on the patio? Of course we do! Our kids ask to have a picnic lunch? Sure! Our outdoor furniture will be begging for winter by the time we’re done.

While dining in the fresh air can be romantic and look effortless, especially if you spend any time on Pinterest, the truth of the matter is that a little thoughtfulness can go a long way. No one wants wasps buzzing around their sticky plate while they enjoy the last sips of their sangria. Equally, no one wants to feel like they are ripping off a bandaid just by standing up after a meal while sitting on a plastic chair.

5 Tips for Hosting an Outdoor Dinner Party

Clean up the food quickly

Wasps really tend to bother dinner parties when there’s leftover food hanging around. This is especially true if any of that food has a high sugar content, like BBQ ribs or desserts. The best way to combat this is to clean up quickly and try not to leave food sitting on the table while you finish your conversations. You don’t need to rush a meal along, but clearing as you go will make a huge difference.

Keep your guests cool

If your dinner party happens to fall on one of our scorching Toronto summer days, do your best to provide shade during the meal and add a couple of fans pointed at your guests. The fans will double as mosquito repellants and everyone will be way more comfortable.

Cloth napkins, always

Unless you’re hosting a massive BBQ, cloth napkins are the way to go. They won’t blow away as easily and they’re always a great opportunity to add some style to your soirée.

Provide cushions

I’m not sure why, but outdoor seating can be, well, uncomfortable. Perhaps people are afraid of having textiles outdoors (Pst! We can clean your outdoor textiles), so they opt for hard surfaces, but who wants to have a sore behind after a dinner party? If your patio furniture is uncushioned, purchase some cushions and make your guests a lot happier. Plus, if it’s hot out, it’s a lot nicer to sit on fabric than it is to sit on plastic, metal, or wood.

Keep the meal light

Patios are the perfect settings for light, fresh meals using seasonal ingredients. Take advantage of the summer and serve up simple salads and entrées that won’t have you standing over a hot stove instead of hanging out with your guests. The grill is always your best friend.

Don’t skip a proper table setting

Outdoor meals are inherently more casual than their indoor counterparts, but that doesn’t mean that you need to be eating off of paper plates and drinking out of red solo cups. Elevate the experience with beautiful textiles, real plates, and nice thick glasses to hold those ice-cold beverages.

When the party’s over, and you’re left with the remnants of peach cobbler and berry sangria on your tablecloths and napkins, Parkers can help. Schedule for us to pick up your dining textiles for cleaning at no extra charge. We will return them to you fresh and clean so you can take advantage of yet another summer evening while you still can.

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