There are two main guidelines to consider when you are planning an outdoor party. Check them out so your last hurrah of the summer is a successful one!
1. Treat the Outside Like it was Inside - Set the Mood - Music can set the tone for what kind of party you are having. It can make it more energetic, laid back or soothing, depending on what type of atmosphere you are going for. Have your decor and music selection go hand in hand as well as any outdoor games.
Put up Things You Don't Want Messed With - An outside or inside party needs to be safe for the kids and for the adults as well. If you have special things outside or even outdoor tools that you don't want to be picked up or played with, put them up. Create a space that you can relax in and not worry about as well. Move that special potted plant if it could get trounced on or broken!
Make it Feel Cozy - Comfy seating, small tables for drinks and maybe an outdoor rug can make your party feel cozy. Keep throws and blankets outdoors for guests to cover if the evening gets chilly and to put on the lawn for lounging and have pillows with outdoor fabric for even more comfort. Don't forget citronella candles or other such products to keep the insects at bay too. People will forget that they are outside!
2. Make a Super Easy Meal Use Something Pre-Made - Using pre-made snacks for starters or pre-made desserts or even some sort of pre-made side will help keep your work down so you can enjoy the party as well. Or, have a pitch in where everyone contributes something. Everyone will want to eat, but it doesn't need to be fussy.
Easy Access Drinks - Have a drink station set up for adults and kids. When you are outside, people can get thirsty, fast, and having a station where people can serve themselves will keep everyone happy and less on your shoulders as well. Bottled water or juice pouches for kids will help keep the cups to a minimum and be easy for little ones to carry around. Keep a cooler handy and at the kids level.
Fun for All - Have some things around that the kids can do (if there will be a lot) so that adults can visit or play games of their own as well. A coloring station, big outdoor fun games (not things with little pieces) and maybe even squirt bottles or other water types of games if it is going to be a really hot day. Make sure the outdoor space has an area for kids to run as well. Clean up sticks, rocks and dog mess so that no parents will have to worry about those things.
All in all...enjoy the great outdoors! Before you know it, the weather will change and it will be back to the inside for all your parties!