Nautical Outdoor Party Inspiration & Ideas

Inspiration Image Sources:

Party Purchases and Ideas Sources:

It's officially summertime, y'all! And with that season comes lots of outdoor shindigs. I for one love an outdoor party. It's casual, laid-back and fun - or it can be if you plan smart and do a few simple things to make it easy on yourself and your guests. I've learned a few things over the years and have a few pointers for you today on how I like to take on these parties. For fun, I added a theme (nautical!), but these pointers could certainly be used for any outdoor affair!

1. Look for inspiration. I find that it helps to have a vision for what you're trying to achieve, even if it's just a small gathering of friends on your back patio. We aren't talking about crazy, over-the-top Pinterest-themed parties, but just a little something to keep you on track. For my "nautical outdoor party," I found an image for a table setting from HGTV along with a table and umbrella from Coastal Style (via an old Pottery Barn image) that I loved. They both give off a casual vibe, but look pulled-together too.

2. Send out invitations a couple of weeks in advance. I think it's fun to send out an electronic invitation if you're inviting 10 or more people over. That's certainly not a hard and fast rule, but I think it makes it a feel a little more official and helps you keep track of RSVPs. I found an adorable invitation from Paperless Post (my favorite e-invitation site) that went along with my casual nautical theme.

3. Gather your decorating supplies. Think about what you already have in the house that goes with your theme and use those things first. For an outdoor party, outdoor-friendly dinnerware like these melamine plates are handy (and unbreakable!), a few comfy pillows for folks to lean on, and some mood lighting - I love globe string lights for this. If you need to make any purchases, try to buy things you'll be able to use again!

4. Plan the menu. I am not a cook, so the simpler the better when it comes to the food and drinks. I'm always game for a potluck-style meal since people tend to bring their favorite yummy dish to share. As the host, I like to do one signature food item and one signature drink. This can make it feel festive and special. The inspiration I pulled for the special food item was for these adorable fireworks fruit kabobs. They're easy, but don't they look fancy? :) For a drink, it's easy to make a big jar-full and have people add alcohol if they'd like. This apothecary jar is perfect to house it in and then all you need are some cute cups and people can serve themselves. Easy enough, right?

Then all you need is to do is welcome people in, provide some comfy seating and good conversation...and enjoy yourself and your guests!

Ok, now who wants to throw a party? Sign me up!

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