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One of my favorite things about Los Angeles—aside from the people and the vast number of things there are to do—is obvious: the weather. 284 days of sun means al fresco dining is a year-round event. But even if the leaves are turning where you live, there’s still time squeeze in another outdoor party. Here’s how to throw one—without breaking the bank:

Make the space feel special. 

You would be surprised by how easy it is to turn your own backyard into a party venue simply by adding a few decorative elements in complementary shades. Once you choose your color palette, add flowers, garlands, and candles to elevate the space. Keep in mind, the outdoor venue is the real star here, so remember less is more.

Arrange the space to encourage mingling.

There is nothing worse than walking into a party to see the guests divided on either side of the room, middle school dance style. To make sure that guests feel comfortable getting to know each other, arrange your space to allow conversation to flow naturally. Lay out blankets for casual seating that encourages guests to mingle and get to know each other.

Light the way.

In an outdoor setting, it’s important to be mindful of lighting changing as the sun sets. Use candles or lanterns to create subtle ambience and ensure that guests enjoy themselves long after the sun goes down.

Give yourself a break.

Outdoor settings are inherently more casual, so save yourself some clean up time later and serve food and drink on paper. These recycled options are cute and environmentally conscious.

Don’t forget inside!

Even though the majority of the party will be spent outside, guests will still need to use the bathroom and inevitably someone will deal with a red wine spill. Make sure to tidy up the kitchen and bathroom area closest to your party space, so that your guests feel comfortable and you can feel confident that your beautiful party will remain the center of attention. 

Discover Emily’s entertaining must-haves: Hand With Heart Bottle Opener

Liberty Large Plates

Orion Hanging Star Metal Lantern

Beach Candy Picnic Blanket

Milton Glass Bottle