Day 4: Planning the Menu for Outdoor Entertaining

Thanks for joining me in my “30 Days of Summer Entertaining” series.

As I always say here at RE, learn to KISS and everything will flow smoother and you’ll be a happier hostess.

Keep It Simple, Sister!

There are so many ways to plan an outdoor party.

1. How do you want to serve your guests? Sit-down dinner, buffet style, or fill your plate at the grill?

2. Think about the seating. Folding tables, mixed-matched tablecloths and chairs work just fine!

3. Plan out the menu. Use a piece of paper to write down what you want to serve. Always start with the main dish. If you want burgers, then build around that entree.

4. Delegate by jotting your guests’ names down by a food item or entree’.

5. Let your guests know what they are bringing and then start preparing and organizing the food items you’ll be serving.

6. Pull it all together with a healthy attitude that things do not have to be perfect. When everyone contributes, it becomes more “community” and less about you.

One thing I love is the surprise and uniqueness of what each guest has to offer when they bring a dish. It does feel better, especially in our economy today, when everyone becomes a contributor to the meal.

So many people are intimidated by the menu. I’m not sure why, except I think our expectations supersede the reality of what we’re really trying to accomplish.

I’m not trying to impress and one-up with my outdoor dinner parties.

I just want to celebrate summer, families and friends, the early harvest, nature, and good conversation.

Again, keeping it simple is really the secret.

Do you tend to “over-do” when planning the menu by either NOT delegating, or possibly making TOO MUCH food?

Feel free to grab my button and share it with your readers :).

30 days of Summer Entertaining

10 comments on “Day 4: Planning the Menu for Outdoor Entertaining”

  1. Pingback: Using Accent Dishes to Compliment Your Table Setting — Reluctant Entertainer

  2. Pingback: Fire for Intimate Summer Entertaining — Reluctant Entertainer

  3. Pingback: When You Run Out of Tablecloths — Reluctant Entertainer

  4. I delegate and then STILL tend to over do…..

  5. Pingback: Napkins Options for Summer Entertaining — Reluctant Entertainer

  6. When I was younger I used to cook everything, whether it was dinner for friends or a holiday meal for the whole family who may be staying for a few days. I was FRAZZLED! Then one of my sisters asked if she could make a dish they enjoyed in their family. That was the beginning of change. I realized that I was robbing my guests (friends or family) of “participating” in the meal. Now I always delegate. I have found that most people feel more connected to the event. :)

  7. I have no problem delegating!!!! And I love it to be a surprise to see what my guests will bring. One of my new favorite sides..Teriyaki green beans, came from a friend who brought them to our house for dinner…and another friend introduced me to goat cheese on pizza when she brought it last monday!!

  8. I think I might finally be learning to delegate. I am hosting a baby shower in June, and I wrote down everything I could easily delicate – all the food and paper products, knowing that I had the cleaning, decorating, beverages and welcome table to do…with 2 littles. I figured I would just do what is left, but it looks like people generously offered to bring all that I needed. And that is perfectly okay with me, in fact, it makes it feel very doable for me, and I am really enjoying it now!

  9. I have learned to delegate…because after being married for over 20 years…I have still not figured out how to downsize how much I make. That way, we aren’t eating soggy tacos salad for a week! Delegating out helps makes guests feel great because they are contributing. I know when I take something I feel more at home. Happy Saturday.

  10. I admit I have a hard time asking/letting others bring food. I don’t really like “pot luck” sort of meals. Might be a control issue, might be because we both love to cook and that’s one of the reasons we invite company in the first place. We enjoy the whole meal planning/cooking process. And yes, I do cook too much food – with company coming or without. We are really good at using up the leftovers tho.

    Just writing this makes me feel like maybe I should rethink the issue.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *