(NAPSA) - Outdoor get-togethers are supposed to be time for fun and friends, but some party hosts find these events incredibly stressful. Throwing an outdoor gathering doesn't have to be a major feat. By preparing some noteworthy dishes and placing a few noticeable accents, you can impress guests and still be able to relax and enjoy yourself. Here are a few simple tips for your open-air soiree:
Decorate with vibrant colors. For a daytime party, use small flowering potted plants as centerpieces instead of fresh-cut flowers that may wilt. For an evening party, string some colorful hanging lanterns throughout the yard to create a relaxing and festive mood.
Keep it cold. Serve cold salads that can be prepared ahead of time, so you won't be in the kitchen while your guests are enjoying themselves. Instead of a standard potato salad, try a cold rice salad with Mediterranean flavors.
Get grilling. Impress guests by offering a third option besides just hamburgers and hot dogs. Put eggplant and zucchini on a skewer and brush with a marinade of your choice-it makes a great vegetarian alternative.
Serve seasonal fruit. Instead of spending hours in the kitchen baking dessert, buy some fresh fruit, such as strawberries or blueberries, and serve with whipped cream for a sweet finish.
Keep essentials on hand. Be sure to have sunscreen available for daytime parties, and if your party continues into the evening, tiki torches can help give added light while keeping the bugs away.
Serve a signature cocktail. Many people love a refreshing mojito, but don't have the bartending skills to mix one. If that sounds like you, try using T.G.I. Friday's Ready-to-Serve Flavored Mojitos. They include everything pre-mixed-even the rum-so you can just pour over ice and serve in a pitcher.
Be safe. Make sure all your guests enjoy Flavored Mojitos or any drink responsibly and have a safe way to get home. Arrange a carpool with a designated driver or provide the phone number for a taxi service.
T.G.I. FRIDAY'S Ready-to-Serve Cocktails ranging from 12-18% Alc/Vol. T.G.I. Friday's is a registered trademark of T.G.I. Friday's of Minnesota, Inc. used under license. (c) 2008 Produced by Diageo, Norwalk, CT.