Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Hosting a Quality and Memorable Outdoor Party This Summer

Your party is always a reflection of you – your preferences, tastes and lifestyle. It is also a reflection of your guests, their preferences, special needs, and how important they are to you – their host.

Hosting a quality event is about being thoughtful. It will not be measured by how much money and time you spend, the famous brand names you use, or by mimicking the "Joneses" up the block -- but by how welcomed, comfortable and special each guest is made to feel.

Dawn Bryan, lifestyle expert, best-selling author, and founder of Qualipedia ™ -- the definitive source for making choices daily that count, offers the following tips:


Ø Be prepared! You need to feel relaxed and welcoming; be a guest at your own party

Ø Plan a party you would enjoy attending; express your own individuality/creativity

Ø Do not underestimate the time and resources required or overestimate your capabilities

Ø Use your freezer to prepare dishes ahead of time; write things down and make lists

Ø Set out all serving platters, dishes, utensils the day before; have enough ice, food, and drink

Ø Plan to be ready 30 minutes before the invited time; greet guests as they arrive


Ø Have an alternate plan in case of bad weather; have sunscreen available if it’s a day party

Ø If grilling, make sure you have grill, charcoal or fuel, and all tools clean and ready

Ø Keep the house cool for guests to escape the heat

Ø If it is a pool party, add fun water toys and floats

Ø Give guests comfortable places to relax, meet, and mingle by arranging seating into small groups.


Ø Always prepare extra portions!

Ø To avoid the growth of bacteria keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold

Ø To avoid traffic jams, set bar/drink table away from the buffet table

Ø If children are invited, plan to have some foods/drinks they will especially enjoy

Ø Place containers around for disposing of olive pits, toothpicks, shells, etc

Ø If you expect leftovers, have take-away containers ready for your guests


Ø Music sets the mood and paces the flow of the party

Ø Do you want live music, dancing, or just soft background music? Use your imagination!

Ø Consider celebrity look-alikes, stilt walkers, ventriloquists, caricaturists, face painters, mimes, fire eaters, dancers, jugglers, balloon makers, or fortune tellers


Ø Select a special date and make it your own: could be a Flag Day (June 14) party or "every June 18" party; commemorate an anniversary or special event

Ø Create a signature theme: a recipe, a season, a color, secret desire costumes or masks, jazz, salsa dancing, ping-pong tournament - all give imaginative impetus to your party, beginning with the invitation

Ø Send guests home with a gift bag or small memento related to your theme

Ø If party is on a Friday or Saturday evening, send guests home with fresh bagels, croissant, or danish for their breakfast - perhaps along with the next morning's newspaper

Qualipedia ™ is the definitive source for making choices daily that count. Qualipedia ™ educates consumers on their choices, helping them achieve independence from product hype, providing transparency about everyday items and gives people the information they can use to determine quality for themselves, enhancing their lifestyles in a way that works for them.

Dawn is the founder of Qualipedia ™ and best-selling author of “The Art and Etiquette of Gift Giving.” Dawn’s impressive career includes being selected as a consultant and advisor for many global brands including Gucci, American Express, Business Week Magazine, Citicorps/Diners Club, Swarovski Crystal, and others. Most recently, she advised Bad Boy Worldwide Entertainment on etiquette and protocol. She has authored many columns and books on etiquette, gift-giving and the quality of things for Business Week, Town & Country, Modern Bride, Vogue and Glamour among others. Dawn has taught international protocol to globalizing businesses and industries, as well as to Chinese journalists and diplomats in Beijing and Shanghai.

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