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Timothy Seeberg, Senior Event Planner at BG Events & Catering
Timothy Seeberg
May 6, 2014

Outdoor Party Ideas for Summer Events in Boston

Outdoor entertaining during the summer months comes about for a variety of reasons, and this is especially true in a beautiful, historical city such as Boston. Here we have compiled our best tips for how to host an outdoor party at home this summer, perfect for planning an outdoor event in your backyard no matter what you’re celebrating.

How to Host an Outdoor Party

Several elements of hosting a party—either indoor or outdoor—are relatively universal, such as selecting a date and time for your outdoor party event. Once you have chosen the when, highlight the reason for the outdoor celebration—be it an outdoor cocktail reception, outdoor BBQ picnic, outdoor brunch, or some other outdoor gathering—and be sure that your guests know exactly why you’re hosting the event.

Once the preliminaries have been established, choose the theme, menu, decorations and entertainment. These elements completely customize every detail of the event planning process, helping you take your outdoor event ideas and truly bring them to life.

Selecting a Theme for Your Outdoor Summer Party

Regardless of the occasion for your Boston-area outdoor party, the theme should match your event.  Here are a few outdoor event theme ideas perfect for a variety of party occasions:

  • Outdoor cocktail receptions—create sophisticated fun in chic outdoor fashion: casino night, roaring 20’s, Hollywood gala
  • Outdoor birthday parties—fit the theme to the person of honor, and don’t forget to have fun: Mexican fiesta, tropical luau, sports or sports teams
  • Outdoor BBQ picnics—the sky is the limit with this category: Wild West, southern flare, backyard campout, a keep-it-local bash of local foods and drinks
  • Outdoor brunch ideas—classy, summer fun abounds: garden party, a day at sea, make-your-own stations
  • Outdoor engagement parties—think romantic, summery and fun: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wine tasting event, clam bake/seafood buffet

midsummer nights dream

Any of these themes—and plenty of others—will be perfect for your outdoor party, and easy to execute in your own backyard using the tips below.

Themed Décor for an Outdoor Party

Decorating becomes infinitely easier after you’ve chosen a theme for your backyard outdoor party event.  Go all-out with your décor to fully immerse your guests in the themed experience, incorporating roulette tables, card games, flashing lights and dark velvet backdrops for a casino-themed party or twinkling strands of lights, pastel-hued paper lanterns and plenty of flowers for a Midsummer theme, for example.

An important decorating note: the idea that “less is more” does not apply when transforming your backyard into a themed experience, which means that you are allowed to go above and beyond what you would normally use for decorating your event space. The more elements you incorporate into your themed décor, and the more aspects of your backyard you convert to match your theme, the better the overall experience will be for all in attendance.

Setting Up A Backyard Outdoor Party

setting up a backyard party

If transforming your backyard into an event space worthy of remembering seems like a daunting task, we assure you that it will be easier than you think.  Here are six steps to setting up your backyard for an outdoor party:

  1. First and foremost, know your guest count and set up ample seating and tables to accommodate them all.
  2. Cover tables with theme-colored or theme-inspired tablecloths and dress them with theme-appropriate décor.
  3. Set up tables near your house, preferably in the shade or on the porch (if you have one) to hold food and drink items.
  4. If you’re providing the food for the outdoor party yourself, be sure to have appropriate warming dishes for hot food and cooling containers for cold items.
  5. Gather plenty of theme-colored or theme-inspired dinnerware, plates, napkins and cups (and if you’re interested in making your party an eco-friendly one, see our blog post).
  6. Finish your preparations by decorating your backyard event space—including walls, fences, sitting areas, dance areas, entertainment items, porches and railings, etc.

Once all of these items are completed, you’re ready to host—and enjoy—your themed outdoor party.

Add a Theme-Inspired Menu and Entertainment to Your Outdoor Boston Event

One of the most effective methods for bringing an event’s theme to life is to carry that theme throughout your menu offerings and entertainment options.  Once you have selected a theme, such as an outdoor tropical luau for an outdoor birthday party, keep that theme in mind as you choose the foods your guests will enjoy. Selecting matching tropical items such as fruit skewers, pulled pork, sweet potato chips and fresh salads will allow your guests to sample a little piece of the islands as they enjoy the outdoor birthday festivities.

When planning the entertainment for your backyard outdoor party, make sure that your activities, games, entertainers, music and more all match the overall feel of your event.  For example, here are some themed menus and themed entertainment pairs for your backyard party:

  • Wild West BBQ and country music band
  • Mexican fiesta and piñata
  • Tropical luau and a hula dancing competition
  • Wine tasting event and wine-based taste test
  • Casino night and magicians
  • Campout and a make-your-own gourmet s’mores bar

Wine and Cheese Display

Truly bring your outdoor party’s theme to life with the foods and the activities you provide for your guests.

For more party theme inspiration, or to get ideas about the types of items you’d like to add to your outdoor party event, visit our website and peruse our photo gallery.

Find even more Outdoor Party Ideas for Summer Events on our Pinterest board!

More Articles You Might Like:

Timothy Seeberg, Senior Event Planner at BG Events & Catering
Timothy Seeberg

Timothy Seeberg is the Director of Major Events at BG.

Brought to you by BG Events & Catering, Boston area catering and event producers.

About Us

It all started as most events do—with a vision. From the very beginning, we’ve challenged ourselves to go bigger, do better, and create more from less. Every day for us is a new chance to blow your mind with a spectacular new visual setting, a wildly outstanding venue, and a uniquely flavorful and inventive menu. This is the BG Way—working with you, calling on your imagination, and making every event magical. The next great event idea starts here.

We believe there is magic in every event, and there are no limits to where it can be found.

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