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16 Tips for an Effortless Summer Outdoor Party

16 Tips for an Effortless Summer Outdoor Party

Summer may be nearly over, but there is still time for at least a few more fun summer outdoor parties before the cooler weather hits. You have plenty of time to plan the summer party to end all summer parties, and you can make sure that you and your guests have loads of fun with the following 16 party planning tips.

1. Set a Date

Before planning a party, it is a good idea to contact everyone you plan on inviting to make sure that they are going to be available.
Resource to help you: The Kitchn

2. Set a Time

Every party has its stragglers, and once the meal is done, you likely won’t feel like firing up the barbecue to cook more food. Make sure that everyone knows what time you plan on serving food, so hungry guests will be sure to arrive on time.
Resource to help you: NeedToMeet

3. Send Invitations

These days, people tend to be informal, but it is still nice to receive an actual printed invitation to a party. It shows your guests that you have actually put some thought into it, and that you really want them there.
Resource to help you: Evite

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4. Rain Date

You never know what the weather is going to be like. Heck, most of the time the weatherman doesn’t even get it right! Make sure that you have a rain date planned, so if the weather doesn’t cooperate, there will still be a party.
Resource to help you: HGTV

5. Ask about Allergies

To ensure everyone has a great time, ask if your guests have any food allergies so you can be sure to prepare foods they can enjoy.
Resource to help you: AAAAI

6. Proper Attire

No one likes to show up at a party under or over-dressed. Make sure that the invitation specify what kind of party it is. If you are having a pool party, let everyone know that bathing suits and flip-flops are perfect attire.
Resource to help you: Emily Post

7. Bathroom Facilities

It is a lot easier to rent a port-a-potty than it is to have people traipsing through your home all night to use the rest room.
Resource to help you: PortaPotty

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8. Seating

Most of us don’t have enough lawn chairs for more than a half a dozen people or so. You have a couple of options for seating. You can rent chairs for the party, or if it is a really informal event, make sure that the invitations tell guests to bring their own lawn chairs.
Resource to help you: Party Rental LTD

9. Extension Cords

Make sure that any extension cords are pinned to the ground so no one trips and falls.
Resource to help you: Brit+Co

10. Lighting

It is getting darker earlier now, so you need to make sure that you have plenty of lighting for a nighttime party. There are all kinds of great ways to light up an outdoor party. Patio lanterns are always a great choice, and another option is to use strings of white holiday lights.
Resource to help you: Pinterest

11. Kids

If anyone is bringing kids, plan some activities for them as well, such as sprinkler games, water volleyball, etc.
Resource to help you: Activity Village

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12. Decorations

You don’t need to spend a lot of money on decorations for your party. Hit up your local dollar store for fun items such as paper globes, table cloths, etc. A piñata is great decorative item that is fun as well.
Resource to help you: Babble

13. Mosquitoes

No summer party is complete without mosquitoes, but you can keep them at bay. Make sure there is no standing water, plug in fans, use citronella candles, and offer bug wipes to your guests.
Resource to help you: The Family Handyman

14. Music

Bring the speakers outside, but don’t crank it so the whole neighborhood can hear the music. Play classic tunes that everyone loves.
Resource to help you: Last FM

15. Keep Cool

Have hand-held fans for your guests to help them stay cool, as well as some cold compresses and plenty of ice.
Resource to help you: Apartment Therapy

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16. Cleanup

Make sure that there are plenty or garbage cans around so there is a place for people to toss paper plates, napkins, etc.
Resource to help you: Oh Happy Day

Featured photo credit: Patrick via flickr.com

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Jane Hurst

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Last Updated on July 10, 2020

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

How to Take Control of Your Life with Better Boundaries

We all have them—those hurtful, frustrating, offensive, manipulative people in our lives. No matter how hard we try to surround ourselves with positive and kind people, there will always be those who will disrespect, insult, berate, and misuse you if we allow them to.

We may, for a variety of reasons, not be able to avoid them, but we can determine how we interact with them and how we allow them to interact with us.

So, how to take control of your life and stop being pushed around?

Learning to set clear firm boundaries with the people in our lives at work and in our personal lives is the best way to protect ourselves from the negative effects of this kind of behavior.

What Boundaries Are (And What They’re Not)

Boundaries are limits

—they are not threats or ultimatums. Boundaries inform or teach. They are not a form of punishment.

