As the weather begins to warm and evenings grow longer, there’s no better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with an outdoor cocktail party! Invite good friends to help you toast warmer temps, more sunshine, and a lighter approach to food and cocktails. Outdoor dining is the perfect venue for guests to enjoy good company. Whether you’ve thrown a cocktail party before, or this is your first one, these outdoor cocktail party ideas will help you throw a memorable event. Cheers!

1. Give Your Back Patio a Quick Makeover

The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re going to throw an outdoor cocktail party is to take a look at your back patio and give it some love. Could your chairs use a little refresh? Add fun outdoor pillows to invoke a sense of comfort with rich colors and textures.

To create a cohesive aesthetic, add an outdoor rug that ties everything together and solidifies the space. One of the easiest ways to elevate your back patio aesthetic is with string lights. A few items go a long way in making your back patio cocktail party-ready.

2. Set the Ambiance

When planning your cocktail party, don’t forget the importance of setting the ambiance. You can easily set the mood with background music. You don’t need a state-of-the-art outdoor sound system to create the atmosphere. Small speakers are plenty loud and easy to set up. Make a playlist before the party with songs that your guests will enjoy.

Nothing is better than listing to music around a fire pit! Set one up in your yard and as the sun sets, your friends will pull their chairs up to the fire pit to share stories and sip their cocktails. Even as the evening cools, everyone will stay warm by the fire.

3. Go with Open Seating

Open seating is a great way to make guests feel comfortable and avoid being confined to a single table. Place outdoor chairs around the yard in smaller groupings and pair them with accent tables. Guests will mingle and feel free to move about as they flow from group to group. 


4. Create an Enviable Tablescape

When it comes to throwing an outdoor cocktail party, delicious food and drinks in an outdoor setting are all you need. Create a tablescape that will have your guests swooning by selecting a few key pieces. A neutral table runner is an ideal backdrop. From there, simply build your desired look by adding eye-catching small plates, cheerful cloth napkins, and chic glassware. Small details make a big impact on the look of your table and add style to the tablescape.  

For your final flourishes, place candles along the center of the table—lots of them! Use tapers and pillars of different heights to keep things interesting. Small faux potted plants maintain the “spring is green” vibe while faux blossoms add pops of color.

What to serve? We have some ideas

5. Serve a Simple Spring Menu

Cocktail party food should be light, easy to snack on, and inspired by the season. Incorporate seasonal ingredients into your cocktail party appetizers by picking up fresh fruits and vegetables from your local farmer’s market. Keep your menu simple by serving small fruit kebabs and sliced veggies with hummus.

Another classic outdoor party food idea is a platter of cheese and crackers. Layer in salami, prosciutto, local honey, and mixed nuts for added flair. Add endive spears with goat cheese and olives to the cocktail party food menu for something elegant that is also super easy to make.

Serve stuffed olive and endive spears. 

Dress up hummus with colorful vegetables and edible flowers. 

6. Stock Your Cocktail Party Bar

One of the most important aspects of a cocktail party is inevitably what you decide to offer from the bar. You’ll want to stock it with a variety of beverage options and make it easy for guests to serve themselves. Wine coolers keep your wine bottles chilled, and larger coolers are great for bottles of beer, water, and canned seltzers. Display bottles of alcohol and mixers next to an assortment of glass styles so guests can choose the glass that matches their drink selection.

A signature cocktail is always a fun outdoor cocktail party idea. Make a pitcher of margaritas before the guests arrive and spend your time hosting the party rather than bartending it. Be sure to get plenty of ice for your ice buckets, and place margarita glasses and garnishes nearby. Add a spring twist by garnishing with citrus other than limes, like blood oranges or fresh tangerines.

Here are the fixin’s for our signature cocktail, the Serrano Chile Margarita. 

The Serrano Chile Margarita. Yum! 

7. Let the Games Begin

Another great outdoor cocktail party idea is to set up games for your guests to play. Depending on the size of your outdoor space, you may be able to bring out lawn games like cornhole or bocce ball, which always make for a good time. Oversized wooden dice are perfect for a game of yard Yahtzee. If table-friendly games are a better fit, options are limitless with a simple deck of playing cards.

Make a toast to good friends!

And good food, refreshing cocktails and the return of spring!


Looking for more ways to keep your cocktail party going long past sunset? Outdoor lanterns and cozy throws and blankets will have your guests lingering after cocktail hour. Pier 1 has everything you need to outfit your outdoor space with stylish furnishings and decor.

Looking for more inspiration? Read the Pier 1 blog for tips and tricks to create the looks you love.