Know How

8 Essentials for Making Your Outdoor Party Comfortable and Functional

Why is it that guests love partying in outdoor spaces so much? There is something about adding a touch of Mother Nature that pus everyone in a good mood, and you gain that extra level of excitement by providing access to a deck, patio, terrace, or rooftop. With that added space, though, are certain unpredictable factors that come into play. Consult this handy checklist to ensure the elements do not interfere with the festivities.

◊ Sun Management: If you know its going to be a scorcher, provide shady areas with umbrellas and awnings, and keep food in the shade or just inside your space. Have some sunscreen on hand, just in case. This is your chance to display beautifully-packaged brands like Clinique, La-Roche Posay or Anthony Logistics for Men, as part of your decor.

◊ Music: Get your tunes out of doors with portable speakers. We love the look of Libratone, and they can really belt out the sound.

◊ Chill Factor: You can never have enough ice, it seems. To maintain optimum levels, consider a portable ice maker. I purchased the CHARD Ice Maker for friends, which delivers the first batch in 6 minutes—and keeps on delivering. They love it. As for holding ice, do it with style. Forget plastic, and invest in something cooler, like the Yeti Tundra 75.

◊ Wind Protection: A light breeze is always welcome, but when you encounter winds of the gustier type, you need to take charge. Clamp or tape your tablecloth down or attach weights so they don’t blow the food and drink away. Or, in my opinion, get rid of tablecloths all together!

◊ Insect Defense: I am always the one getting eaten alive by bugs, so I’ve learned some bug-fighting tactics. Setting up a fan outside (preferably of the blade-less variety, like the Dyson Cool Tower Fan) not only provides a breeze, but keeps mosquitoes at bay. Provide natural and hard-core bug sprays (i.e. one with Deet) for guests who require that extra layer of protection. See a Consumer Report analysis of alternates to Deet: Sawyers Fisherman’s Formula, Repel Lemon Eucalyptus

◊ Enhanced Lighting: Properly placed lighting lends a magical quality to the night. Show the way, and accent your space, with the energy-friendly outdoor lights. Try solar strings, now available in all shapes and sizes, or cordless and rechargeable LED lamps (like the Smart and Green Big Flatball).

◊ Unbreakables: Ditch the idea of using disposables and go with sturdy unbreakables. Govino glasses are used by wineries for tastings, and come in the perfect shapes for drinking red or white wine or cocktails. Choose Melamine plates instead of paper or plastic. We love the lively patterns offered by French Bull.

◊ Rain: In case of precipitation, have a Plan B in mind.