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Attending A Backyard Barbecue? Don’t Forget The Hostess Gift!

Summer is the time for parties. All of the best backyard parties start with great friends and end with big smiles. Count your blessings if you’ve been invited to a backyard barbecue because you’re in for good friends, great food, and fun times! One thing is for certain when attending any party, especially a backyard barbecue — you don’t want to come empty handed.

Hostess gifts are usually simple gifts that say “thank you for having me” in a nice way. They can range from a pair of tongs and a “kiss the cook” apron to my personal favorite which is flowers. Fresh flowers are the pretty much the be-all hostess gift for barbecues and backyard parties. If you’re a little leery about bringing along flowers to a food gathering, enjoy this little story:

Last year was my 22nd year to enjoy a lovely summer. Done with college, 8-5 job, no full-time family responsibilities (at the time)…ah. Life was good. My friends know that I love chilling around a grill and especially around a pool. Chlorine must have been seeping from my pores by the end of the summer after attending all the backyard barbecues/pool parties that my friends threw. One barbecue in particular stood out to me.

My best friend lives fifteen minutes from anything. In this part of Arkansas, that’s not uncommon. She doesn’t have a pool but she does have a huge barbecue grill and a great yard for grilling, frisbee, and being far away from any interruptions. She invited me and a few mutual friends to her place for a backyard barbecue. Well, I showed up with a hostess gift because I’m southern. It’s just what we do. Another friend showed up with nothing. We weren’t offended because we didn’t think much of it until we were playing frisbee.

My best friend’s yard is full of wildflowers. Bees love it there. We tried to walk to a more grassy area but it didn’t work for one of us. She went to catch a long pass and stepped a bit short. After she fell and we all stopped laughing through our concern, she leaned over and picked a flower. She put it to her face and sniffed it. It was at that very moment–I kid you not–when a bee flew up and stung her shoulder. That to me was mother nature saying “get your own.”

She’s brought flowers ever since.

What’s your backyard barbecue story? Does it involve flowers? Whether it does or doesn’t, share it below!

Fresh Flower Decorating For Dummies: Party Time!

Note:  The title is a play off of the “blah blah blah for dummies” books and not an actual reference to dummies or a quote from the books.

Great Idea For Outdoor Parties!

Great Idea For Outdoor Parties!

Okay. So we’re firmly embedded in Spring and summer is just around the corner. That means that party time is here! It’s time to step outside and enjoy barbecues and pool parties with friends. It’s time for frisbee, soccer, spirited basketball games, flag football, tennis and other outdoor sports. It’s also the season for relaxing in lawn chairs and enjoying the scent of freshly mowed grass and blooming flowers. Ahhhh.

If you’re looking for a way to decorate for these occasions, I suggest fresh flowers. No shock to anyone, I’m sure. However biased my love of fresh flowers makes me, this is still a great way to up the level of decor at your outdoor parties. Here are a few ideas for making your garden party, backyard party, or outdoor evening a little more beautiful…naturally.

Decorate the patio table with fresh flower centerpieces. Depending on the specific season, there are many options of flowers that can be used here. As shown in the picture at left, potted plants make a fine showing as well! Your local florist will be happy to discuss them with you. If you want to make it yourself, pick up a few stems from your florist and go from there. This is a quick and simple technique. Stems can be picked up in just a few minutes on the way home. Creating the picnic table centerpiece takes just a few moments also. This is ten or fifteen minutes of prepping for hours and hours of floral joy.

Loving The Table Centerpieces!

Loving The Table Centerpieces!

Line steps with small flower arrangements, outdoor lights, and perhaps a topiary at the base of each side of the steps. This one is a bit more complicated but delivers an exciting punch during outdoor parties. This is also a very elegant way to decorate backyard parties, outdoor cocktail parties, and other patio parties. If guests are going to enter/exit the home via the steps, this is likely the first impression of the party decorations that each will have. Make it a doozy!

Place “floating flower” arrangements on poolside tables. This is a great idea for pool parties where many poolside tables will need decoration. Giving flowers that “floating” look can be done in a few ways. Your local florist will have great ideas for how to accomplish this.

There are so many other great ideas for how to decorate with fresh flowers outside. If you’re looking for more inspiration, contact your local florist or check back and see what other readers are saying about these ideas! Feel free to submit your own ideas here as well!