1.Group chairs together in several seating areas.
Rather than have all your guests sit in one large circle, group chairs or benches together in a number of different locations throughout the back yard. This gives your guests the opportunity to interact with each other in smaller groups.
2.Make sure you introduce your guests to each other.
If you are having people come to the party who don't know all the other guests, make a point of introducing them to the group as they arrive. Tell the other guests something about them in an effort to break the ice a bit. It doesn't have to be anything earth-shattering; a simple, "This is John Smith. He works with Bill at ABC Company" will suffice. That way, you will encourage your guests to get to know each other.
3.Give your guests something to do.
If you happen to have a pool in your back yard, then your guests can go for a swim. If not, your back yard party may be the perfect place for you and your guests to rediscover some outdoor games you used to enjoy as children. When was the last time you participated in a three-legged race? Have you tried running with an egg on a spoon lately? Another option for an evening party is to tell everyone to bring a sweater and gather around the fire pit for a singsong or marshmallow roasting after dark.
The idea here is to engage your guests in activities so that they are not stuck sitting around trying to fill in time making conversation. Certainly, playing some simple games or singing some favorite songs will make your party a memorable occasion.
4.Set up food and drinks at tables in various places throughout the back yard.
Make it easy for your guests to help themselves to food as the party progresses. Finger foods like veggies and dip, cheese and crackers, and nachos and salsa are great snack items. Keep the menu simple for your main course; you want to spend your time talking to your guests, not stuck in the kitchen!
Set up a self-serve table for nonalcoholic drinks. Include such items as soda, iced tea, lemonade, and bottled water. When it comes to serving alcohol, either yourself or a trusted guest should be designated the bartender. You do not have to keep serving alcohol until the end of the evening, and it's probably not a good idea for you to do so.
5.Invite the neighbors.
Not only is this a thoughtful gesture, but it solves the problem of your neighbors complaining about your party being too noisy!
By following these suggestions, your back yard party will be enjoyable for all your guests.
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Article Added on Sunday, March 9, 2008
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