We think it’s safe to say that the team here at LivingSpaces and LifeStyles Magazine enjoy many aspects of entertaining. There are just so many things to celebrate, and the upcoming summer season is no exception!
The lazy days of summer should be just that; laid-back and stress-free. So, we’ve come up with a few ideas to make your summertime parties, simple, easy and fun.
The great thing about backyard parties is that your natural surroundings often easily create a beautiful backdrop. Picking up and planting some colourful flower pots from the dollar store, and placing them strategically throughout your yard, is a simple and great touch. You can add some additional colour with bright outdoor cushions, citronella candles, and selections of patio furniture pieces, to create the look and feel you want to establish.
For evening parties, picking up some strings of outdoor patio lanterns, or even digging out your Christmas lights and hanging them around the backyard, is another easy way to add extra ambiance and fun to your event. Some even leave them up all year!
We’ve said this before; easy for the hosts, means more time with their guests. For dinnerware and beverage containers, go for the “disposable style”. They make so many fun-themed colours and styles, ranging from the most basic to the most elegant, and they can all go in the recycling bin when your guests are finished. We also suggest using disposable tablecloths, so at the end of your party, you can roll it up, along with everything left on the table that’s recyclable, and toss it. No fuss, easy cleanup, and your guests get more “you” time!
For food – buffet style all the way! Summer weather makes it easy when it comes to the foods you serve. Cold salads, sandwiches, burgers and dogs are always enjoyed. Veggie and fruit trays are an easy staple for entertaining, and the summer months are perfect for using locally-sourced produce. There are so many food and cooking options available during the summer months, just make sure that you take into consideration any food and drink concerns that your guests may have, and make sure if the day is a sunny hot one, your food is well chilled, kept in the shade, and that you have lots of water on hand!
Speaking of drinks, never be afraid to ask your guests to bring their own alcoholic beverages, keeping things simple for you as the host. Purchasing alcohol for others can be a real guessing game, and quite often you’ll end up spending too much, and will have too many “leftovers”. Should you choose the “BYOB” option, have plenty of mix and non-alcoholic beverage options on hand, so everyone can stay well hydrated. Purchasing “mason-jar style” jugs with spigots and filling them with water and fruit is a great way to add some fun to the party and provides your guests with an opportunity to help themselves when they get thirsty. Light refreshing bowls of punch and Sangria are also nice options for your guests. Should you want to limit your guests going in and out of your home during the party, have a few coolers set up for both your drinks and those of your guests, and place these outside in the shade.
Another way to manage your time and have your party zone stay fresh and clean, is to have a cleverly concealed area that your guests can dispose of garbage and recyclables, so your party can literally clean itself!
Keeping your guests comfortable in the summer is always a priority. Make sure there are seating and gathering options in the shade, for your guests to stay cool and comfortable out of the sun. These areas can also double as rain cover should Mother Nature decide not to cooperate!
Make sure you have an awesome summer music playlist, to keep the party upbeat.
Grab a bucket and have sunscreen, bug spray, and hand wipes available so your guests can help themselves to anything they may have forgotten. You can also use small buckets lined with colourful paper towel to serve up chips, popcorn, and munchies, a small décor item that has a big impact on the overall feel of your party!
For kids and adults alike, have some games available. Put out some bubble makers, beach balls, water balloons, or even organize some frisbee and badminton games. This is a great way to keep your guests mingling and takes the pressure off the host to always be “entertaining”, instead of “enjoying”.
Design your summer party for fun, relaxing, and enjoying the casual lovely summer days. The easier you are on yourself, the more relaxed your guests will feel, to settle in and enjoy their day or evening with you!
Written by: Kelli M. Maddocks