Porch Party: Casual Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Before the warm weather slips away, call your friends and neighbors over for a porch party. A DIY mojito station and recipe card party favors keep the party fresh and the mood light.

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    Casual Outdoor Party Ideas

    Guests are likely to linger at this low-key summer affair. Stage seating for easy conversation, spread out a table of make-your-own mojitos, plus offer a few light appetizers. We've collected the recipes in a free booklet.

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    Porch Party Tips

    Late Sunday afternoons are a great time for conversation and get-togethers, says Denise Gee, author of Porch Parties. Denise regularly serves drinks, nibbles, and casual conversation on her own porch. "It's what I called the 'unplanned party plan,'" she says.

     

    Seating at her parties is a mix of a porch swing, solid-color outdoor chairs, and lean-on-the-railing perching. Guests serve themselves at food and drink stations, promoting conversation and movement at her parties.

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    Food Place Cards

    No guessing here -- answer "what's for dinner?" with paper place cards naming the evening's nibbles. Get the free designs, featured in Denise's menu and shown here.

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    Keep Drinks Cold

    A plastic-lined urn is on chill duty: Line this porch staple with a garbage bag, fill with ice, and tuck in an array of sodas and drinks for a grab-as-you-like atmosphere.

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    Party Cocktail Idea

    Dress up your drinks with something special, such as a juicy citrus knot to top off your sipper. The knots are easy to make: Using a sharp peeler or paring knife, cut an orange peel into 1/4-inch-wide strips and tie. You can make them ahead and store them in cold orange juice to up the flavor.

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    Mojito Basics

    At a mojito bar, guests concoct their own fruit-infused libations. Ensure you've got the supplies, leaving room for experimentation.

    To make a mojito, drop a palmful of mint or basil in a glass. Instead of sugar, add a jigger of fruit-flavored simple syrup and rum. Add a couple of teaspoons of fresh lime juice and muddle the herbs. Fill the glass two-thirds full with ice and squeeze in two lime wedges. Top it off with club soda and stir.

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    Free Recipe Booklet

    Get six of Denise's original recipes, plus some of her favorites from Better Homes and Gardens. This free printable makes a great print-and-trim party favor so guests can re-create their party favorites.

    The recipes include:

    • Nannie's Pimiento Cheese
    • Great Guacamole
    • Watermelon Agua Fresca
    • Poteet Strawberry Cakettes with Strawberry Glaze
    • Coconut Shrimp with Mango Sauce
    • And more!
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    Porch Party Fans

    Keep guests comfortable with a few paper fan party favors. Simply trim the edges of heavyweight scrapbook paper and sandwich a clean paint stick between two of them. A bit of glue keeps them intact.

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    Porch Decorations

    Line your railing with these bright paper fans: Start with two large pieces of colored paper (we used 19"x25" drawing paper in two colors). Fold each piece into 1-inch accordion pleats (a bone folder can help with this task), then fold each paper in half to form a fan. Nest one fan inside the other and tape or glue them together. String a ribbon through the narrow end to hang.

  • Next Slideshow How to Throw a Casual Mexican Taco Party Like a Chef

    How to Throw a Casual Mexican Taco Party Like a Chef

    Whether you're celebrating Day of the Dead, Cinco de Mayo, or just a low-key Friday night with friends, a build-your-own-taco buffet and a few colorful decorations make for a fun Mexican-theme party. "Top Chef" judge and frequent party host Hugh Acheson shows you how.
    Begin Slideshow »
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