Birthdays come and go each year, and it's always a dilemma how you want to acknowledge the day. Instead of opting for the same old birthday celebrations year after year, try mixing things up this year with an outdoor birthday feast! Gather your friends together, unplug, bundle up next to a roaring fire and enjoy a bit of fresh air for an unexpected take on a birthday celebration. Just follow these simple steps to bring a bit of rustic chic to your own outdoor potluck birthday feast!
Start by creating a theme for your menu such as Greek, Italian or American. Then, ask guests to bring a side that will work with the overall flavor profile of your theme. Once you have chosen the food genre for your potluck, create a Paperless Post invite detailing the theme, when, where and what to bring.
Your birthday, duh. Unless it is during the week, and a weekend may be more friendly for everyone’s schedule.
Find a local campground. Most people will only want to come out for the day. Greenbelt just outside of D.C. was ideal for my guests as they could Uber! If you're looking to go a little farther, here five glamping locales we recommend.
What to Bring (Guests)
- Chairs/Blankets: Your guests are going to need somewhere to sit and it's highly unlikely you’ll have enough chairs for everyone. Request that your guests bring a camping chair and blanket per person. The blanket plays double duty -- it hides unsightly mismatched camping chairs and is a great way to stay warm while sitting next to the fire.
- Side Dish: It’s your birthday and you don’t want to cook everything. Let the guests handle the sides. As mentioned, make sure you let them know your flavor theme so they know what to bring.
- Drinks: BYOB is the best kind of party, amiright? Take the guess work out of figuring out what everyone wants to drink, and let your guests bring whatever they want!
What to Bring (the Hostess)
- Food/Drinks: To set the stage for your party, provide a main dish and a signature birthday cocktail. Skewers are a great idea as they can be prepped ahead of time and cooked right on the fire. For your cocktail, make a large batch ahead of time -- there's no need for you to be stuck playing bartender at your own party!
- Tablescape Necessities: Create a simple and elegant buffet table so guests can simply set their dish down as they arrive. For a pop of color, scatter beautiful fall leaves around the table. Wood pieces of varying heights on the table adds visual interest. For easy clean up, opt for plastic cutlery (that looks real) and tin pie plates. Finally, I find that bandannas are a great substitute for paper napkins: they look great and you can throw them in the washer at home for easy clean up.
- Cake: Create an Instagram-worthy cake! You can make one from scratch or buy one. All that matters is how you decorate it.
Camping Cake Topper
- 1 toothpick
- Heavy card stock with a pattern on it
- Raisinets candy
- 4 birthday candles
- Start by folding your card stock in half so it makes a V. Place that on top of your cake with the V upside down (reference photo). Then stick the tooth pick in the center of the upside down V to look like a tent pole.
- Take the rosemary and turn it upside down (so the leaves face downward) and place it around the tent to look like a forest.
- Finally, make a fire ring out of Raisinets and place four candles inside to create a campfire. Voila -- an Insta-ready camping-inspired cake that your friends will love!