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Avoid these blunders for a stress-free alfresco event.

| By Rachael Thompson | Entertainment

7 Common Outdoor Entertaining Mistakes to Avoid

Avoid these blunders for a stress-free alfresco event.

Entertaining outdoors is one of the highlights of the warmer months. Spring, summer, and autumn call for delightful days and evenings outside with good food and drinks and even better company.

Done right, outdoor entertaining can be an easy and relaxing experience. If done wrong, everyone will either just want to head indoors or only stay for an hour or so.

Whether you're hosting a long lunch, a casual drinks event, or an afternoon picnic, we've rounded up some common mistakes to avoid to ensure you have a delightful alfresco gathering.

1. Overlooking the weather

In the days leading up to your event, make sure you've checked the weather. Climate change has made things particularly unpredictable so it's even more important that you have an undercover area or a backup plan in case it rains or is super windy.

2. Not having insect repellent and sunscreen handy

Both insects and the scorching sun can ruin an otherwise perfect event. There's almost always at least one person particularly susceptible to getting bitten by mosquitoes and people who want extra protection from the sun. Make sure you have both insect repellent and sunscreen handy so everyone can be comfortable.

3. Not preparing for cooler evenings

Few things make people want to leave more than when they start feeling the temperature drop. If you are entertaining in the afternoon and it carries into the evening, have some throws available to give out to anyone who gets a little bit chilly and wants an extra layer to keep them warm.

4. Not having enough food and drinks

If it's a casual affair, family and friends are more than likely to bring their own supplies. But if you're planning a sit-down lunch or dinner and haven't asked people to bring food and drinks with them, it's important to ensure there's enough to keep everyone sustained and entertained. Barbequed goods, salads, a good cheeseboard, and big pot, slow-cooked dishes are easiest to whip together and will feed larger crowds.

But don't over overboard – It can be tempting to opt for a smorgasbord of food and drink when entertaining, but a little goes a long way, especially if that little is especially lovely.

If it's not a sit-down lunch or dinner, consider foods that don't require a knife and fork.

5. Limited seating

There often isn't enough seating outdoors for larger groups and it can make for an awkward few rounds of musical chairs. It's worth thinking beyond dining table seating and setting small benches or chairs in unexpected areas so guests can easily move around.

6. Not cleaning up your area beforehand

Making sure you give your outdoor area a quick clean before guests arrive is particularly important if it's the first time you're hosting outside since last summer. This can involve wiping down your table, dusting seats, cleaning up any cobwebs, and raking leaves – no one wants to sit on spiderwebs or a dusty chair!

tablecloth and placemats are a great way to ensure cutlery and serveware aren't touching a dirty table.

7. Not having an outdoor/portable speaker

Music sets the vibe and can get people in the mood for having a fun time. When you play music at your party, you control the energy of your gathering. Create a playlist beforehand so you're not spending half the time on your phone cueing songs.

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