Outdoor cocktail parties are a perfect way for a novice party-thrower to get her feet wet. With a cocktail party, you don't need to worry about preparing a full meal -- just set up a bar and have some snacks on hand.
An outdoor cocktail hour can also be a prelude to an indoor dinner party. This opening act is especially good on days when the weather is being a little temperamental, or when it's a bit cool.
When throwing an outdoor cocktail party, it's helpful to have the drinks and snacks on a table or cart. Don't forget a bucket of ice, and use a large container to keep wine chilled. Find a recipe for a special cocktail for the evening. Be sure to include drink tags for the glasses.
Create a place where your friends will want to linger. Seating with comfortable cushions, ambient music and twinkly outdoor lights can set the proper mood for a good time.