Summer is the best time to throw a fun and laid back party! We can gather our family and friends together in our outdoor living spaces for a relaxed BBQ or an evening of yard games or even a dip in the pool! Entertaining in the summer should be all about enjoying ourselves and not at all about a lot of work!!! Here are 10 tips for throwing a summer party… the easy way!!!
1. GET ORGANIZED!
The best way to get organized is to write everything down. If you take time to plan your fun event you will enjoy it more and be much more organized!!!! This is a step many of us forget to do. But I say that it is the number one best way to assure (at least on your part) a successful and less stressful party.
That way you will remember things like… make extra ice or put the potatoes in the oven or tell Bobby to fill the TIKI Brand Torches with fuel!
For my recent ALL GIRLS BBQ I planned a little in advance and that keep me confident, calm, collected and able to enjoy my girlfriends!
2. MAKE IT EASY ON YOURSELF
I’ve learned this important tip by the school of hard knocks!!!! I used to work so hard preparing to entertain that by the time my guest arrived I was so tired and worn out that I wanted to say, “Thanks for coming! I’m going to bed now. Enjoy your evening and please lock up when you leave!”
Now, I make most things ahead… and only do things that take little effort but are still fabulous! Like the scrumptious Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Tartlets above.
3. GATHER A FUN GROUP OF FRIENDS TOGETHER
The best way to have fun is to surround yourself with interesting and fun people. The mix is very very important. And so is the number. I tend to like a smaller group for a gathering. It’s much more cozy and everyone feels like they are “in the party loop”! I have a hard time hostessing and making the rounds in large groups.
For my ALL GIRLS BBQ I invited 5 friends. One was my mom (she’s amazing) and two were very dear friends I know well. And then I invited two girls I really want to know better. If you meet someone you think is interesting, invite them to an event and get to know them. We should all be pursuing new friendships!
4. SET AN EASY TABLE
I love love love to set a table. But it really takes tons of energy and lots of time. More often than not, I set an easy to pull together table these days! (I still can’t resist to set a spectacular table now and then though.)
My mom came over about an hour before the rest of the girls arrived and we set a very simple, but pretty table taking advantage of the late blooming lilacs in my front yard! It took less than 15 minutes! And don’t tell anyone… I didn’t even iron the tablecloth!!!!
5. MAKE AN EASY MENU
Have you noticed that people don’t eat like they used to? I used to make five course meals when I entertain. Gone are those days, except on very special occasions and holidays. Now I plan a well-balanced, full-of-flavor, easy to execute menu! And make as much as you can ahead of time. That is really the key!!!!
The ALL GIRLS BBQ my menu was quite simple:
- Appetizers: Store bought assorted olives and Marcona almonds, Boursin Cheese and Crackers and a make-ahead Goat Cheese and Caramelized Onion Puff Pastry Tartlet.
- Marinated Flank Steak On Skewers (look for this recipe in June)
- Twice Baked Potatoes
- Arugula, Saved Parmesan and Pine Nut Salad (click HERE for this scrumptious, star of the BBQ recipe!)
- store bought Fruit Tart
- sparkling water, iced tea, coffee
I like to use lots of store-bought, great quality food and mix them up with my favorite make-ahead recipes. I call that a perfect menu!
6. SET THE MOOD
Mood is a very important part of creating an “experience”! Make sure to have great music, lots of candle and torches, and a little touch of flowers!
A big thank you to TIKI Brand TORCHES for supplying me with Metal Island King Large Flame Torches, Glowing Table Torches and a Glowing Torch and the Citronella Torch Fuel. These great products set a welcoming and warm mood for the bbq!
I lit the torches just before the girls came and as the sun went down the warm glow of the flames looked so beautiful!!!! It’s fun and thoughtful to light torches as a way of saying, “I’m expecting YOU”!
Since I started using TIKI Brand TORCHES they have become an important part of our outdoor living spaces… and parties! Here’s a picture from a family party last year.
7. LET EVERYONE SHARE THEIR STORY
One of my friends is the best hostess I know. At her gathering or party she asks everyone to go around and tell their story in under 5 minutes. In doing this everyone shares and feels included and the rest of us get to know that person better. It usually takes the whole evening! Lots of connections are made and side stories by others slipped in and it really turns out to be the most interesting conversation!
I have adopted this practice my guest love it! You should give this a try!
Cathy shares her “story” around the fire pit, above. The TIKI Brand is a great way to have some mood lighting when the fire pit is not in use!
8. IF SOMEONE ASKS TO HELP… LET THEM!
Period!!!!! Most of us want to give our hostess a hand. If a guest asks to help put them to work!!! Remember… “many hands make light work”.
9. SAVE CLEAN UP FOR AFTER THE GUEST HAVE GONE
This is the exception to the “let others help” rule! Guest should NOT help do the dishes!!! If the one asking to clean up is your husband or mother or sister or very best friend then let them help you after the guest have left! Clean up kills the party mood!
I let my girlfriend’s help me gather the dishes and things from outside before we retired to the living room for dessert and coffee and lots of chatter BUT I would not let them help me clean up the dishes!
Sometimes (like the ALL GIRLS BBQ) I am just too tired to clean it all up. If that happens to you too… put the food away and leave the dirty dishes soaking in the sink. You can tackle them the next day! Or in my case Bobby can! Thanks, Bobby!!!!!
10. TAKE TIME TO MAKE MEMORIES
Our lives are so so busy. It takes being intentional to spend time with friends. JUST DO IT!!! You will not remember how you spent the weekend cleaning and catching up on chores. We need to take care of our homes… but not all the time! Make sure you also take time to spend with family and friends. You will remember that!!!
I’m so glad I made time last year for a relaxed picnic with my hubby, kids and my parents! Those are the special times I’ll remember!
This post was sponsored by TIKI Brand. All opinions are 100% mine.