Hosting an Evening Deck Party

By / Food / August 8th, 2013 / 1

I’ve hosted my fair share of outdoor parties. Children’s parties, pool parties, dinner parties…you name it, I have probably done it. My favourite, for purely selfish reasons, is the evening deck party.

I love to host but always find myself stressed for time no matter how prepared I thought I was. Hosting an evening affair allows ample daytime hours for food and drink prep, outdoor prep and some time to get my self dressed and ready for guests. Also, the evening deck party usually calls for an hors d’oeuvres style evening as opposed to a three or four course dinner. ..pheww!

Here are a few of my tried and true tips for hosting a great evening deck party:

Invite guests to arrive for 7:30

This gives you the time you need to adequately prepare, stress free. The party begins with daylight to spare, perfect for a few bites before sundown. Guests with children will appreciate the extra time to get their kids settled for an evening with their babysitter.

Your outdoor space

When the sun goes down the bugs will come out! Be sure to have enough bug repelling devices to keep your guests bite-free. Have on hand some spray-on bug repellent as well, just in case someone is being attacked relentlessly, despite your best efforts.

A few patio lights go a long way in setting the right mood. String them along a fence or across the deck. White Christmas lights wrapped up a tree are an inexpensive way to create a beautiful atmosphere for your guests to enjoy.

Ensure there is adequate seating and try to create a variety of conversation spaces.

Set up an outdoor music station and choose a playlist that is conducive to the type of atmosphere you are trying to create.

Your food menu

Have 2 great dips on the menu and depending on the number of guests, have a few stations set up. Ideally, each dip should be within your guests arm’s reach.

Select 6 – 8 hors d’oeuvres/tapas style munchies. Remember, some of your guests may have had dinner, some may not have; budget for at least a dozen pieces per person.

Your drink menu

Here, you can go one of two ways. Either have a full bar set up (preferably outdoors) where your guests can get what they want OR make a signature cocktail and serve wine (white, rosé and red) for the evening. It’s always a good idea to have some great beer on hand too. I use aluminium tubs that I fill will ice – one with a selection of beer, the other keeps my white and rosé wines cool.


My most important tip; enjoy yourself. Take your time preparing before your guests arrive; they will appreciate the extra time they get to spend with you.


Shannon is an urban soul living (and loving) a small-town, country life. Short term goals include always keeping her wine glass, and outlook on life, half-full. Long term goal…taking her three boys on a 6 month south Pacific adventure. We’ll keep you updated.

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