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Outdoor Entertaining: Summertime Tips to Make Your Next Event Unforgettable

Whether it is a birthday party, a neighborhood get-together, or perhaps even an open house if your home is on the market, outdoor entertaining is essential during the summertime. If even the very idea of hosting such an event stresses you out, relax—it doesn’t have to be a daunting task. In fact, I recently came across a great article on RealSimple.com which shared a number of valuable tips for outdoor entertaining. As you’ll see, this doesn’t have to be overly complicated!

  • Thick, comfortable cushions on the chairs will encourage guests to linger at the table.
  • Lay brown craft paper across a table for a casually finished look―and super-easy cleanup.
  • Don’t get overly fussy with china: An eclectic mix feels more laid-back.
  • An umbrella not only has the obvious task of providing shade, it also helps define your outdoor dining room.
  • Keep food simple for a backyard picnic: salads, fresh fruit, cold drinks.
  • Set up tables in separate areas―say, drinks in one spot, dessert in another―to encourage guests to roam.
  • Stock a bar cart with essentials: glasses, plates, ice, a cocktail shaker, and swizzle sticks. Wheel it back to the kitchen if you run low.
  • Floating peonies and gardenias make a pretty centerpiece. Just pour water into a large serving platter, and trim the stems off each flower.
  • To keep dairy-based dips chilled, fill a large bowl with ice, and sprinkle it with kosher salt. Place the dip bowl on top.
  • Keep bugs away from food with an upended wire-mesh colander. Use Popsicle sticks to distinguish the rare burgers from the well-done.
  • A summer party should be relaxed. Not enough seating to go around? Even tree stumps will do just fine.
  • Set up a lemonade stand to keep guests hydrated on hot afternoons. Place glasses within easy reach on a dessert stand.
  • Bring the seashore to your backyard by filling colorful buckets with sand and sunflowers.
  • On a steamy night, your guests will be happy with simple fare: sparkling drinks and savory little bites, like fancied-up crudités.
  • At twilight, make sure you provide plenty of lighting. Paper lanterns draped from tree limbs (with dark extension cords that blend in) are charmingly festive.
  • Circle your party area with citronella candles or incense sticks to light when night falls.
  • Twinkling strands add instant ambience to any evening party. (Secure with plastic hooks―nails and staples can pierce the wire.)

In addition to these tips, remember to stick to a color palette that feels light and airy. Blues and greens are great choices. And anytime you can incorporate imagery from the beach or from the ocean, take advantage—tablecloths, napkins, accessories, or elsewhere. Throwing an unforgettable summertime party doesn’t have to be overwhelming. These tips will help- but if you would like to learn more, or if you’d like help planning your event, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me today!

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