I L-O-V-E to entertain. Sharing a meal & a great glass of wine with friends in the comfort of your own home is absolute heaven to me. And I always skew on the side of a little bit fancy (you can never go wrong with a splash of glam!) – so last week my husband and I hosted some friends for a summer supper at the beach. He manned the grill (BBQ chicken, grilled corn, and a fresh garden salad were on the menu!) and I manned the table decor.
Here is a little peak of our gorgeous night filled with lots of love & laughter…(AND read on for some fabulous summer entertaining tips from an expert party-planner!)
Our table is set for dinner in the courtyard!
…and no dinner is complete without a cheese plate (at least in my house! Cheese is my love language.) – This one includes a classic brie with some local honey, green grapes, sliced sopressata, Cypress Grove “lamb chopper” (a sheeps milk cheese), some raw walnuts, and wafer crackers.
Lastly, I set up the bar area with some novelty napkins (I love a funny napkin!), and arranged the champagne, beer, and decanted wine on a chic silver bar tray. And ps – how cute are those lobster coasters??
Before planning this dinner, I caught up with Evite editorial director, Marilyn Oliveira, who shared some seriously helpful tips for hosting a summer soiree (I followed pretty much all of her suggestions for this summer supper!) Check out more of her party-planning expertise below!
What are your top 3 “must-haves” for throwing a great summer party?
· Great music. Music instantly sets the mood, so a great party mix is essential (you can access summer party music playlists <http://ideas.evite.com/section/planning/party-music-101/> curated by DJ Nahchey on Evite Gatherings).
· Impressive drinks. Just a little extra effort goes a long way, such as adding berries and bits of tarragon to ice water, garnishing cocktails with fruit <http://ideas.evite.com/section/drinks/blackberry-sage-spritzer/> , and offering pitchers of icy mocktails in addition to (or instead of) canned or bottled soft drinks.
· An easy menu. Rather than stress over a complicated dinner, doctoring store-bought foods and bakery items or great takeout lets you spend more time with your guests and avoid laboring too much in the summer heat.
How can someone on a tight budget still throw a chic, fun soiree?
· Most party spending goes towards food and drink, so hosting a potluck (where guests bring food items) or a cocktail party (where no meal is served) is an easy way to cut costs.
· Make beverages in batches (soft and hard versions of lemonade in drink dispensers are an affordable go-to) and mix paper products with dinnerware you already own.
· For an extra dose of chic, stick to an all-white color scheme and ask guests to dress accordingly — everything and everyone looks amazing in white!
· Finally, bring the party outside where a minimum of decor is needed, and you’re all set.
What are some of your “go-to” hostess gifts?
· A bottle of wine is always appreciated, but I like to put a spin on it by bringing a bottle of something different, like a bottle of saki or — my current favorite! – moonshine <http://ideas.evite.com/section/drinks/ole-smoky-moonshine-lemonade/> . Some other great go-tos are interesting bottle stoppers, chocolate-covered strawberries, and flowers.
How does Evite help to personalize your party and make planning easier?
· Evite offers party ideas, expert tips, DIYs, etiquette, music playlists, and decor inspiration in addition to amazing free and premium digital invitations. We cover all the bases, so you can dive right into planning and shopping as soon as your invitations are sent — all in one place.
What about you, womanistas? What are your fave ways to entertain during the summer? I hope y’all are all enjoying a happy, healthy, and relaxing summer season! Cheers to friends + food!
xo, the Womanista