4 Ways to Be a Hospitable Summer Party Host

4 Ways to Be a Hospitable Summer Party Host

These four tips will ensure your summer party will be raved about for years to come.

By: Karen Walrond

Being from the Caribbean, I know how to throw a good summer party — you could even say it’s in my DNA. Now, there’s no doubt that the best summertime soirées are typically held outdoors — not just because of the warm weather and the sunshine, but also because all the low-key work can generally be done ahead of schedule, allowing you to have fun with your guests. And then, once it’s over, the cleanup takes place outside, leaving your home still intact.

See? The summer party is officially the perfect party.

And so, to ensure that your summer party is the one everyone will be raving about for years to come, here are my top four tips for making it wonderful.

1. It’s All About the Ambiance
As with every party, the key to making it memorable is great music, great refreshments and a space in which people feel comfortable. After that, the conversation and the good times will all just come naturally. Here are three elements to keep in mind.

  • Consider the time of day: In some places, having the party at midday, when the sun is warmest, maximizes comfort. In other places (like in Houston, Texas, where I now live), the middle of the day feels like the surface of the sun, so a sunset party makes more sense. Check the weather report to determine when the best time of day will be to have your party, and plan accordingly.

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  • Make a summer playlist: Before the party, make a summer playlist that includes songs that inspire thoughts of fun in the sun. For the record, 25 songs make up roughly 90 minutes of music — and after 90 minutes, who cares if the songs repeat? Set it up with some portable speakers outside, and let your list shuffle and replay for the rest of the party.
  • Set the scene: Twinkle lights are an inexpensive way to make sure your patio or garden has the perfect vibe as the sun begins to set, so be sure to hang a few strings. Citronella candles add ambiance and can help keep pesky insects at bay. Also, be sure to have a few bottles of sunscreen and insect repellent on hand and visible (perhaps in a basket), so your guests are as comfortable as possible.

2. Prepare Food as Much as Possible Ahead of Time
The beauty of a summer party is that food can be simplified and prepared ahead of time. Chop up a variety of seasonal fruits and vegetables to make instant salads ready to pull out of the fridge when it’s time to eat.

If you’re planning on grilling, pre-assembled kebabs are a great way to make sure that you’re not standing over the barbecue for the duration of your party. I recommend vegetable and seafood kebabs, which take the least amount of time to cook. Just pop them on the grill (or even better, have your guests grill their own kebabs!), and, minutes later, you’ll have a virtual feast.

3. Serve Drinks in Mason Jars
Rather than play server all day, invest in some inexpensive mason jars (many hobby stores sell them), and serve your drinks in those. Simply mix up a batch of lemonade or iced tea or anything, really, and pour the drinks in individual jars to be stored in one cooler. The best part? Having the jars reduces waste (better for the environment), and you can use them for many summers to come.

4. Dessert? Ice Cream, Baby
There’s no reason to get fancy with your desserts — simply pull out the tubs of vanilla ice cream and a scoop and everyone will be thrilled.

When she isn't sharing tips on StyleUnited on how to add more awesome to your life, you can find Karen on Chookooloonks.com. She's on a mission to prove to you that your life is filled with different, unique moments of beauty, starting with her book, The Beauty of Different. Her work can be seen on Babble.com, TEDxHouston and USAToday.

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I agree, it is more enjoyable to prepare as much food ahead of time as possible. It certainly leaves more time for you to spend with your guests!

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