From Beachy to Barbecue: Party Themes for Outdoor Entertaining

Trying to find a theme or get just the right look for your big bash? We put together a bunch of party ideas for bridal showers, but you can use them for most any event or gathering.

Backyard Barbecue


How about a backyard barbecue with a bit of a Western flair — perfect for Father’s Day, graduation or 4th of July. Set out hay bales for seating (and save them for fall decoration after the party). Use fresh fruits and veggies to make farmers-market centerpieces (you can use those after the party too). Serve all-American classics like burgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato and/or mac salad, and apple pie. Set up a drink station to look like an old-time lemonade stand, serve drinks in Mason jars and place bottles of beer in galvanized buckets.  

Inspired by the Beach

Even if you’re not hosting a party, create an inviting outdoor space by adding a few beachy items like a DIY sisal rug, lanterns hung on rope and an ocean-blue color palette. It’ll feel welcoming for big parties, small dinners or just you and a good book. If you are hosting a wedding shower, and the couple has a tropical honeymoon destination, use that as your theme.

Wine Tasting

For a more sophisticated adult gathering, try an early-evening wine tasting. It is not complicated to set up. Just select three to four varietals of wine, get the correct stemware for each and find out the proper primers (two to three foods or spices that enhance the flavor of each type of wine). Set up different stations/tables for each varietal—it will encourage guests to mix and mingle. Happy entertaining!

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About Jackie McGilvray 

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When I'm not pulling together great projects and inspiring ideas as editor of DIYNetwork.com, I'm watching my two adorable boys play whatever sport is in season. Or I might be ...

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