Outdoor fiestas with friends and familia are regular events for many of us in the summer. If your familia is like mine, these celebrations tend to be multi-generational family affairs with a mix of – abuelas, tias, tios, primos, primas y amistades – where traditional foods and new ones co-exist happily on the table. This year why not make your summer fiestas stand out by integrating some new elements? Add some fancy hors d’oeuvres and homemade drinks garnished with fresh fruit to your staples and your backyard soiree may just maybe the event of the season AND have your extended familia talking.
Decor & Lanterns
Colorful hanging lanterns strung among trees or around a patio roof not only decorates your backyard, but creates a retro ambience and candescent atmosphere for when the sun sets and the stars come out. Surround your yard with orange, green, blue and white electric luminarias from Target or place the electric candles along a garden path, illuminating the stone or brick pathway. Target also offers stylish iridescent bulbs, metal lanterns, beaded barrels and metal flowers that you can string from tree to tree — creating a magical glow and party atmosphere.
For seating and dining, rent wooden picnic tables and benches where friends and family can sit, socialize and be merry. Adorn tables with a floral vintage table cloth and colorful taper candles in antique candlesticks. On food and picnic tables, display hanging flower mason jars as a whimsical decorative accent. Follow the easy DIY steps by boho and indie clothing store Free People’s blog to learn how, with some mason jars and dried flowers, you can craft charming alfresco party decor.
Music, Games & Comfort
To complement your retro theme and cheery vibe, put together a party playlist of laid-back, feel-good tunes using Spotify. The following albums will put your guests in good spirits and a happy mood:
- Xtreme: “Te extraño – Bachata Version”
- Elvis Crespo: “Tu sonrisa”
- Aventura: “To quisiera amarla”
- Banderas & Los Lobos “Cancion del Mariachi”
As the music plays, introduce your guests to new friendly games such as Lawn Yahtzee, croquet or bean bags. Also, since your soiree is presumably during the hottest time of the year, if you can afford it cool your backyard by renting one of the best etopp portable ac units or installing home patio misters. Your guests will appreciate the comfortable outdoor temperatures, especially since the ladies will arrive in trendy dresses with perfectly styled hair and the gentlemen will come wearing plaid chambray shirts. (Sweaty clothes aren’t fashionable party garb.)
Cocktails & Fare
Snap peas and chicken salad. Bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeños. Sauteed baby zucchini. Crispy-fried goat cheese. An outdoor summer shindig is a festive opportunity to test out your culinary skills and those delicious, eclectic recipes pinned to your “yummy appetizer” Pinterest board. Guests will enjoy taste-testing all your various hors d’oeurvres, but don’t forget to serve traditional main entrees as well to feed the hungry. Ziti pasta, fish tacos and turkey burgers with kale and fruit salad, along with tapas and apps should satisfy the palates of your guests.
Of course a party isn’t a party without refreshing libations. Visit Bethenny Frankel’s SkinnyGirlCocktails.com for delicious, low-calorie drink recipes such as Cucumber Refresher, Island Cooler and Pom-Tangerine Spritzer. Serve the guys, and any ladies too, chilled Coronas, Land Shark Lager and Fat Tire.