Being the best-ever host of an outdoor party is hard work. There’s taking care of the food, of course, but there are also dozens of details that need to be sorted before the guests arrive. Which cooler will keep beers ice-cold all day? What plates and forks should the guests use to eat? Which outdoor speakers will set the mood with loud music, without a wall plug? We’ve rounded up all the gear you need—from punch pitchers to napkins and patio lights—to throw the ultimate outdoor party.
Vintage Light String. Photo: Restoration Hardware
Let There Be Light
Lighting can make or break an outdoor party. And not all lights that are attractive are durable—and vice versa. So we present to you our toughest find, a Vintage Light String ($195 for 50′ cord) that can brave even the strongest of summer thunderstorms, thanks to a water-resistant seal around the base of each socket.
Bugs can be total buzzkills. But so are the unattractive, stinky Citronella candles that fend them off. These two stylish options—a smaller grey Citronella candle ($19.95) and a 12-wick giant ($128)—will set the mood and ensure you make it through the day without bites you’ll be scratching for the next three weeks.
If this cooler can handle 170 pounds of fish, 30 pounds of ice, or 156 cans plus ice, it can definitely handle a standard cookout. With extra-thick insulation, 102-quarts’ worth of space, and sleek minimalist design, this 102-Qt Gott Marine Cooler ($99.95) is not messing around. Our other favorite option would be the Coolest Cooler ($399), which was born out of one of the most successful Kickstarter campaigns in history. Though the launch date has been pushed back to Summer 2015, this one’s got a built-in blender, cutting board, speakers, and USB port. We’re not worthy.
12-Piece Scrimshaw Melamine Plate Set, designed by Thomas Paul ($98). Photo: Burke Decor
Go melamine or don’t go at all. Melamine’s virtually indestructible, not to mention reusable and supremely easy to clean. The toughest thing about melamine is that there is so much variety in colors and patterns that we just can’t decide which suits us best. As in, we’re as much fans of a no-pattern deep blue set as we are fans of these nautical-themed and abstract-patterned plates.
French Bull for Cheeky Paper Goods. Photo: Cheeky
But, if you’re set on disposable dishware, the Bambu ($8) plates are sleek and simple, plus slightly weightier than most alternatives. As for paper, Cheeky’s ($3.99) are a lot more fun than standard paper plates and, courtesy of a partnership with Feeding America, every item you buy donates one meal to a person in need.
Color Dipped Birch Cutlery. Photo: Terrain
Cutlery You Don’t Have to Clean
Nobody likes disposable forks and knives that break while you’re piling food on your plate. That’s why we’re all about this Color-Dipped Birch Cutlery ($12). But if you’re avoiding disposable all together, this flatware set from Kaico ($78) is coated in white enamel, so they shouldn’t heat up too much when the sun is shining.
Mario Luca Giusti tumblers. Photo: Barneys New York
For All Those Drinks
These peek-a-boo tumblers designed by Mario Luca Giusti ($20) only look like they’re crystal.
Jack & Lulu Stripey Straws. Photo: Anthropologie
Sipping Like It’s The 1950s
These oversized retro-style paper Jack & Lulu Stripey Straws ($3.95) are bursting with color and ready to handle whatever drink, runny or slushy, stands in their way.
Mod Dot Napkin. Photo: Jonathan Adler
Not Your Average Napkin
Linen is a forever chic summer staple, and linen napkins are no exception. We’re swooning over these Mod Dot Napkins from Jonathan Adler ($18), which add a contained pop of color to any place setting. When it comes to disposable napkins, we’re fans of the playful patterns at Marimekko ($6). But sometimes you just need a white napkin, and there are few better than the oversized table napkins from Vanity Fair ($10.99).
Grainware Artis Pitcher. Photo: Ted Cavanaugh
Pitchers to Pour Punch
When it comes to water, lemonade, or punch, you’re only as good as your pitcher. It needs to be almost unbreakable, difficult to spill, and easy to refill at any and all times by helpful guests. We’re into this streamlined, acrylic Grainware Artis Pitcher ($55). Or, in case you want infused water or fresh-brewed iced tea (maybe the Long Island kind) on the spot, check out this Ceylon Pitcher ($30).
Schmidt Brothers BBQ Corn Holders. Photo: One Kings Lane
We’ll go to town on a corn on the cob, but we are not keen on buttery fingers. Yet as much as we love corn on the cob holders shaped like the corn we’re eating, we’re really loving the natural wood design and comfortable feel of these holders from Schmidt Brothers ($16).
Savora Pourer/Stopper. Photo: Bloomingdale’s
No Drops of Wine Wasted
Don’t let those unfinished bottles go to waste. We outfit ours with these Savora Pourer/Stoppers ($19.99) at the beginning of the day so we can pour liberally whenever we want without spoiling the vino.
Big Jambox by Jawbone. Photo: Jawbone
Turn the Music Up
The best outdoor speakers require little to no setup and keep the music blasting loud all day long. Enter, Jawbone’s Big Jambox ($299.99). It’s stylish, pumps out serious sound, and is bluetooth-enabled for a no-stress music situation. Now all you need to do is make the playlist.
J. Franklin Bocce Ball Set. Photo: Terrain
When we’re in the great outdoors—or our backyards—we play leisurely games with minimal setup. Nine times out of ten that means bocce ball. And this polished set designed from J. Franklin and Terrain ($198) is ready for action.
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from Bon Appétit http://www.bonappetit.com/entertaining-style/parties/article/summer-product-guide-2