Tips for Easy Summer Entertaining

Warm weather, open-air, and relaxed spirits create the ideal conditions for easy entertaining this summer. Set the scene by creating an outdoor space that invites celebration, then use these simple tips for throwing a backyard party that is fun for everyone — including you!

Begin by selecting a seat for your guests; make sure you’ve got plenty of comfortable places to sit and an ample table. You can place tables together if needed and hide them under a fitting table cloth. The key is to make everyone feel like you were expecting them — use place cards for large groups! If children are invited, make a separate table for them and use place cards so that they feel just as important.

You will be out in the sun the entire day, so make sure to have some shade, an umbrella will do, and it will be a welcome source of relief for those who want to get away from the summer’s hot rays.

Decorate with festive partyware, try to create a theme, something that matches your personality. And, overdo it, elegant, eye-catching decorations add a jolt of energy, remember, it’s a party, so you’ll want it to feel like one!

For the food: I suggest burgers, hot dogs, and fresh corn on the grill — you can’t go wrong with these American classics that are fit for both children and adults. Have chips, dip, veggies and cheese, and goodies available for everyone to snack on before and after they sit down.

An ice bucket and stand will make it easy for your guests to serve themselves, giving you a break to enjoy a drink too. Customize your feast by using local beer and wine — as it’s a great option for those visiting. If you will be making mixed drinks, set up a bar with everything needed and let your guests whip up their own concoctions. Choose shatter-resistant glassware to avoid any potential problems, and the children should have their own cooler or stand filled with juice boxes and punch. Don’t forget to make water available; pitchers of iced-water with lemon make for easy self-service.

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Don’t forget music and have games for everyone. Who doesn’t love a game of horse shoes or even bingo? For the kids, a water balloon toss, outdoor scavenger hunt, or hula hoop contest will surely keep them occupied.

As the party moves on into the evening, add outdoor candles. They provide an attractive focal point and add to the relaxing atmosphere. If you can, make a fire, nothing says fun like roasting marshmallows or making s’mores. This brings out the kid in everyone.

If you are taking your party to see the local fireworks that evening, have an outdoor chalk board or banner put up that states the time you’ll all be heading out. This way, everyone will be on time and ready without being pushed out the door. It also reminds them that they are going to have a fun-filled day.

By hosting a party that both parents and their children can enjoy, you’ll be sure to create lasting memories. There’s nothing quite so universally well-loved — and so symbolic as a summer entertaining party in the outdoors with family and friends, especially just for fun.

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