One of the best parts of summertime is often the entertaining. Longer daylight hours, warmer weather, kids being out of school – all of these things inevitable lend themselves to more entertaining and enjoying your friends and family. Keep a few things in mind to make entertaining fun for everyone.
You don’t have to send out formal invites and spend months planning like your get-together is a wedding, but a little pre-planning will make entertaining less stressful. Remember to have enough propane on hand if you have a gas grill. Stock up on ice. 80 and 90 degree days mean that your guests will be needing more cold drinks. Think about what sort of menu or activities you want and plan accordingly. Buy as much as you can ahead of time so that you are not scrambling hours before your friends start ringing your doorbell.
Don’t try to be Martha Stewart, unless you want to stress yourself out. Pick a theme of some sort for food and drinks, and make a simple menu around that. If you want to do burgers, make a burger and chip bar, so that people can create their own masterpiece. Throw in some microbrews and fun retro sodas for the kids, ice cream and fruit for dessert, and you have a great gathering.
Or go in a different direction and do Spanish tapas. Grill some shrimp and veggies, have olives and other tapas prepared beforehand, along with a huge batch of sangria, and your guests will be happy. Keep your food simple and yummy, which will make both you and your guests happy. Remember, your friends and family want to see and enjoy you at any event. That is the most important part, and the food and drinks are the icing on the cake.
A classic burger & brat cookout is always fun, but if you have already done that, try something different. Lots of ideas can be found online, but maybe a gathering can be an outdoor movie night, or a neighborhood game night. Host a Hawaiian luau, complete with pulled pork, themed dress, and dancing to ukulele music. Get together with neighbors and do a progressive dinner; drinks at one house, appetizers at the next, then salad, a main course, and dessert. Progressive dinners are a great idea for getting to know neighbors without all of the work and preparation being on one family.
Remember all of the details
Food and drinks are important parts of entertaining, but the smaller details can promise fun for everyone. Have music playing. If you have wireless speakers, bring the music outside. You can either pull together your own faves, or fall back on an app like Pandora or Spotify for music to fit any mood or theme. If bugs are an issue, have citronella candles going, and bug spray available for guests.
For daytime entertaining keep both bug spray and sunscreen on hand for guests who might have forgotten their own. If kids are part of the fun, consider hiring a neighborhood teen to keep them having fun and occupied… a ringleader of sorts!
The most important part of summertime entertaining is to enjoy your time with your friends and family. Prepping ahead of time makes this part easy. Have fun and make great memories this year – the dishes and cleaning can wait until tomorrow!