I recently read this article in praise of “scruffy entertaining” — the idea of hosting simply, offering whatever it is that you have, welcoming guests with a come-as-you-are type of mentality, and just not putting so much pressure on being a host. I loved it! It spoke to what I love most about being together with friends and family, which is just… being together. Visiting. Nobody visits any more! So the other day we decided to have an impromptu backyard hangout with family, to let the kids run around and to catch up with the grownups. We threw it all together in about 10 minutes and you know what? It was a total ball. It was simple, easy, and no stress. All we needed was some good music, a few snacks, and a place to gather.
So in the spirit of encouraging easy entertaining, we’re sharing just a few tips so that you can have your own impromptu backyard party and not stress about it even one little bit.
Make it Comfy You don’t need tables and chairs and tablecloths for a shindig. Toss out some blankets that you don’t mind getting a little grassy and top them with a few comfy pillows. Done.
Snack on What You Have Usually I feel like the most stressful part of planning a party is the food. Is there enough? Who eats what? Do we need forks? This time around, we went with what we had. We had a watermelon in the fridge and some popcorn in the pantry. And as it turned out the kids were thrilled. (Henry may or may not have eaten an entire bowl of popcorn on his own.) Next time you’re hosting something last minute, just use what you have. Don’t bother with a whirlwind trip to the store — in fact, you can even have guests help you rummage through your cupboards and help you put something together to eat.
Turn on the Tunes For me, music is what makes any party. I have the best memories of summer parties with my family in the backyard and music playing out of somebody’s pickup truck. These days we have fun bluetooth speakers like this SoundLink Mini from Bose so nobody has to leave their truck running. 😉 This little powerhouse speaker is perfect for taking along with you to the backyard or on a trip. It’s small but mighty and connects to your smartphone so you can wirelessly stream your playlists. (We’ve taken it with us on a couple of day trips this summer and it’s great in a beach bag, too!)
And speaking of playlists! I made a special playlist for our little shindig that I’d love for you to use as well. It’s all about the oldies but goodies: the 1950’s and 1960’s rock and roll that I remember listening to with my parents and sister (and they were already oldies when we were listening to them in the 80’s!) I love playing oldies for kids and family gatherings — the music is just so uplifting and fun and simple. There’s something about seeing my niece bopping her head along to an old doo-wop song that’s so sweet. And it always just sort of blows my mind that now I play the same music for my son that my mom and dad used to play for us. This playlist sounds pretty great on the SoundLink Mini, too! Perfect for a summer afternoon spent outside in the sunshine.
Bring Some Games I tossed out the DIY domino set that we made a couple of years back and the kids were crazy for it! My niece is just at the right age for learning to match dominos, my nephew liked arranging them in lines, and Henry just wanted to get in on the action. Ryan took some time to teach them the basics and they were totally into it. Having a simple game on hand that you can play while you chat is such a lovely way to pass the afternoon.
Snap a Photo I do love the planned family photos that are all set up with everyone dressed nicely, but my favorites are the ones from moments like these. Kids with watermelon juice dripping down their chins, grownups laughing at each other, bunches of hands reaching in the popcorn bowl. Be sure to snap a couple of candid photos to remember the day.
I’d love to know — is this up your alley, or are you able to handle party planning in your sleep? And what are some of your favorite memories of being together with friends and family? For me, simple moments like these are always my favorite. It feels so good to take the pressure off and just focus on spending time together, no matter where you are. Hooray for simple gatherings! xoxo
This post is sponsored by Bose. All ideas and opinions are my own. Thank you for being supportive of the partners who help keep Lovely Indeed rocking!