7 Keys To Throwing a Memorable Backyard Dinner Party

Collaborate and design the perfect menu with your Chef.

There’s no better time than the warm spring and summer months to enjoy a backyard dinner party with your friends and family. Fresh air, delicious food, and amazing company — what could be better?

While the idea of hosting a backyard dinner party might seem like a daunting task, these great tips can make it come together in a snap. Feeling up to the challenge? Here’s how to host a magical evening that your guests will be talking about all summer long.

Determine the Guest List

Image by Thorsten Frenzel from Pixabay.

One of the biggest benefits of dining alfresco is that there’s typically a lot more space for people when compared to the inside of your home. That said, it’s important to think about how many people you can comfortably seat in your backyard.

Consider whether your backyard will work better with one long family-style table or several smaller tables. One long table gives everyone the opportunity to see all of the other guests, and smaller tables can offer guests the opportunity to have lively conversations.

While writing out your guest list, it’s important to keep in mind the logistics. If you’re planning on having a larger open air party, make sure that there will be enough parking close to your home. You also have to consider the bathroom situation. Will your indoor bathrooms be able to accommodate everyone? While it might be tempting to invite a variety of people to your al fresco dining experience, stick to what your home can handle. Smaller dinner parties — between 12 and 15 guests — keep things more personal and allow you to focus on the details.

Know That Things Will Get Messy

When prepping for al fresco dining, keep in mind that people will be coming in and out of the house throughout the night. All of the in-and-out is inevitably going to track dirt and debris into your home, so know ahead of time that common areas, like the kitchen, hallways, and washrooms, will get messy.

Don’t save all the cleaning-up for after the dinner or the next day. Place trash cans and recycling bins tastefully around the backyard so that people can throw away recyclables and trash throughout the night. This also helps reduce the number of people moving in and out of the house in search of a trash can.

Pick a Theme

Next on your list is picking a theme for your party. When thinking about some backyard dinner party ideas, this is when you really get to decide how to set the mood for the evening. If you’re aiming for a classic outdoor dining barbecue, bold, vibrant colors and décor create an informal setting that’s fun and lively. If you’re looking for something more elegant and sophisticated, mellow or more subdued colors help to create a chic ambiance for al fresco dining.

You also may want to consider your existing garden features. Is there a fire pit that people can chat around or that you could cook hot dogs over? Is there a patio perfect for al fresco dining? Does your garden already have built in lighting or a space for kids to play or an existing grill? Your decor and theme options depend on what your garden space already looks like.

Picking a theme sets a mood and helps you to style the rest of your party when considering decorations, music, and even the menu. If you need some inspiration, scrolling through Pinterest is an easy way to come up with some gorgeous al fresco dining ideas.

Start Decorating

Photo by Lee Vue on Unsplash.

Once you’ve chosen a theme for your backyard dinner party, it’s time to gather your decorations for al fresco dining. Consider if you want to use real plates and dishes, which can be more elegant, or if you would like to use sturdy, disposable dinnerware that matches your color scheme and theme.

There are limitless options when it comes to adding special touches to your outdoor space. Things like globe string lights, tiki torches, lanterns, and candles add a nice party feel for your friends and serve as great investments beyond the evening. Keeping up subtle pieces of party décor throughout the spring and summer is a fun way to enjoy your backyard all season long. You’ll also have these items on hand for your next outdoor dining event.

Consider Food Allergies and Preferences

While you may already have a menu in mind or dishes that you would like to see on the table, be sure to reach out to your friends before the event to get a handle on any food allergies or dietary restrictions. Knowing these things ahead of time helps the menu come together while making sure that it includes something for everyone to enjoy.

This doesn’t mean that you have to make different dishes for everyone. Chances are, if you have a few different appetizers or dishes for people to choose from, your guests will be more than satisfied.

Set a Menu

Once you know which foods are best to avoid, you can begin to consider which ones you want to serve. You need to think about how much of your budget can be put toward the food, and you may want to choose proteins first. 

When you know what the main dish or dishes will be, it's time to add accompaniments. A great, budget-friendly tip is to use produce that is in season. In addition to lower pricing, the flavor and freshness of local, in-season produce are usually better.  You can even incorporate fresh fruits into your desserts. 

The final thing to keep in mind with the menu is your energy levels. Will you be able to put together multiple courses and serve at appropriate times, or would it be better to use a buffet-style setup? This will also determine what foods are featured since some will simply not translate into a buffet setting.  

Get Ready to Work

Photo by Dave Lastovskiy on Unsplash.

Being the host of a dinner party isn’t easy. As the one in charge, it’s up to you to have a handle on all aspects of the event. Don’t be afraid to delegate some of the tasks. You want everyone to enjoy themselves as much as possible, but they won’t mind giving you a hand with some things so that you can enjoy the party, too.

Host a Backyard Dinner Party With Intueat

Now that you know how to throw an amazing backyard dinner party, why not let Intueat help you out with the cooking? Intueat is a handy platform that lets you connect with professional chefs to cater your in-home dinner party or event. Your chef will bring all of their own ingredients and equipment, which means no mess or hassle for you as the host. 

There’s a large lineup of chefs that you can choose from who have all been vetted and selected for their culinary skills. The booking process is easy, and your chef will confirm their availability within 24 hours. You can plan the menu together, then switch your focus to other aspects of your backyard dinner party.

Got a lot of company coming over? We've got 6 Delectable Large Dinner Party Ideas To Feed a Crowd.

Who says you need to spend a ton to have some bride-to-be fun? Check out 7 Bachelorette Dinner Party Ideas That Don’t Break the Bank.

Feeling inspired to start planning your own event? Find your INTUEAT personal chef in Sarasota, Denver, Colorado Springs, Miami, and Fort Lauderdale!

Jennifer Rives

This article is about my personal profile as a writer. It includes the genres I write in, the style I write in, and advice I have for new writers.


Get the Intueat Experience
Subscribe now.

Five main reasons to sign up for our newsletter