Ready to get outside at the first signs of spring? Throwing an outdoor party can be lots of fun but Mother Nature doesn’t always want to cooperate. Follow our backyard party tips to keep your stress levels in check.
Let’s face it—crossing your fingers when listening to the latest forecast isn’t quite enough to ensure good weather. You’ll want to have a Plan B for the party to be moved indoors. Have a game plan in mind as far as accommodating everyone.

Don’t let the wind ruin an otherwise perfect day. Secure colored paper to tables with tape or use clips to hold down festive tablecloths. You don’t have to sacrifice style just because of a little wind. Forget the paper and go for real dishes and utensils for added weight.

Always consider the temperatures when entertaining outdoors. Avoid meltdowns by providing shady dining areas for guests as well as preventing food from baking in the hot sun. Use unique containers such as a small wading pool or large colored bins to keep drinks on ice.

Be flexible as far as food goes. Everyone loves a cookout, but if the weather’s going to be iffy then plan on cold sandwiches, finger foods or slow cooker meals that can easily be served indoors in case you and your guests need to make a run for it.

Create artificial boundaries to define space for entertaining. Strategic placement of food tables, trash receptacles and lighting such as outdoor torches let your guests know where you’d like them to stay.

Spring is the perfect time for a backyard bash—just be flexible to make it as stress free as possible.

5 backyard bash tips for flexible entertaining

1. make friends with mother nature

Stay tuned to weather forecasts and always have a solid Plan B just in case. Don’t be afraid to move the party indoors—you may have to rearrange some furniture but, with careful planning ahead of time, it can work out well.

Be flexible when it comes to games—if the volleyball game gets rained out, organize a round or two of Charades.

Prepare table placement, decorations and food a day ahead, if weather permits.

2. don’t get blown away

Don’t let a little wind wreak havoc on your party—show who’s in charge! Secure colored paper to tables with tape or use clips to hold down festive tablecloths.

Forget the paper plates and go for nice plastic ones for additional weight or use real dishes when entertaining a small group. Utensils wrapped in cloth napkins glam up any casual outing.

Make centerpieces using upcycled containers and flowers from your own garden—they’ll help keep everything in place, look beautiful and cost nothing!

Batten down the hatches! Assess items such as umbrellas that tend to be unstable. Secure them well before they have a chance to conk someone on the head.

3. avoid a meltdown

Shade tables from the sun to keep guests comfortable as well as food from melting. No one wants to see a pool of butter sitting on a plate.

Find unique ways to keep drinks on ice—large colored bins or a kid’s wading pool make drinks easily accessible. Organize drinks in separate containers for alcohol, pop and water.

Light the heaters and fire pits once the sun goes down to take the chill out of the air.

4. food flexibility

Having a party outdoors doesn’t always mean it has to be a cookout. Cold sandwiches can be just as good and weatherproof—they’re easily transported back to the house in case of a sudden downpour.

Make cheese platters and appetizers for those who just want to nibble. Finger foods are great for the kids in the crowd too.

For a large gathering, set up various tables as stations for each course, along with one for drinks. Make labels to help identify unusual foods, or those which might contain ingredients associated with allergies, such as nuts.

5. define boundaries

Create artificial boundaries to define the space in which guests will stay and mingle.

Strategic placement of food, beverages, trash receptacles and themed decorations are subtle ways to keep your guests where you’d like them to stay.

Outdoor lighting with torches and hanging lights not only create boundaries but also provide safety afterhours.

Cheryl Says

Planning ahead and flexibility are the keys to outdoor entertaining no matter what Mother Nature may have in store.