House parties and garden get-togethers are the perfect way to kick back with your friends and strengthen your bond with family members. Hosting a party is great for your health, too. Recent research from Indiana University shows that folks who actively celebrate life’s milestones with friends and family feel more socially supported and are less likely to feel lonely.
However, parties can be energy intensive and, unfortunately, exclusionary. Failing to account for folks with mobility disabilities and neurodiversity may isolate some partygoers, while others may feel guilty about using non-recyclable plastic plates and cutlery.
As a host, you can make your party that much more inviting by throwing an eco-friendly, inclusive party for all. Even simple steps, like providing a safe quiet space, can make a big difference to the attendees.
Rather than booking an energy-intensive venue, consider hosting your next party in your own backyard. A few simple decor changes can turn your garden into the perfect space for socializing, dining, and entertaining guests.
You can plan a sustainable outdoor event by making a few key investments that will reduce your waste and minimize your carbon usage. Start by buying key items like can koozies and metal straws. This reduces the waste produced by canned drinks and can double as a fun gift for your guests.
If possible, try to avoid paper products during the party. Paper plates and napkins seem innocuous, but 26% of the world’s total landfill can be accounted for by paper waste. Instead, lean into the hodge-podge aesthetic and bring out all your china and dishware. Your guest won’t mind if the plates don’t match and providing an array of silverware will give your party a bohemian feel.
Food is usually the center point of adult parties. As a host, you probably can’t wait to show off your pavlova or poultry dish. However, before you draw up your menu, it’s worth reaching out to your guests to ensure that the dishes you plan on serving accommodate all needs.
When sending out initial invites, give folks a place to record dietary requirements. This will help guests feel confident about sharing their needs and will give you plenty of time to plan a dish that everyone can enjoy.
If you’re not keen on cooking, consider calling pizza delivery services of a local pizza chain or pizzeria. Everyone enjoys backyard pizza parties and it can really simplify your planning. Just remember to dress up the meal with plenty of snacks and a side salad as a few slices of pizza will not sate your guest’s hunger.
Neurodiversity is an umbrella term that describes the different ways people may process information. In the U.K., 1 in 7 people have some form of neuro difference. This means that you’ll likely have a few guests that may have different preferences than your own. The most common forms of neurodiversity include:
● Autism (or Autism Spectrum Disorder)
● Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
It’s important to note that you shouldn’t assume that folks need particular accommodations. Some folks may even find it patronizing if you force them to comment on your inclusivity plans. Instead, ask your guests if they have any accommodations that would help them enjoy the experience and tailor your plans to meet their needs.
If you’re hosting a party for sensory-sensitive children, make it clear that they do not have to participate in any of the activities. Some kids may have a difficult time expressing themselves but could become stressed if they feel they have to participate. Give them access to a quiet, safe space if they would like to take some time away from the action.
Gardens are the perfect spot for relaxed chatter and socializing. However, folks with mobility needs may struggle to navigate your space with the dignity they deserve if you don’t preemptively plan some accommodations.
Try to respect all of your guests equally by asking them if they have any specific accommodations ideas that will help make your space more navigable. This may include some simple changes like installing temporary ramps and handrails in places of high traffic.
Take stock of your paths before the big day. Clear up any debris that may get stuck in wheels and install some non-slip surfaces in spaces where rain may make movement more difficult. This may sound overkill, but, in reality, you just have to expand your backyard party must-haves to include accommodations that make all of your guests feel welcome.
Throwing an eco-friendly, inclusive party is a great way to have fun while doing good. Start simple with koozies and metal straws. Try to involve your guest list as much as possible, too, as this will help you make accommodations for dietary restrictions and mobility needs. If you plan on throwing lots of parties in your backyard, order an extra recycling bin to take care of the bottles and cardboard that your events will produce.