Let’s all take a moment and collectively agree that the best parties are the ones that end up outside. We’re just going to cut to the chase and celebrate parties that are entirely outdoors. If you’ve never hosted an outdoor party, and you want to have one that will live up to your Pinterest dreams, keep reading. We’ve got all the tips and tricks to make it happen.


Gaby Dalkin, whose name you might recognize from her fabulous blog What’s Gaby Cooking, knows a thing or two about entertaining in style. As a former private chef for various celebrities in Los Angeles, Gaby transferred her expertise to a blog, where she shares approachable recipes fit for any occasion. If you’re not already hoping to run into her and become BFFs, we can tell you she is also the brain behind slutty brownies (basically the best usage of Oreos ever invented.) While we know Gaby would love to invite every single one of us to her house for an outdoor party for the ages, we have the next best thing. Gaby took some time to share her expert tips for outdoor entertaining with us. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, you’ll be inspired to start counting down for the moment summer nights are upon us.

outdoor party

Outdoor Entertaining Tips From Gaby Dalkin

1. Keep It Simple: We are all about easy peasy party ideas and hacks. If you don’t have a huge outdoor space (or any at all), go ahead and lay out a few blankets or even DIY your own fort. Gaby doesn’t have much outdoor space besides her rooftop, and she says all you need to do is “strategically place a few recipes around the space. It’s like one big picnic!”


2. Say Yes to Food Bars: Gaby is all about food bars, and one of her all time faves is a Bruschetta Bar. She says, “It’s a super fun way to keep the party interactive and allows your guests to design a meal for their tastes.” We agree — the more flavors the better! One way to take the spread to the next level is by DIYing a few wood-burnt cheese boards to house the eats.

3. Prep Ahead: Just do it. Prepping ahead of time is a necessary evil that makes entertaining *so* much easier. “It’s true for just about every party, but especially outdoor entertaining. When all of your guests are outside, you definitely don’t want to be stuck inside preparing everything,” says Gaby.

4. Food = Theme: Themed parties are the way to go every. single. time. To find inspiration, Gaby selects a few recipes and then lets it evolve from there. “When I start with pizza, it leads me to a sangria, a few refreshing appetizers and soon enough I have an entire event planned,” explains Gaby. Brit tip: Be sure to snap lots of food and decor pics to show off all of your hard work.


5. Stay Outside: Gaby says, “When I decide to host a party outdoors, I fully commit. I keep everything outside, including the bar.” And by keeping it all together like her, you can avoid a divided party (with more places to clean).

6. Focus on Finger Foods: She’s hit the nail on the head here. Finger foods are pretty much our favorite thing ever to munch on. “Who wants to stress about a massive cleanup after a great night? Finger foods are a great way to keep garbage to a minimum, and they keep the event casual and relaxing,” says Gaby.


7. Pizza ALWAYS Wins: “You can always count on pizza,” says Gaby. Whether you have your own outdoor pizza oven or are just using a grill, pizza is the perfect party food. And can you really ever go wrong with handheld cheesy goodness?

8. Make Cleanup Part of the Decor: It happens to the best of us. Your single party trash can fills up and garbage begins to spread like wildfire throughout your home. Gaby’s solution: “I set a bunch of cute wastebaskets all around my space so nothing ends up on the ground.”

9. To Co-Host or Not: “This is all about your personality… but partnering with a friend is also a great way to make the rounds more effectively to connect with all of your guests,” says Gaby. Just think, having an extra set of hands will also allow more time beforehand to DIY some fun table runners, garlands and other decor.

10. Excel at a Few Recipes For Any Occasion: Gaby says, “Regardless of where you live or what type of occasion you’re hosting, it’s a great idea to perfect a few recipes that fit just about any occasion.” Think crowd-pleasers that are easy to make but full of flavor — dips, finger foods, taco bars, you name it! Check out some of Gaby’s go-to recipes below.


Tomato Confit: This confit is super easy to prepare and will have guests wanting to spread it on everything. Serve it alongside pita, bread or a bruschetta bar.


Spring Pea Crostini: Eat delicious in-season peas with this yummy crostini. And that creamy burrata on top? YUM.


Nacho Bar: Gaby says, “This is ALWAYS a winner.” And we totally believe it. Whip up your own guac and salsa to make it the most epic nacho bar ever. You can cook ’em up over a grill or in an outdoor oven.

We’re still dreaming of attending one of Gaby’s fab parties, but in the meantime we’re going to take her tips to throw our very own party that we’re sorry/not sorry will take up all of your Instagram feeds. You can also continue to get inspired by Gaby’s Instagram account. It will keep your taste buds on high alert; don’t say we didn’t warn you.

What are your favorite tips for outdoor entertaining? Tell us in the comments!

(Photos via Whats Gaby Cooking + Instagram.com/WhatsGabyCookin with Photography via @MattArmendariz)