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One of the best parts of summer is all the wonderful opportunities for entertaining. Whether it’s for an official holiday like the 4th of July or Labor Day, or family events like graduations, birthdays, anniversaries or weddings, there’s no denying the warmer months are the perfect time to party. Even if you don’t have a specific reason to entertain, it can just be great fun to have some of your closest friends and family together to spend some quality time outdoors, share some great food and toast over some tasty beverages.
While entertaining and party planning comes naturally to some, to others, just the thought can hit the panic button. Entertaining doesn’t have to be overly complicated. In fact, it can be really easy.
Here are a few tips to make entertaining this summer a total breeze!
1. Pick a Theme
To begin planning your summer party it can help to simplify things by picking a theme. Do you want to have a backyard BBQ pool party, a Hawaiian luau, a summer seafood extravaganza, a vegetarian potluck, a taco and tequila tasting or maybe a sangria and tapas party? Choosing a theme will help you narrow down the decor options, menu items and beverages you would like to serve. Whatever you choose, be sure to keep things light, fun and casual. It is summer after all.
2. Get a Handle on Decor
There’s nothing that can set the vibe of a party like a little decor. But just because you want to set the mood doesn’t mean you need to spend a lot of money. Sometimes just a few blooms or snips of greenery from your garden is all you need. If you don’t have a garden, you may be surprised at what your local grocery store has to offer. I’ve found gorgeous bunches of mix and match flowers and greenery at my local supermarket between $4 – $10. Trader Joe’s is another great spot to hit for a wide selection of flowers on the cheap. And there’s no need to go crazy. Sometimes just one bud with a little greenery here and there is all you need.
If flower arranging isn’t your thing, simply set out bowls of limes, oranges, lemons or seasonal fruits. Pineapples would make great centerpieces in the summer as would small lanterns or scattered seashells. String a few strands of outdoor lights around the party area and scattering a few candles here and there can finish off your look and set a magical atmosphere for the night ahead.
3. Create a Beverage Bar
What’s a party without some refreshing drinks and cocktails? Keep your guests happy and easily refreshed by setting up a designated beverage station. This way your guests can easily fill up while staying cool, hydrated and happy.
For a lovely presentation buy decorative buckets or coolers and fill them with plenty of ice. Then fill them with cans of sparkling water, sodas, spiked seltzers or local beers so guests can grab and go. Don’t forget to keep a batch of ice in a cooler on the side
The summer months also make the perfect time to fill glass beverage dispensers with batches of homemade lemonade, iced tea or water gently flavored with slices of in-season fruit like watermelon, peaches, lemons, limes, berries and/or mint. A super nice touch on a beverage bar in the summer months would include a signature cocktail or beverage for your party. Party favorites are sangria, margaritas, mojitos or daiquiris.
Want to elevate your wine serving game a little? Set wine bottles in the beautiful wine coasters shown in the photo above to keep them from dripping on the table. Keep white and rose wines chilled on ice or in wine chillers displayed on the table.
4. Plan a No-Fuss Menu
The great thing about entertaining in the summer months is that the menu doesn’t have to be complicated. We all enjoy lighter food options in the summer so thinking about serving in-season salads, cool dips with veggies, and light appetizers for picking to keep your guests satiated. In the summer you don’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, and besides firing up the grill one of my favorite things to serve is a board with a selection of cheeses, meats, olives, nuts, fruits, and jams. Opt to serve selections solely from a specific country like Italy, Spain or France for the themed board and pair with wines from the same region. You can even use this approach and serve locally crafted cheeses and foods made and grown by farms in your area or state. If you don’t have access to farms or farmers markets be sure to check your local grocery store as more and more are supporting local products.
For an impressive presentation, I love to serve my appetizers on these gorgeous wood and marble boards that can be found at McDonald Paper. They look expensive, but they only cost between $12 and $15. Plus, they make whatever you serve on them look gorgeous.
5. Mason Jars Make Instant Summer Party Fun
There’s really nothing you can serve in a mason jar that doesn’t somehow make it instantly better. They’re charming, adorable and super functional. Not only can you serve a refreshing summer drink in them but they also make a great vase for flowers or a unique way to store your utensils and napkins on a buffet table. We absolutely love these 38-ounce mason jar mugs by Circleware. They even have a decorative chalkboard label that is perfect for writing your guests names or other fun little party messages. They even make a great party favor. You can find them linked here.
6. Keep Your Guests Comfortable And Make Sure They’re Having Fun
This tip may differ depending on what region of the country you live in but it’s important to keep your guests comfortable if you want everyone to have a nice time. It’s kind of the point, right? This means doing things like stocking up on citronella candles and bug spray if you live in a buggy area, having blankets available if it gets cold at night and making sure that there’s plenty of umbrellas or covered areas if there is a lot of sun or rain. Of course, always make sure there is plenty of seating and areas to eat comfortably. To keep your guests occupied while they mingle set up lawn games like croquet, badminton, horseshoes or corn hole for a super fun time.
7. Source Restaurant Quality Supplies For Much Less
While parties are tons of fun, they can get expensive. Here’s a little secret: if you like to entertain often we recommend getting your party food and drink serving supplies from McDonald Paper. A restaurant supply company by trade, McDonald Paper has everything you need for your kitchen prep and entertaining needs at incredibly discounted prices as compared to your local retailers.
Whether you’re just having a casual get together or planning something a little more extravagant like a backyard wedding, McDonald Paper has you covered.
With over 20,000 items in stock, they have everything you might need for summer entertaining including:
- Barware – bar tools, cocktail shakers, beer, cocktail, martini, champagne, and wine glasses
- Pizza making tools
- Dishes, platters, and trays
- Beverage dispensers
- Serving and mixing bowls
- Serving and table utensils – forks, knives, spoons, tongs, spatulas, etc.
- Serving boards
- Wine coolers
- Ice Buckets
- Mason Jars
- And more!!!
They even carry regular and eco-friendly to-go packaging so your guests can go home with leftovers in style.
Shopping at McDonald Paper for all your summer entertaining needs can save you lots of money and take the stress out of shopping for your party. Plus most orders in New York Metro Area qualify for free shipping over $49.99.
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Visit Mcdonaldpaper.com for restaurant-quality entertaining supplies at a discount!