The Secrets To Hosting A Great Summer Party
I'm still on Cloud Nine after last Thursday's cocktail workshop at Anthropologie. They've always been one of my dream brands to work with, so when they asked me to co-host an event dishing out rosé recipes and sharing summer entertaining tips, I jumped at the idea! I love hosting a good summer shindig, barefoot in the grass, cold cocktail in hand!
Summertime get-togethers are usually more casual in nature, so I've really enjoyed finding ways to elevate a party's atmosphere without making it too fancy or stiff. The last thing you want is for your guests to feel caught off guard by your snazzy soiree when they expected flip flops and bagged Tostitos. I'm all about the in between, making it special and treating your guests without overdoing it.
One way to 'wow' the crowd and get the party started with a quickness is by serving a pre-made summery cocktail. This rosé sangria is SO YUMMY (not too sweet, don't worry) and the best part is you can just throw it all in the pitcher and it's ready to roll! No need to let it all infuse in the 'fridge for 24 hours, this one is good to go as soon as it's made -- just be sure to give it a good stir!
Here's a quick rundown of my most tried-and-true summer entertaining tips for hosting the kind of party your guests will be glad they came out for! Don't forget to peep the collection of Anthropologie entertaining essentials at the bottom!
Prep your menu -- apps, main, dessert -- and your bar. Check for dietary restrictions and offer options. Be sure to have plenty of ice on hand, and glassware for various beverage types. Set out bottle and wine openers.
Perfect your playlist...or put on Pandora. Music sets the tone and eliminates any uncomfortable silences before the drinks take effect. My go-to Pandora stations are: Chase Rice radio (pop country for your backyard BBQ); Phil Collins radio ('80s always gets toes tapping); and, Stacey Kent (for true dinner parties). If your party is bumpin' search for a Spotify playlist of the top hits from your college days. My 2000-2005 is a guarantee crowd pleaser!
Set up any yard games you want to encourage guests to play. Scout for animal feces and poisonous plants beforehand!
Light your favorite seasonal candle 15-30 minutes before everyone arrives to fill your house with a lovely scent they'll immediately notice. Be sure to place out of reach of young fingers. Have a citronella candle or two ready for your outdoor sitting areas.
Go and ahead and plate light self-serve snacks before guests' arrival. If anyone arrives starving you'll avoid any panicked hangry meltdowns. Will also placate excited kids, and buy adults some time for conversation before dinner. Recommended: Charcuterie, cheese, berries // Tortilla chips with guacamole, salsa for dipping // Mixed nuts // Pre-peeled clementine oranges and grapes // Pickled vegetables
Set the snacks where you want guests to initially congregate. Serve in portable bowls and on trays if you plan to move between the indoors and outdoors. Roll napkins around utensils and place inside a tumbler for easy transport.
For picnicking, invest in some colorful, break-proof outdoor dishes like this melamine set. Bring your bevs in a Corksicle thermos and serve in plastic tumblers. Be sure to bring a quilt to sit on, plenty of paper towels for clean ups, and a trash bag to properly take your refuse home with you.
Collect small glasses for tasting parties! Pick one wine, spirit, or type of beer and ask guests to bring their favorite. Choose someone to play bartender and pour up blind tastes -- everyone is usually surprised to learn what they chose as their favorite! I love these rosé glasses for at-home summer wine tastings with girlfriends.
What are your most tried-and-true entertaining tips? I feel like you have to learn from experience what works and what doesn't. But as long as you go in with a 'go with the flow' energy and play to the vibe of your guests you'll be FINE! Trying too hard (or not enough, some effort is required) is where you get in trouble.
Thanks so much for coming to The Tony Townie today! Hope you're having a great summer so far -- it is FLYING by!