I don’t know if you’re like me, but summertime somehow stresses me out. In my head it’s full of days lounging on the beach, picnics with the kids and drinks with umbrellas — but reality? It’s still the daily grind but with the added longing to be outside soaking up the sun. In an effort to take a moment to pause and just ENJOY the moment, I invited a few of my closest girls over for a much needed cocktail hour. Sangria and chatting were our only two agenda items. Pure. Summer. Bliss.
I didn’t fuss much over setting up an extravagant table since the whole point was to relax and unwind. I planned to serve only one cocktail (Yellow Tail Sangria) so I drew from the sangria for color inspiration. Peach and plum flowers accompanied by actual fresh peaches and plums added the perfect summer touch to my backyard patio table.
The evenings here have been just perfect, not too hot or chilly and just right for a little outdoor entertaining. We’ve been gathering a few new pieces for the patio and finally got together with a few friends for a salads and sips early evening gathering.
I love keeping things super simple when entertaining, especially in the summertime and keeping the menu light and simple makes party prep extremely low key.
I’ve been gearing up for a little summertime entertaining and once I created my go-to dinner party playlist, it was time to get a few new goodies for the yard. I love using fun pops of color in the summer and combining a few pieces with the natural and white pieces we use year-round. Here are a few things I picked up while treasure hunting at Pier1 Imports.
These are all must-have pieces in my book! You want guests to be comfortable and you don’t want to worry about broken dishes or stained furniture. No fuss, no worry entertaining is best! Check out their complete outdoor department — lots to choose from.
Setting up for a nice buffet might sound simple enough, though your efforts could very easily result in a display that looks more chaotic than clever. Avoid confusion and traffic jams in your buffet line by planning ahead. Eliminate the common sight of guests reaching for plates and back-tracking for utensils that they missed along the way.
Before your guests can begin to dish up their meal, they will need a plate. Stack plates at one end of the table so that guests have access to these first. Also, if you are using disposable plates remember to choose heavier ones so that the food actually stays on the plate and guests can easily carry them.
Serve dishes that your guests understand and recognize. If you decide to serve a dish that your guests may not be familiar with, create a place card so guests can easily identify the dish. Also, make sure each dish has a coordinating serving utensil so guests can easily (and quickly) dish up their food.
At the other end of your buffet table (opposite of the plates), place the silverware. Only provide utensils that your guests will need to use. If a knife is not needed, don’t offer one. This will avoid confusion and lighten the carrying load for guests. To make the grab-and-go of the silverware a breeze, wrap each set up in one napkin and secure it with a piece of ribbon or twine. Condensing the utensils and napkin will make it easier for guests to carry their plates to their seats.
I love to entertain in the summertime. There’s just something so simple about hosting friends and family this time of year. Perhaps it’s the great mood everyone is in, or the laid-back vibe? I can’t put my finger on it exactly but I just find summer entertaining easy and enjoyable. Now that the nights are getting longer, I’m itching to kick off the backyard-entertaining season! We’ve been getting dirty in the garden and making sure our yard is inviting — I’d say a dinner party is soon in order.
Do you like to entertain during the summer? When thinking about hosting a gathering I like to pick a few points of inspiration to guide my party prep. I am usually inspired by:
Party planning does not come natural to everybody. Some are very comfortable preparing menus and digging out the linens while others break into a sweat when thinking about entertaining a large crowd. Even if you are not a natural hostess, have no idea how to throw a party — don’t worry. You host an event that will surprise your guests and have them thinking you’re a party pro. Here are four tips to make things simple.
Rethink your lighting
When you go to a nice restaurant or upscale event, you rarely have bright bulbs beaming down on you. The truth is a setting with dim lighting helps set a relaxing mood for your guests and also makes everyone look great (bonus!). To duplicate that glowing feel, turn off your overhead beams and opt for small lamps throughout your party space. If you do not have any lamps, purchase a few soft-lit bulbs and replace your existing lights for the evening.
Style your food
Even if you are not preparing fancy appetizers and snacks for your guests, taking the time to plate the food will make all the difference. So whether your menu features pizza or burgers, break out your nice set of dishes and serve your meal as if you were presenting your guests with caviar! For snacks like trail mix and chips, use matching white bowls and place them in areas of your party space where people will be sitting, rather than spreading them out on one table.