Planning an outdoor dinner party that's a lot of fun for you and your guests doesn't have to be a hassle or break the bank! The theme can be simple yet colorful, as can the food. Whether you choose a formal garden party or a casual barbecue on the deck, a quick but thorough plan can definitely help.
Consider your outdoor space. If you're planning an outdoor dinner party that is going to be a large event, make sure you have enough space for eating and whatever entertainment you're planning. Consider the seating and tables you'll need as you may need to rent or borrow these. If the dinner party is a casual pool party, make sure to have adequate bathroom space for changing. Be prepared with extra towels in case guests forget theirs.
When planning an outdoor dinner party, make sure to mention on your invitations the items dinner guests will need to bring, if any. For example, if you're having a potluck dinner party, give specific instructions of what dishes you're looking for and how guests can let you know in advance what dishes to expect. This way, you can be sure to have a balanced array of dishes and can prepare to fill in anything missing.
Dress code should also be mentioned on invitations. Since the dinner party will be at your home, that alone gives no clue about the dress expected, unless it’s a pool party or barbecue. Guests shouldn't be made to feel uncomfortable by being either overly dressed up or too casual. Specify whether the occasion will be semi-formal or causal so that your guests have an idea of what to expect.
The decor should, of course, fit in with the mood of the party. If you're planning an outdoor dinner party that will be formal, cheap colored patio lanterns aren't going to work! Think about your options, because you don't have to ruin your budget. Something simple and elegant such as white lights and candles works well for a formal outdoor dinner. A clean section of concrete patio can make a surprisingly nice dance floor if you add a few attractive planters as a border.
Make sure to have alternate plans for indoors in case of bad weather. Even games such as Charades can be fun and you don't need a lot of preparation before hand. The whole idea of planning an outdoor dinner party is to have things run as smoothly as possible for the enjoyment of your guests. Keep the food simple and include options for special diets. Planning ahead also lets you enjoy the party and the company of the people you've invited rather than having to fuss over everything during the event.