Mark's Top 10 Tips for Outdoor Entertaining

Over the years, I've learned a thing or two, and below are my top ten tips for entertaining outdoors. Hopefully these tips will help make planning your outdoor event easier!


  • Create an individualized and engaging centerpiece for your garden party table. Get your guests involved in the fun by creating centerpieces for each place setting. Giving your guests a parting charm or trinket? Incorporate it into the centerpiece!
  • Make your party more memorable with a signature drink. Create a Blistering Firecracker Margarita for summer or try a Spiked Hot Cider in winter. Signature drinks taste great and give guests a peek into your favorite flavors.
  • Don’t count on the weather cooperating. Make sure to plan accordingly: a tent in case of rain, heaters for a cool night or fans to beat the summer heat.
  • Bring the beach to your home. Recreate a sandy beach at your table by substituting sand for couscous. Unlike sand, couscous is edible and won’t disrupt your guests enjoying your food.
  • Take the mess out of a picnic: combine common sandwich ingredients to create incredible tasty and easy-to-apply spreadable sandwiches.
  • Fondue can be made indoors or outdoors. Make campfire-style s’mores using a fondue set and your grill. Encourage your guests to bring some of the ingredients!
  • 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.
  • A garden is a great setting for a party because the flowers and greenery provide the decoration, but it's still nice to add a few carefully placed loose arrangements. Pepper vines of ivy or smilax with flowers on your table for a natural centerpiece.
  • Instead of using your best china outdoors, use re-purposed bamboo plates. Guests will appreciate your trusting them with your heirloom china, and the result will be much more spectacular than plasticware.
  • Make a grill-for-yourself main course. Get your guests mingling and take the load off your back by providing the fixings for kabobs they can build and grill exactly to their liking!
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