Have a backyard soiree planned this summer? Make sure you're prepared with this expert advice.
1. Get your yard clean and in order. Make sure the grass is mowed, raked and free of debris, tools and toys.
2. Don't overlook spaces inside the house where guests may be, particularly the entryway, kitchen and bathrooms.
3. Decorate with cuttings from your yard. Arrange fresh flowers and greenery to add a pop of color and a natural fragrance.
4. Have plenty of seating for guests. If you're short on chairs, spread blankets on the grass.
5. Choose music that will be entertaining and pleasant, not too loud or overwhelming.
6. Think of your guests when choosing the menu. When extending invitations, you may want to ask whether anyone has food allergies or dietary preferences.
7. Be open to the idea of a potluck party.
8. Ask a couple of guests whether they would arrive early to help with pre-party preparations. Make it fun by starting the music early and sampling some food.
9. Prepare as many foods in advance as possible. On the day of the party, you'll be glad you got a head start, and flavors will be enhanced.
10. Have at least two large trash cans emptied and placed in convenient locations.
11. Create a special atmosphere with lights. Consider adding lanterns and strings of holiday lights.
12. If you are grilling, make sure the grill is clean and ready to fire up with enough charcoal or gas.
13. Have a working meat thermometer on hand.
14. Keep aluminum foil and plenty of clean plates handy grill-side. When the meat is ready, place it on the plates and create a foil tent to keep it hot if you won't be serving it immediately
15. Consider grilled vegetables as a great side to accompany the main dish. Skewering is a ideal method.
16. Don't let mosquitoes ruin your party. Include decorative citronella candles with the rest of the lighting scheme.
17. If you have electricity outside, plug in a portable oscillating fan or two to ensure your guests stay cool during hot summer days and nights.
18. Set out a couple of yard games to play, such as badminton and bocce.
19. Relax and allow your guests the same privilege.
20. Especially if alcohol has been served, make sure everyone is able to get home safely.
(For thousands of other ideas visit www.hgtv.com . Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service.)
(Distributed by Scripps Howard News Service, http://www.scrippsnews.com)
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