Five Outdoor Hosting Tips is a simple guide to make your backyard parties feel like a breeze. These five simple steps will help you become the hostess with the mostess no matter what kind of party you host. 

serving cocktails

I recently returned from my sixth Fresh Air Retreat! Hard to believe I’ve co-hosted so many food blogging retreats with the incredible Liz of The Lemon Bowl

In case you want to walk down memory lane, we’ve traveled all over the country: Scottsdale, New Orleans, Park City, Austin, and recently to the vibrant city of Miami. 

Fresh Air Retreat is a unique experience where high-level influencers and sponsors come together in a private home to connect, learn and of course, eat delicious food. As a co-host, I’ve learned so much about entertaining at home that I wanted to share my expertise with you so you can plan and host a seamless party. 

These Five Outdoor Hosting Tips will not only set you up for success, but leave you wanting to host more parties. BECAUSE! Parties should be fun and as a host you should get to enjoy the fruits of your labor. 

Ready to dive in? 

Tip #1: Guest List Matters

This may sound like a no brainer, but it’s the foundation of any party you host. Think about your circle of friends and who get along, who’s funny, who would help make people feel comfortable, who’s dropping interesting factoids, etc. The mix of these people will help elevate and keep people engaged. You don’t want to invite people who are Debbie Downers or bring drama. 

fresh air retreat miami attendees

Case in point: I must say our Miami retreat had a fantastic lineup of attendees. These ladies were not only incredibly charming but brought a wealth of knowledge so everyone could learn and continue to grow their businesses. 

Tip #2: Batch Cocktails

Our number one rule at Fresh Air Retreat is to always greet a guest with a refreshing drink. Whether it’s water, coffee, tea, wine, or a super fun cocktail. You want your guest to feel welcomed and nothing relaxes folks more than a festive drink. 

serving batched cocktials
pour champange into cocktail glasses

We had the wonderful opportunity to welcome our attendees with refreshing cocktails thanks to one of our sponsors: Flora de Cana. In order to serve a large group of guests, we batched a few drinks: Flor Sprtiz and Flor Old Fashioned. This made it easy to serve on trays and for everyone to enjoy a round sampling of their different aged rums. 

Tip #3: Menu 

Besides greeting guests with a cocktail or drink, you also need to have something for them to nibble on while they wait for dinner. In Miami, we had our in-house chef, Chef Trimell, execute brilliant bites for our attendees and sponsors to enjoy like Lebanese kibbeh and rum marinated chicken wings. 

lebanese kibbeh on serving tray

When it comes to dinner, I highly recommend serving family style. This helps narrow down planning on what you will be cooking, but also gives everyone the opportunity to eat what they enjoy, especially folks with dietary restrictions. 

For example, Minute Rice was also a sponsor that we helped display a build-your-own-rice bowl bar using their microwavable cups that come in six different flavors. This was a great opportunity to offer many different condiments so attendees could build their own customized bowls in a relaxed, fun atmosphere. 

minute rice build your own rice bar
flavors of minute rice cups
complete rice bowl

Another option, we worked with a grilling sponsor, Current to curate a street food menu consisting of Asian-inspired, Mediterranean-inspired, and Mexican-inspired food. With its wi-fi connection, dual-zone temperature control, and fully electric design, we were able to prep a lot of components of the meal ahead of time for easy assembling during the party. 

me grilling on an electric grill
grilled street food

Tip #4: Seating

Going to a party and having nowhere to sit can be a mood killer. You want to create space (if you can) to have a few sitting options starting with cocktail hour to dinner. It helps keep the evening flowing if people can transition to different areas. If you don’t have the space, just make sure there are enough seats for folks to sit down and eat a meal! 

One of my favorite seating arrangements was at Fresh Air Retreat Miami. We had two large round tables that fit six guests. It was more intimate and folks could chat vs one big long table where conversations tend to get lost. 

seating arrangements

Besides tables for dinner, we had a lounge area by the pool where attendees could enjoy appetizers and then we moved everyone to the fire pit to enjoy dessert! 

patio seating near the pool

Also, even though we did a lot of eating, a majority of our time was centered around mini business sessions. Our seating arrangement with Grocer’s List (another wonderful sponsor) in the living room where we could chat about tools we can use to incorporate into our websites and social media strategies was invaluable! 

grocers list session

Tip #5: Something to Do

Guests are kind of like kiddos, they need one small thing to do while at a party. It could be a simple game like playing jenga, putting their feet in the pool, game of corn hole, or an interactive experience like making their own s’mores! People do better when they have a small task to accomplish that’s fun! 

playing jenga
eating s'mores by the fire

Another idea is to bring in a dessert from your favorite restaurant and chat about why you like it and let everyone sample. Helps spark conversation, etc. 

I wish we could have ordered in from Servene. Visit Miami was a gracious sponsor who hosted us for dinner and we got to sample their Izakaya Style menu right in the heart of Miami Beach. I’m telling you the cotton candy dessert would be a show stopper at your next backyard bash. 

cotton candy dessert

****HUGE THANKS AGAIN to our incredible sponsors: Current, Minute Rice, Grocer’s List, Visit Miami, and Flor de Cana. Also, thank you to our wonderful attendees who made the journey and who I now call best friends! Thank you to Amanda who captured all these amazing photos and to our in-house executive chef, Chef Trimell for keeping us well fed! Until next time!***