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Tips for a Stress-free Outdoor Get-Together

by Debbie Correale
Outdoor summer fun with friends

The weekend is approaching, the weather is supposed to be nice, and you spontaneously invite a few friends over. If you find yourself panicking as soon as the offer is out of your mouth, what can you do ahead of time to set yourself for a stress-free outdoor get-together? This week’s article will focus on a few tips for an impromptu gathering!

Set the tone of the informal gathering by suggesting appetizers and drinks. If a guest offers to bring something over, take them up on it! On your weekly grocery run (or order), stock up on the following things to have on hand; focus on items you would use even if you do not have company.

Prepare and Stock up on the following:

Pantry Items:

  • Crackers, Chips, Pretzels, Popcorn
  • Nuts
  • Jarred Olives and Tapenades
  • Canned Smoked Muscles
  • Artichoke Hearts – Jarred or Canned in brine
  • Dried fruit:  Dates, figs, mangos
  • Quality chocolates
  • Unique jam or chutney


  • Basic cocktail mixers:  Tonic and club soda, soda
  • Alcohol of choice
  • Nonalcoholic options such as natural seltzers

Cold items that will keep in your refrigerator for snacking:

  • Hard cheeses
  • Cream cheese (regular or vegan)
  • Ready-made hummus
  • Veggies you would typically use throughout the week:  Carrots, celery, radishes, snap peas, peppers, squash
  • Slice and bake cookies
  • Frozen Spinach (for dips)

Outdoor items, decorating, and service ware:

  • Check that all outdoor lights are working and available. Have batteries on hand in case a change-out is required.
  • Have multiple throws available for your guests as the evening cools.
  • Have bug deterrents available.
  • Find an outdoor storage box for your deck to keep pillows and throws dry and available. You could also store lanterns and candles this way.
  • Colorful summer cocktail napkins, disposable appetizer plates, or invest in a lovely set that you can use year-round.

The primary thing to remember is that getting together, laughing, and enjoying one another’s company does not have to be stressful. Your friends enjoy your company, and the simpler you make things for them, the more comfortable they will be. For your convenience, I created a checklist of the above information, which you can download or print! If you have the time, check out my Pinterest Board, which includes appetizer ideas. Have a fabulous time together!

By Debbie Correale, Redesign Right, LLC. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Houzz. Feature image licensed from Shutterstock | Jack Frog.

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