The ultimate guide to stress-free parties
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- Previous Next2 of 10Photo by Keila Lopez
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- Previous Next10 of 10Courtesy of Trip Haenisch
INTRO-Trip's-Tips-41 of 10
Rule of Three2 of 10
"I focus on the food, the drinks and the music," explains Haenisch, owner and principal designer of Trip Haenisch & Associates. "Great tunes, high-quality food, a few easy drink options like beer, wine and a signature house drink are all key to a great time."
Outside Chance3 of 10
Haenisch says, make sure everything looks and feels comfortable and inviting. Keep outdoor furniture set up for informal gatherings (rather than packed away and stored) so you are always ready to go. Chairs with weather-friendly fabric seats will keep guests comfortable during leisurely dinners.
Open Door Policy4 of 10
The best parties have no restrictions. Allow guests to go in and out of the house, to hang out in the kitchen and be near the food and food prep areas. "I like to keep all the doors open to encourage an effortless flow of movement for my guests," says Haenisch.
Just for Fun5 of 10
Display an oversize, quirky piece to set the scene. Haenisch created an outdoor lamp from a larger-than-life tree stump. "I even have a life guard chair that I bring out now and then," he says. "It adds an element of whimsy to the space and reminds my guests not to take themselves too seriously."
Supply & Demand6 of 10
Plan ahead and store a few summer cocktail staples such as vodka and tequila in the pantry. Also, keep extra towels and blankets in the linen closet so you are always prepared for fireside drinks, impromptu picnics and sexy sit-down dinners.
Be Playful7 of 10
Rafts and beach balls in the pool, or even a bocce set on the lawn are a great way to add casual group activity options for guests.
A Touch of Glass8 of 10
Spare the environment from waste paper and plastic. Invest, instead, in a set of easy-to-match dinner plates and unfussy wine glasses that you can use both outside and indoors. Ikea and Crate & Barrel have inexpensive options in both basic white and in colors if you want to mix up the look of your decor.
Odds & Ends9 of 10
Look around the house and see what you already have to add pops of color and personality instead of purchasing themed accessories and fussy centerpieces. "I have collected different bowls and platters in a range of inky blues and blacks. I love to mix and match them for my backyard parties," says Haenisch.
Turn Up the Heat10 of 10
Centered in the middle of a grouping of chairs, a fire pit or bonfire not only looks amazing, it's also the perfect gathering point for conversation. If you don't have a lot of space, you can purchase small, self-contained versions online or at your local hardware store. And if you have a heated pool, keep it cranked up into the night for spontaneous pool parties.
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