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How to Throw the Best Outdoor Parties for Dads and Grads

Party for Dads and Grads

With summer officially on the calendar, so is the task of party planning. These opportunities to entertain have been missing from our lives for some time, so it feels good to flex those collective merrymaking muscles again!

As we gear up to July 4th, we’ve got the seasonally ideal weather to celebrate important people — dads and grads. And what better venue than our own backyards?!

Party Ideas for Father’s Day

It seems that Mother’s Day gets a lot of hype by the likes of Hallmark and restaurants everywhere, but we say bring on the Father’s Day festivities! Whether he’s the primary caregiver/stay-at-home dad, or the career or entrepreneurial dad, he could use at least this one day devoted to him. Here are a few ideas to get you started.

A No Girls Allowed Party

How about a party just for the men? Invite all the guys in the family and all your dad’s friends and neighborhood pals. Set up an outdoor party space with platters of finger foods like wings and all kinds of chips and dips. Whether or not you have a tiki bar, designate some space with booze and mixers and ice up some cases of beer and soda. Include a selection of cigars perhaps.

This is also a great opportunity to assemble a couple poker tables and even a beer pong table to harken back to those college days. Throw a few footballs into the mix or a putting green.

It would also be a good idea to appoint someone to be in charge of transportation. That person can figure the plan to pick everyone up from their homes to get them to the party and then Uber or drive them back, so they can be safe if they are going to be drinking alcohol.

A Play Date

Supersize the Father’s Day celebration with an afternoon of friendly competition. Start off by setting up teams and have a grand prize and medals with ribbons to recognize the winners. You can go as far as getting team tees or hats to get those rivalries amped up!

Pick up a net and some volleyballs for a tournament. Plan a touch football game or whatever sports he likes – or one he is REALLY good at, so he has a shot at being the victor!

You can fuel the entire event with fast food: buckets of chicken, stacks of pizzas, and/or a 6-foot party sub accompanied by mounds of potato salad.

An Outdoor BBQ

If you have a backyard pool, it’s the perfect centerpiece for a day of splashing around. (Cue the water guns and inflatable floats!)

As far as food, unless your dad is the kind of guy who insists he’s the best griller known to man, then give him a break and put someone else at the helm.

Take it up a notch by setting up a wing or taco bar to offset the sausage and peppers station. Fill some coolers with his favorite beverages and make pitchers of your famous lemonade.

You can even put a play list together featuring his best-loved bands of today and yesterday. If you want to bring a tear to his eye, you can always put together a video montage of favorite photos of him and the kids over the years.

You can top any of these parties off with decorations that reflect his favorite sports team or movie.

Party Ideas for the Graduate

Last year, many events never saw the light of day. Therefore, this June is the ideal opportunity to have multiple guests of honor – this year’s grads and last year’s.

If you already have an outdoor entertainment center, then you know it makes the perfect party venue. Parties in outdoor settings have that inherent casual feel that makes guests feel relaxed and welcome.

The ages of the graduates will of course dictate the party planning. (You already know your high school senior won’t appreciate a video montage of their younger years being shown to the guests!)

But you can still display your pride with specially selected décor and their favorite foods. And you can’t miss when you fill your yard with the special people in their lives.


If you hit any Party City retail store, you will find tons of inspiration. We love the idea of a photo booth. It provides the chance to capture everyone’s personality while memorializing this important milestone. Photo booth props are pretty much a “must have,” and you can also designate someone to take random candid shots throughout the day and evening.

Then take all these images and upload them to a private Facebook page to which you can invite the guests the next day.

If your high school senior is heading off to college, the school’s colors, of course, make for a great decorating scheme. It would also be a nice idea to present them with a basket of school swag (sweats, tees, hoodies).

With a party supply store like Party City, you can personalize your decorations with photos of the graduate. That smiling face can grace banners and yard signs and even the invitations. Fan faces are suitable for centerpieces too! A party tent rental always cranks things up a notch as well.


Make this all about their favorites. If not a fan of flag football or horseshoes, how about a trivia competition? Establish tiers of elimination to get down to the trivia champ. Purchase trophies to award the winners.


Since your backyard lends itself to grilling and chilling – it looks like that Weber will be fired up all day! As the party planner you want to be able to enjoy your guests as well, so take the day (or two!) off from work before the party to give yourself the chance to get things done ahead of time.

As far as food prep and all that slicing and dicing, do as much as possible the day before. Review your recipes and put all those onions and peppers, etc. in separate plastic bags. If you’re preparing a lot, even label those bags, so when you take them out of the frig, you know what bags go with what recipes. Prepare shish kabobs the night before so they can marinate. Have the burger patties and dogs all set up in plastic/glass bowls ready to go.

If you’re making potato or macaroni salads, they are best made the day before anyway, so they have time to soak in all that flavorful goodness.

With a lot of thought and a little creativity, you are sure to come up with something spectacular that shows how much these amazing family members are loved.

Providing pool and home improvement loan solutions since 1979, Lyon Financial loves celebrations. We also love the difference we can make for your family by providing something that puts years of memories within reach. Call 877-754-5966 for more information about creating your ideal backyard oasis.