Party Planning: Simple Outdoor Summer Birthday Party

A few weekends ago I threw a birthday party for my husband – he’s a great reason to celebrate! I have hosted lots of dinner parties at our house, but this was my first time planning a party held at a separate, outdoor location. July in South Carolina is hot and humid, so I knew it wouldn’t be glamorous or fancy. I planned the event around his favorite food – hot dogs – and one of his favorite activities – frisbee golf. It was a fun party with about 10 friends and family in attendance. I learned a few things and picked up some helpful tips along the way!

1. Make A Master ListΒ 

I started my party planning with a master list. It included:

  • Who we wanted to invite and the grand total if everyone came
  • The menu – I do this in two columns:
    • The items on the menu
    • Everything I need to make those items

From that master last, I made my shopping list and daily to-do lists for the days leading up to the party. When I purchased the items I needed, I made a check mark next to that item. I only crossed an item off the list if it was packed in a bag headed to the party. The day before, I started piling my reusable shopping bags full of party items near the door.

Party Planning Master List via

2. Communicate Times and Locations Directly

The party had two parts – an optional frisbee golf game at 1 PM, and then the actual party at the park near the frisbee golf course at 5 PM. I created an invitation in PicMonkey and sent it out over a month before the party – but we ended up inviting a few more people who never received the actual invitation. My husband invited a few of his friends from work, and I felt funny asking him to get their wives’ email addresses since we’d never met. Big mistake. From now on I will always communicate directly with the wife (not because men are incompetent – they aren’t – but because details are more important to women). I eventually got in touch with one of the wives the day before, and she was relieved to get all the details of when and where things were happening.

3. Take Extra Measures For Outdoor Parties

I wanted to have the party outside at a park for several reasons – there would be a place for kids to play, and it wouldn’t matter if the men were all muddy from playing frisbee golf. Really, having a party outside makes it a little more challenging because you have no control over the weather or surroundings! Here are my tips for making outdoor parties a little less stressful:

  • Have a backup: I made sure the house was ready for company – just in case it rained and we had to have the party at home.
  • Plan for flies: I had lids or plastic wrap over all the food and made sure it was covered unless someone was accessing it!
  • Plan for wind: I took a roll of tape to anchor the tablecloths on the picnic tables and left the napkins inside the plastic wrapping. I didn’t have anything blow away, and only a few things fluttered briefly!

Have you pulled off an outdoor summer party recently? I’d love to hear your tips!

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13 thoughts on “Party Planning: Simple Outdoor Summer Birthday Party

  1. What a fun party!! You went out of your way to plan things your hubby would love so I’m sure he was thrilled. I’ve never hosted an outdoor party, but I can really see the benefits if you’re hosting a lot of people. Thanks for pointing out the challenges, too. I’ll file them away for any future outdoor parties. My list making heart smiled when I saw that you had long term lists and daily lists. #listmakersforlife


  2. My husband threw me a birthday party last year, and one detail that I thought was so smart was he put a basket out with bug spray for everyone so that as the sun went down, everyone could continue being outside! So smart!
    For me, one thing that is important for me when entertaining is to use paper invites for everything from dinner parties to large get togethers. I know it’s not necessary, but I think there is something so special about mailed-invitations. (Plus, it forces me to keep all my addresses up to date for the holidays πŸ˜‰
    Your party looked fun and well organized; I’m not surprised πŸ™‚


  3. Outdoor parties in the south are a challenge aren’t they? Of course when I was growing up we did not mind the heat as much as we do now!! AC has spoiled us. My oldest son, Ben, is a frisbee golfer as well so I get the hot and muddy part!:) Looks like a great time was had by all.


  4. Good tips! I haven’t tackled an outdoor party yet but I know I would forget the detail of making sure things don’t fly away. And you’re right – women just care more about the details of parties than the guys. Although for our most recent gettogether I emailed all the girls (assuming the guys wouldn’t care or pass along the info) and I had to send a clarifying email that our gettogther was for the wives, husbands AND kids! HAHA! So tricky! πŸ™‚


    1. Ha! I also should have mentioned that I gave my new guests a quick run down of the menu – you never know if your guests eat gluten free, vegetarian or something crazy like that. πŸ˜‰ JK. πŸ™‚


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