I love to entertain, and I’ll use pretty much any excuse to get a few friends together for some food, drinks, music, and laughs. Three day weekend? Party. Rainy Sunday? Come on over. Just cleaned the house? Let’s do this. So once the weather turns nice and the days get longer, all bets are off. Whether it’s a few neighbors or the whole crew, there’s nothing like a garden party on a summer evening.
To keep the festivities going all summer long without getting burned out, you’ve got to find that perfect balance. Easy enough to throw together at a moment’s notice, festive enough to make you excited to do it again next weekend. You’ll want to keep the focus on food, drink, and tunes. Everything else is bonus.
• TAKE IT OUTSIDE
There’s absolutely no reason to sweat it out in the kitchen while your guests sip drinks on the patio. Char up some summer vegetables on the grill or skewer some kebabs and you’re good to go. Hanging out by the grill with a beer while you chat with friends barely feels like cooking at all. I marinated these chicken kebabs in a mix of hoisin and hot sauce and threw some corn on the grill and voila. Doesn’t get much simpler than that. Well, unless you pick up barbeque and call it a day. That’s totally allowed too.
• SKIP THE PAPER
Look, I’m not asking you to use your wedding china or anything, but it’s worth it to invest in some melamine plates or - my personal favorite - thrift store china in mixed patterns. Paper plates are wasteful and don’t hold up to messy barbecue or salad dressing. Oh, and please take those chips out of the bag they came in and put them into a bowl. Elevate your soiree with some proper dinnerware. You’ll look like an amazing hostess, and you can throw it in the dishwasher when you’re done.
• PUT IT ON ICE
I love a good cocktail. I mean, I blog about them every week. But we’re sticking with the casual theme here, and that means you’re off the hook from bartending. Grab a bucket, a bag of ice, a few beers, and you’ve got a bar. If you’re feeling really fancy you can slice up some limes, but that’s optional. Don’t overcomplicate it.
• NO NEED FOR THE CUT FLOWERS
Instead, place a few potted plants around the patio. It’s not as fussy and they’ll last much longer. Plant some lavender, rosemary, or citronella, all of which repel annoying bugs and smell delicious.
• CHARGE YOUR SPEAKERS
It’s not a party without music, so make sure you have something portable that you can play outside. A simple bluetooth speaker that connects to your phone will do the trick, but lately we’ve been enjoying our portable record player. Hey, I’ve even used the old phone in a bowl trick (don’t judge). Whatever you need to make sure you’ve got some summer sounds. Rock on.