Boundaries are firm lines—determined by you—which cannot be crossed by those around you. They are guidelines for how you will allow others to treat you and what kind of behaviors you will expect.

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Healthy personal boundaries help protect you from physical or emotional pain. You may also need to set firm boundaries at work to ensure you and your time are not disrespected. Don’t allow others to take advantage of your kindness and generosity.

Clear boundaries communicate to others that you demand respect and consideration—that you are willing to stand up for yourself and that you will not be a doormat for anyone. They are a “no trespassing” sign that makes it very clear when a line has been crossed and that there will be consequences for doing so.

Boundaries are not set with the intention of changing other people. They may change how people interact with you, but they are more about enforcing your needs than attempting to change the general behavior and attitude of others.

How to Establish Boundaries and Take Control of Your Life

Here are some ways that you can establish boundaries and take control of your life.

1. Self-Awareness Comes First

Before you can establish boundaries with others, you first need to understand what your needs are.

You are entitled to respect. You have the right to protect yourself from inappropriate or offensive behavior. Setting boundaries is a way of honoring your needs.

To set appropriate boundaries, you need to be clear about what healthy behaviors look like—what healthy relationships look like.

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You first have to become more aware of your feelings and honest with yourself about your expectations and what you feel is appropriate behavior:

  • Where do you need to establish better boundaries?
  • When do you feel disrespected?
  • When do you feel violated, frustrated, or angered by the behavior of others?
  • In what situations do you feel you are being mistreated or taken advantage of?
  • When do you want to be alone?
  • How much space do you need?

You need to honor your own needs and boundaries before you can expect others to honor them. This allows you to take control of your life.

2. Clear Communication Is Essential

Inform others clearly and directly what your expectations are. It is essential to have clear communication if you want others to respect your boundaries. Explain in an honest and respectful tone what you find offensive or unacceptable.

Many people simply aren’t aware that they are behaving inappropriately. They may never have been taught proper manners or consideration for others.

3. Be Specific but Don’t Blame

Taking a blaming or punishing attitude automatically puts people on the defensive. People will not listen when they feel attacked. It’s part of human nature.

That said, you do not need to overexplain or defend yourself. Boundaries are not open to compromise.

Sample language:

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  • “You may not…yell or raise your voice to me…”
  • “I need…to be treated with respect…”
  • “It’s not okay when…you take things from my desk without asking…”
  • “I won’t…do your work…cover for you anymore…”
  • “It’s not acceptable when…you ridicule or insult me…”
  • “I am uncomfortable when…you use offensive language”
  • “I will no longer be able to…lend you money…”

Being able to communicate these without sounding accusatory is essential if you want others to respect your boundaries so you can take control of your life.

4. Consequences Are Often Necessary

Determine what the appropriate consequences will be when boundaries are crossed. If it’s appropriate, be clear about those consequences upfront when communicating those boundaries to others.

Follow through. People won’t respect your boundaries if you don’t enforce them.

Standing our ground and forcing consequences doesn’t come easily to us. We want to be nice. We want people to like us, but we shouldn’t have to trade our self-respect to gain friends or to achieve success.

We may be tempted to let minor disrespect slide to avoid conflict, but as the familiar saying goes, “if you give people an inch, they’ll take a mile.”

It’s much easier to address offensive or inappropriate behavior now than to wait until that behavior has gotten completely out of hand.

It’s also important to remember that positive reinforcement is even more powerful than negative consequences. When people do alter the way they treat you, acknowledge it. Let people know that you notice and appreciate their efforts.

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Final Thoughts

Respect is always a valid reason for setting a boundary. Don’t defend yourself or your needs. Boundaries are often necessary to protect your time, your space, and your feelings. And these are essential if you want to take control of your life.

Start with the easiest boundaries first. Setting boundaries is a skill that needs to be practiced. Enlist support from others if necessary. Inform people immediately when they have crossed the line.

Don’t wait. Communicate politely and directly. Be clear about the consequences and follow them through.

The better you become at setting your own boundaries, the better you become at recognizing and respecting the boundaries of others.

Remember that establishing boundaries is your right. You are entitled to respect. You can’t control how other people behave, but you do have control over the way you allow people to treat you.

Learning to set boundaries is not always easy, but with time, it will become more comfortable. You may eventually find that boundaries become automatic and you no longer need to consciously set them.

They will simply become a natural extension of your self-respect.

Featured photo credit: Thomas Kelley via unsplash.com

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