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How to: Summer Entertaining in Style

Parties, al fresco, are a highlight of the summer season. If you choose to host a summer party outdoors, go that extra mile to really make the event something special for your guests. From table settings to mood lighting and of course, delicious food and drinks, planning the perfect party starts with the guest list. So grab your favorite friends and invite them over next weekend. They will be thrilled.

Here are some very simple, but helpful hints for hosting the best party of the season.

Table settings should be more than just plates, glasses and utensils. To really set the mood for the meal and give your party a personality, add a pop of color to your table, with patterned plates in an unexpected color combination; simple flower arrangements, like sunflowers in Mason jars, and votive candles, add just the right summer touch, and take just minutes to prep. For more intimate gatherings, add a touch of old-fashioned formality, with handwritten place cards and menus.

Summer + Grilling = easy and delicious. Your menu can include veggies of every color, meat, chicken, fish or a combo. Fresh fruit, like pineapple, is amazing on the grill. Set up an easy bar by premixing summer cocktails and mocktails in beautiful pitchers so guests can help themselves.

The right outdoor lighting can create a magical mood for your party. Old-school Edison lights are a cool, classic way to spice up even a drab space; try stringing them over the table to make a romantic and charming gathering for your guests, perfect for a night under the summer stars.

An essential for setting, and keeping, the mood: MUSIC. A great playlist can take your party from somber to spectacular in seconds. It's easy to make your own party playlist with the  top summer songs a little assist from Pandora and you are now the best DJ in town.

Are you planning an outdoor party this season? What are some of your favorite crowd-pleasing tips? Please share with us by leaving your comments below.

Photos courtesy of Real Simple, TVFCU, Food Network blogEpicurious, CB2

  • Topics:
  • Entertaining at Home
  • Seasonal

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