Introduction: How to Throw an Outdoor Party!

About: I like making little treats and pretty much doing anything crafty. I want to learn new techniques and share how I do what I do. Edit - I took a break for awhile but I'm ready to get back into sharing my work …

This party was a flamingo-themed surprise birthday party for my friend, Kate. You can choose any theme to incorporate into your outdoor space.

If you're throwing it in the dead heat of summer consider having a water gun fight to cool off and having lots of water on hand for guests. Other hot weather considerations are shade and bug control.

This step by step instructable shows you how to plan ahead and still have fun the heat.

Step 1: Plan Ahead

I find it helpful to start with a list of everything you will need.

The basics you will need to think about are:
Food/Drinks, Games, Dining ware/tablecloths, Party favors, Decorations

Plan where the party will be held and when.

1 month before party: send out invites.

1 week before party : buy food and drinks. Ask for RSVPs so you know how much food and drinks to buy ahead of time.

Week of: Watch the weather. Consider the time of year and if bug control / sunshade will be needed. Pop- Up canopies or tree shade should be considered. Think about if it is windy, you will need to have tablecloths and paper items secured. If it rains, do you have a back-up place to hold the party such as a patio or pavilion?

If it is a surprise party plan how you are going to get the guest of honor to the party. Think about how they will enter the party and their point of view.

If need be, assign tasks to different guests to share the load.

It might help to have a check list as your purchase items and get decorations ready to make sure nothing gets forgotten.

Step 2: Plates, Napkins and Forks

It was a challenge to find pink flamingo plates that weren't luau themed.

To make my custom plates I used a clean rubber stamp and pink or red candy coloring as the "ink."

Pour out a small amount of the candy coloring on a plate and dip the stamp into it.

Stamp your design on each plate and let dry.

(Note* Food coloring will just bead up from the coating on the plates. I found that out the hard way)

I used pink napkins, table cloths and table ware.

Step 3: Party Wear

Think pink.

I made a custom fascinator and a pink tulle skirt.

To make the fascinator follow this link:

The tulle skirt is a little girls skirt I purchased and added strips of tulle, a fluffy boa and a pink feathered floral accent. They are all tied together with pink ribbon and attached to the skirt with safety pins.

Think of a party favor to hand out. I gave all the guests pink leis.

Bonus: Have guests wear colors that match the party's theme

Step 4: Centerpieces

The centerpieces were made using a mason jar, fake grass pad, flamingo ductape, scotch tape, plastic bling, pink ribbon, tulle and a pink feathered floral accent. You will also need hot glue.

Unscrew the lid of your mason jar and set aside.

Tape two strips of duct tape, horizontally around the middle of the mason jar. Cover the middle section of the duct tape by hot gluing a plastic bling strip around it as well.

Take the wire end of your accent piece and bend it into a circle to go into the bottom of the mason jar. Stuff in some pink puffy pieces of a boa or loose feathers around the wire.

Center the accent piece using strips of scotch tape in a hashtag # design on all sides of the floral accent.

Gently take your jar ring and slide it down the feathers and screw into place.

Cut out pieces of tulle, gather and tie with a ribbon. Knot the ends of the ribbon. Make 6-8 tulle puffs and hot glue around the ring of the jar letting the knotted ribbons lay on the outside of the jar.

Set your jar creation on top of some fake green grasses or a square of green paper.

Step 5: Food

Decide if you are going to have a meal or just deserts and hors d'oeuvres for your party.

Add some of the party theme to the treats in simple ways with picks or theme the food with colors.

If it's a hot summer day, keep condiments in a cooler until they are ready to use, have plenty of cold water on hand and be mindful of leaving out ice cream and iced deserts.

Bugs will forever be a problem if there is food out. Make sure to keep food covered when possible and set out a few citronella candles around the food table.

Step 6: Yard Decor

This is the creative part.

Of course, this is flamingo themed so I decorated with a pink and yard flamingoes.

The archway uses fabric I picked up from good will and some strands of tulle. Pink balloons were tied through out the yard. The larger flamingo is a cardboard cutout with streamer paper glued to the body and a beak and eye cut out from construction paper. The legs are metal strips spray painted pink.

I showcased the big present by adding some pool noodles as a sort of fence to help bring focus to the chair in the middle.

If the party is in the afternoon, set up in the morning to give yourself plenty of time.

Step 7: Have Fun!

Sit back, relax and enjoy the party!

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