11 Outdoor Dinner Party Ideas Perfect All Year Round

 The average American spends $1,422.65 a year on party planning.

It’s clear we love hosting parties for our loved ones but luckily, they don’t have to break the bank. If you’re eager to throw unforgettable outdoor dinner parties and aren’t sure where to start, you’ve come to the right place. 

Here are ideas for summer and winter outdoor dinner parties.

1. Fire up the Grill

Regardless of whether you're hosting an outdoor dinner party in July or December, firing up the grill is a must. If it's cold, whip up honey sweet potato chicken kebabs, which are quick and easy to make. To do this:

You'll Need

  • 1 large sweet potato, peeled and sliced into 1-inch pieces

  • 2 pounds of boneless chicken thighs, cut into 2-inch pieces

  • 1 sweet onion, sliced into 1 and 1/2 chunks

  • Olive oil

  • 7 bamboo skewers

  • 2 tablespoons garlic salt

  • 1 tablespoons cumin

  • 2 tablespoons chili powder 

  • 6 tablespoons honey

  • 2 tablespoons cider vinegar

Directions

  1. Add sweet potato chunks into a small saucepan and only just cover with water. Bring to a boil and cook for five minutes, until the potatoes are still slightly firm. Remove from the heat.

  2. Prepare seasoning by mixing spices and in another bowl, add honey with the cider vinegar for the glaze. 

  3. Add chicken to a bowl, drizzle with olive oil, and toss with half of the seasoning rub. Do the same with the cooled sweet potato chunks. 

  4. Slide the chicken, potato, and onion onto the wood sticks.

  5. Turn the grill onto a high heat and cook the skewers for nine minutes or until the chicken juices run clear. Then remove and serve. 

  6. And if you're stumped for dinner ideas for hot summer nights, serve grilled shrimp with oregano and lemon. Here's how.

You'll Need

  • 1/2 cup oregano leaves

  • 1 garlic clove

  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest

  • Freshly ground pepper

  • 2 and 1/2 pounds large shrimp, shelled and deveined 

Directions

  1. Mix oregano leaves, garlic, and lemon zest. Season with pepper.

  2. Toss the shrimp in the mix and thread the shrimp onto metal skewers and grill over high heat. Turn once or until the shrimp are charred and cooked through. Then serve. 

  3. This recipe works great with a salad, as it’s light and zesty. And if you're after a deeper citrusy flavor, add two tablespoons of lemon juice in the first step. Enjoy!

2. Set up a Stylish Dinner Table 

An outdoor dinner setup is crucial, especially in the winter. Buffets are the best option for summer outdoor parties. Just make sure the food is sealed in containers so no bugs get in. 

Even if it's cold and gray outside, create a cheery table set with blue-and-white spongeware. Add white flowers and napkins to add extra color to your party. 

3. Host a Fondue Dinner Party

For a fantastic outdoor fall dinner, have a fondue party. Add a steaming pot of cheese fondue and offer guests braided breadsticks, roasted potatoes, and rustic bread. 

And in the warmer months, encourage guests to don their favorite summer accessories and provide a chocolate fondue with strawberries, bananas, and melons. 

4. Create a Sangria Bar

Whatever the season, sangria is a go-to drink. Throw in an apple, an orange, 4 tablespoons of brown sugar, a cup of orange juice, and a dash of lemonade.

Add a 750-milliliter bottle of red (winter) or dry white (summer) and serve with ice cubes. 

5. Add Tiki Torches to Your Yard 

One of the best outdoor dinner decorating ideas is tiki torches. They work well in every season; just remember to anchor them in gravel-filled buckets.

To do this, hold one torch upright and fill until it’s three-inches from the rim and you’ll create the perfect ambiance.  

6. Host a Game Night Party

In the winter, invite your friends over for a cozy game night. Alongside snacks, no game night is complete without crispy chicken wings. 

To do this:

You'll Need

  • Chicken wings

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Directions

  1. Rub the wings with salt and herbs (if preferred), then let them rest. 

  2. Fry the wings until golden brown, around 10 minutes. 

  3. Remove and sprinkle paprika over them until they're fully covered.

  4. Now serve! You can serve these with homemade potato wedges, salad, or bite-sized snacks like jalapeno poppers. And don’t forget soda or beer to wash them down with. 

7. Serve Fancy S'mores

S’mores are a crowd-pleaser, especially when you’re around the campfire on a summer night.

If it’s too cold out, serve s’mores in individual skillets and top them with marshmallows for a decadent dessert. Your guests won’t be able to refuse!  

8. Fuel up on Pasta Salads

Pasta salads are an all-year-round staple for outdoor dinner parties. Cook the pasta and serve with sliced arugula, red onions, bell peppers, and parsley. You can either have it cold or hot if it’s winter.   

9. Hang String Lights 

Decorate your yard so guests are invited to gather there. Hang string lights along the fence or around flower pots.

You can also place string lights in a mason jar and dot them around the garden for inexpensive outdoor lighting.   

10. Create a Sled Bar

Find an old toboggan, flip it upside down, and you've got a bar. The best ones are 42-inches high, like a regular bar, and you can offer a wide range of drinks.

And if it's summer, repurpose an old wheelbarrow by adding ice with cool refreshments. 

11. Send Popsicle Party Invitations

Make cardboard popsicle party invitations and send them out to your guests. If it's winter, send out mitten-shaped invites.

To do this, get two sheets of cardstocks and draw a mitten shape on the top layer. Now, cut them out and use a hole punch and string to connect the mittens before adding party details. 

Those Are Our Outdoor Dinner Party Ideas

Now you have a summer and winter outdoor dinner party ideas. 

There’s a variety of fantastic dishes that work with every season alongside decorating tips. Don’t spend a fortune. Instead, work with what you have and make sure your guests are looked after. Good luck!

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