7 Essential Things To Prepare For An Outdoor Party

An outdoor party, where guests don’t just enjoy good food and conversation but also fresh air and beautiful surroundings, is a great and creative way to celebrate special times.

All you need are game friends, good weather, a scenic venue with the perfect shelter, and you’re ready to have a time you’ll never forget. When planning an outdoor party, it's best to keep things simple and basic.

Here's a short checklist of things that you need to prepare for your outdoor party. 

1. Quick, Easy, and Tasty Food

If you’re having any sort of party – indoor or outdoor,  you need to provide your guests with plenty of foods and drinks.

During an outdoor party, you can have a formal sit-down party or an informal picnic-style spread. Food can also be pre-cooked and prepared or cooked on the spot barbeque style. Whatever you decide, take these tips into consideration: 

  • Keep it simple. Food should be easy to eat in order to minimize the mess. Save the sauce-heavy dishes, elaborate sandwiches and those that require more than a knife and fork for another time.
  • Finger-foods are ideal. Keep it light, cool, and easy. Some pastries and fresh vegetables are light and easy to eat  
Photos by whitetulip and The Ujulala
Provide snacks to nibble on and keep the drinks flowing. Even if you're providing a full-course meal, budget for snacks as well. Snacks such as chips, plates of easy-nibbling cheese and cold cuts, simple sandwiches and –of course, plenty of cold drinks should be readily available.
Photos by stokpic and Marco Fischer

  • Prepare more than enough food for the guests. It would be embarrassing for the hosts when food platters are empty when there are still guests coming in.

    To make sure you don't run out of food on the table, estimate the number of guests to know how much you're going to prepare. And always prepare extra food in the kitchen, so it will be easier to serve them when needed.

2. Comfortable Seating

You want to encourage the guests at your outdoor party to chill and enjoy the fresh air, beautiful surroundings, and friendly conversation. In order to do that, you need to make sure that you provide them with the means to sit back and relax comfortably.

There are three basic ways to provide your guests with comfortable outdoor seating. You can go for one of these ways or you can mix and match.

  • If you already have wrought iron or wooden outdoor furniture, now is the perfect time to use them.
  • Buy, borrow or even rent simple, light-weight chairs that your guests can easily move to different corners of the garden. Lightweight chairs can be set up in cosy nooks.
Photos by Lars Plougmann

  • Set out picnic blankets or rugs and provide a few throw pillows or blankets and encourage your guests to lounge around.

3. Provide a Few Tables

Even if you’re not going for a full-sit down style dinner, you still need to provide a few tables. Customize your table to make it look more attractive

Photos by condesign and Sookie_cfw

There are two reasons and two types of tables you will need to provide for your outdoor party.

  • Bigger, longer tables can be used to set out the food and drink.
  • Smaller tables scattered around will provide your guests with a place to set their cups and plates and a comfortable surface to eat on.  

4. Set Up a Few Outdoor Gazebos Or Umbrellas 

One of the main reasons to have an outdoor party is so that your guest can enjoy the outdoors. While you want them to experience the outdoors, you don’t want to put them at its mercy. 

Portable gazebo shelters, such as the OZtrail Deluxe Gazebo with Yellow Canopy and Wall, are a great way to provide your guests with protection from some of the harsher elements of nature. Here are a few ways you can use gazebos at your outdoor party. 

  • Use small gazebos to protect your food area. Keeping the food and drink out of direct sunlight can prevent it from going bad alongside keeping it cool.

    A small gazebo can also provide protection from debris such as falling leaves or – if you attach a tarp wall – even from dust and other trash that could blow in the wind.
  • A few, free-standing, large beach umbrellas placed around tables and chairs can provide your guests with shade so they don't have to stand in the sun. You can double the covered areas easily with a few shade sails.
 Photos John Wright

  • In the event of rain, a few large gazebos – with enough headroom for people to stand and space of a few chairs – will enable your guests to still sit around comfortably.
  • A few nicely coloured gazebos can also contribute to your party colourfulness. They can serve as a place to hang fairy lights, lanterns and other decorations.
Photos by Erich Ferdinand and Michael Coghlan

5. Set Up A Nice Lighting

Just because the sun might do down on your party, doesn't mean the party has to end.

A nice night with cool breezes and plenty of stars can be the ideal setting for quiet talk and laughter. To ensure that your guests really enjoy the nice night you will want to provide them with some soft lighting.

  • Strings of fairy lights not only look pretty but they provide nice mood lighting and a pleasant atmosphere to an outdoor party. The soft glow will let your guests see who they are talking with but won't compete with the light of the moon and the twinkle of the stars.
Photos by Wonderlane

  • Colourful paper lanterns provide light and also make good décor. Hang them around the party area and light them up when needed.
  • Torches and candles. Not only can these provide light but – if you get those that burn citronella – also nicely scent the breeze and keep away bugs.
  • Tent lights. You can also use tent lights like the OZtrail UFO Tent Light or the OZtrail Multi-Use Gazebo Spotlight to light up your food tables under your gazebo. These are perfect for night events and are easy and convenient to set up.

6. Play Some Music

Photo by Isabella Mendez 

It sure is a party, so why not turn up some music suitable to your audience. Especially as the guests arrive, make sure that they don't find the place too quiet.

Music also helps create a relaxed atmosphere even if you haven't completed the preparation. It keeps your guests engaged and not bored. But that's not all that music has to offer. Here are some more benefits:

  • Make your guests happier
  • Lower stress levels 
  • Reduce depression
  • Your guests will sleep better afterwards
  • Help your guests eat less by not overeating at the party 
  •  Creates the desired ambience

 Music will for sure turn the party fun a notch higher. You can even bring in a DJ to make it even more lively.

7. Have Sparkling Clean Washrooms

The food tastes great, the venue is spot on but have you considered the washrooms? They are the most visited rooms in any gathering. Ensuring that they are pleasant is a plus for your party planning.

It will be totally embarrassing if you have washrooms reeking with a bad odour or not supplied adequately with the required essentials such as toilet paper, hand sanitizers, and hand dryers.

Keep reading for handy tips to ensure 'the little room' mishaps don't ruin a great party.

  • Have a roll of toilet paper at the TP stand and at least two other rolls within easy reach
  • Ensure proper bathroom storage. Tuck away what guests shouldn't be seeing.
  • Arrange your bathroom supplies within easy reach
  • Provide handwashing soaps. Handwashing stops spread of germs.
  • A strategically placed container of mints is a great idea
  • Light a scented candle to make the bathroom smell good
  • Provide some nice hand lotion for your guests 

Photo by Joey


Before the big event, make sure you have everything ready and well planned so you save yourself from stress and panic. Plus, it lets you enjoy and have a great time during your special outdoor party.

Check out the ultimate outdoor shelter options and choose a suitable gazebo colour that matches with your theme.

Happy partying!



Originally published: February 2018
Updated September 2018: Added Play Some Music and Have Sparkling Clean Washrooms sections to provide more ideas.