There are so many reasons to love summer, but one thing we really love about summer is the opportunity for fun, casual outdoor entertaining. A front porch gathering with family, neighbors, and friends is the best way to start the weekend on a Friday night or get ready for a new week on Sunday evenings.
If you’re just as excited for porch parties as we are, here are 10 entertaining tips to help turn your porch into your neighborhood’s favorite summer hangout.
#1. Use a variety of seating options.
Don’t be afraid to use a hodge-podge of seating for your porch party. This adds to the casual vibe and encourages your guests to move around and chat. Between a porch swing, a few indoor and/or outdoor chairs, the porch railing and steps, there should be plenty of space for everyone to be comfortable.
#2. Set up a DIY cocktail cart.
Instead of worrying about crafting pitchers of the perfect cocktail, simply set up a bar cart with lots of options for DIY drinks. That way, your guests can create a drink of their choice to sip on, and all you have to do as a host is keep the bar stocked! Pretty simple, right?
#3. Serve food buffet style.
Place all your food on serving platters and trays on one side of your porch. This will, again, encourage your guests to get up and move around, and insists on a casual environment. It also allows your guests to nibble and snack throughout the night if you’re serving appetizers as opposed to the main meal.
#4. Keep traffic flowing with a retractable screen door.
The last thing you want during a relaxing party is a slamming, banging door that’s noisy and dangerous (pinched fingers can really kill the vibe). Install a retractable screen door to keep traffic flowing and make running in and out of the house easy. A retractable screen door brings the nice outdoor weather inside the house but keeps the bugs out.
#5. Set out sidewalk chalk for the kids.
If kids are coming to the party, it’s always a good idea to have an activity for them to stay busy. Sidewalk chalk is an easy, no-cleanup option that will keep the kids close by their parents, but out of the way when they want to play.
#6. Light citronella candles and torches to keep bugs away.
Depending on where you live, mosquitos and bugs are just a fact of summer. Lighting citronella candles and tiki torch lanterns not only create a cozy atmosphere, they’ll help to keep bugs at bay. Line torches around the perimeter of your porch and light candles on steady surfaces, especially on tables near food.
#7. Offer fans for your guests.
If it’s a hot, humid day, it’s a good idea to have fans available for your guests to keep themselves cool. DIY your own using popsicle sticks and cardstock (a good activity for the kids!). Or set a few spray bottles around the porch so your guests can grab them and mist themselves when they get too warm.
#8. Add ambiance with twinkle lights.
Twinkle lights add character and appeal to even the drabbest porches. String them around the perimeter of your porch or zig-zag them café style for instant porch appeal!
#9. Use recyclable paper goods for easy cleanup.
Doing dishes is possibly our least favorite part of hosting a gathering. Avoid slaving over your sink by serving guests with paper cups, plates, napkins, and flatware that you can recycle at the end of the night. You’ll be happy you don’t have to do the dishes and your guests won’t have to worry about dirtying too many plates!
#10. Play a party game.
Party games are a fun way for guests to get to know one another and to keep the energy of the party up. Word games like Catch Phrase, conversation games like TableTopics, or trivia games like Trivial Pursuit are always crowd pleasers!
Keep entertaining this summer fun and casual! Use these tips to make porch parties a regular occasion and get to know your neighbors, new and old. For more entertaining ideas, click below.