5 great tips for hosting your summer golden hour gathering


(BPT) - Summer is the season for spending your nights outdoors, whether by a cozy bonfire, in the backyard with a movie projector, or gathered around the porch table with family and friends. With a little forethought and some planning, your golden hour party can extend into the night and be the hit of the season. Here are five ideas for making your sunset soiree sensational.

1. Plan ahead. Summer calendars fill up fast. Get those invites out early so you can make sure your family and friends can attend. Bonus tip: Make it a weeknight! Summer is a great time to linger in the backyard during golden hour and beyond, so giving people something fabulous to do on a day they might not usually take advantage of is always a treat. By opting against a weekend night, your guests are more likely to be available.

2. Amp up the dinner party. To give your guests a more thoughtful experience, transform your outdoor dining area with a seasonal tablescape, unique lighting and even a themed menu. You can add a magical feel to the evening by draping strands of lights in the trees and along your fence. Many backyard lights are even solar-powered, so they'll flicker on in time for golden hour and add a fairy-like glow to your gathering. And about that menu ... setting up your meal as a "station" where people can serve themselves, like a salad bar, is an easy way to accommodate food allergies and preferences while still offering a variety of choices.

3. Reclaim the golden hour from mosquitos. Nothing puts a damper on an outdoor party like a swarm of mosquitos descending at golden hour, that period between day and night in which everything just seems to glow with soft light. It's the most beautiful time of day, but it's also a peak time for mosquito activity, which causes many people to retreat indoors. In fact, up to 40% of people have even skipped outdoor events to avoid dealing with insects1. Adding OFF!® Clean Feel products to your outdoor routine can help you enjoy sunset and the rest of the night longer. OFF!® Clean Feel aerosols and pump sprays are easy to use and provide long-lasting protection for up to eight hours from mosquitoes. OFF!® Clean Feel Gel is another fragrance-free option perfect for everyday use because it feels good on skin and will help protect you from mosquitoes.

4. Set up entertainment. If you have the space for an after-dinner activity, you can drape a sheet along your fence or house for an easy projector screen. At sundown, transform your space with comfy pillows, a projector, speakers and cables for a perfect at-home movie night.

5. Draw the evening to a close around your firepit. Everyone loves sitting around a cozy firepit on a summer night. Pre-stack your firepit with wood so all you'll need to do is light it. Add to the fun by stocking up a tray with ingredients for s'mores (including skewers for roasting the marshmallows!), or try using a grated top for your firepit to grill peaches, watermelon or pineapple to serve with ice cream. Bonus tip: Have cozy throws or long-sleeved wraps on hand for your guests who might get chilly.

Take back the golden hour from mosquitos and enjoy these balmy evenings with family and friends. By banishing the bugs, you'll make the most of summer!

1 Random double-opt-in survey of 2,000 Americans conducted by OnePoll on behalf of OFF!® Brand between July 27-28, 2023.