Porch parties are my favorite! There is something magical that happens during a beautiful evening on the porch with friends. Front porch, back porch, it doesn't matter to me! As long as there is a comfy chair and special people I am a happy girl. A little candle light (citronella if you live in the south), a little wine, some good food, and a whole lot of laughter equals good times.
Last minute porch parties are the best! No time to be too fussy or formal. Comfortable and simple, just the way I like things! If you are lucky enough to love your neighbors then there’s a good chance you will be hosting a last minute get together at some point. There are several little tricks I use to always be prepared for a porch party.
Keep your porch and outdoor furniture clean(ish) at all times. It will take a little work but you will enjoy your outdoor space so much more if you can use it whenever you want and don't have to have a big work day to make the space usable. My mom flips her chair cushions when we sit on the porch so there is a clean side and a dirty side. I keep a couple of cute throws handy to toss on the chairs if they are a little dirty.
Keep cute paper napkins and a couple of serving trays handy. Everyone loves snacks when sitting on the porch. If you keep a few cute utensils and serving pieces on hand you will always be prepared to fix a last minute goodie tray for folks to graze on. Use real glasses, plates and silverware. Beverages taste better out of a glass, and everyone prefers a real fork! Your casual party will feel so much more special if your guests have the honor of eating on a real plate.
Light candles! Whether in a lantern or just tea lights on the table, a little candle light gives great porch atmosphere!
Make sure you have a supply of bug spray and citronella readily available. No one will enjoy sitting on your porch if they are being devoured by pests! A fan is also a nice touch.
If I am having folks over to sit on the porch I usually fix a little tray of sliced deli meat, raw veggies, pimiento cheese, and crackers or chips. Anything that you can graze on or eat without much trouble will keep your guests at ease. There are many things you can keep in the pantry for impromptu gatherings like pickles and pickled okra, various olives, baby corn, artichokes... anything you can open up in a pinch.
You always want to have a fun beverage when having guests, whether it is a pitcher of lemonade or a fun cocktail. If your guests ask if they can bring anything, have them bring their favorite beer or favorite cocktail ingredients.
Homemade ice cream is always a fun treat at a summer gathering. Get that church going and let it work while you visit. It will be such refreshing desert for your guests at the end of the night.
My last tip is to Relax! I have to remind myself often that things don't have to be perfect. If you are comfortable, your guests will be comfortable!
I hope this inspires you to get out and enjoy your outdoor spaces! It doesn't matter if your home is large or small, if it is filled with love and kindness, your friends will want to be there. Even the small balcony of your tiny apartment can be an inviting spot for friends. Have some folks over and let the good times roll!