As we get older, it becomes harder and harder to find time to spend with the important people in our lives. And it’s sad because when I think of the things that give me joy in life, the first thing that comes to mind is my loved ones.
How do we remedy this lack of quality time? Two words for you: dinner parties.
A big part of connecting with others is sharing things that bring you happiness. In my case, I love sharing food. Cooking for my friends and family is something I sincerely enjoy. Seeing people so happy to be around one another while enjoying a good meal is priceless.
Since we are now deep into the summer season, I love to take advantage of the weather and head outdoors for a meal. There’s nothing better than setting up a picnic (poolside if you can) and eating great barbecue with great people.
I know that planning a meal for a group can be daunting, but here are some tips to help you ease into it while having fun:
- NON-BREAKABLE TABLEWARE
Being outdoors means it’s significantly harder to have a controlled environment. For safety and ease purposes, I use non-breakable tableware. If you want something fancier, opt for something reusable and solid like Corelle.If I’m eating outdoors that typically means I’ll be carrying lots of things in hand, so I opt for disposable since it’s super light. One of my favorite disposable tableware companies is Cheeky (available at Target). They are stylish, simple, and recyclable! Cheeky actually donates a meal for a family in need for each purchase as well. Or if you want something more rustic looking try Bambu’s line of disposable products.
- BLANKET + TABLE
When eating outdoors, choose a dining surface that will be convenient for your guests and fits the location. If you’re by the pool or at the beach, a cute beach towel works perfectly. If there’s grass involved, I will use a thick blanket to provide a more stable surface or even bring a lightweight table. As long as whatever the food and drinks are placed on is sturdy, it will help prevent spills (and allow you to focus on enjoying your time with your friends and family)!
- FOOD + DRINK
When eating outdoors without a kitchen nearby, I try to plan food that is edible with your hands or just a fork to keep cutlery to a minimum. It provides less waste (whether washing or recycling) and it’s one less thing to worry about losing. Lots of napkins are a must (these are super cute).I also like bringing chilled, portioned drinks (like the canned JustChill or the single jello shots from Ludlows). This means you don’t actually need cups and again, less chance of spills. 😉
- THE PEOPLE
The most important part of a relaxing, fun dinner party is to invite people who truly make by you happy. Keeping the guest list short + sweet is fine. Only invite those who will appreciate your hard work and equally love spending time with you. Enjoy your time with your guests and don’t focus so much on being the perfect host. Even if you’re missing things, run out of others or don’t have the “ideal” spot to host in, that will all melt away when you’re surrounded by people you adore.
Ok, it’s your turn! What are your favorite ways to gather your friends & family together? Have tips for pulling off a successful and relaxing dinner party outdoors? And most importantly, I challenge you this week, to set up a summer dinner party of your own before the season changes. Don’t put off spending time laughing, talking, eating and building memories with the ones you love!
Photos by Sylvia G Photography