5 tips to be a genius hostess this summer
Not many things are great served up lukewarm. Most things are best served cool (think drinks) or warm (think food).
What you don’t want, when throwing a party, is anything at all that could be called lukewarm – from the company to the beer.
Your summertime party should be so cool it will be warmly remembered by all.
Keep a few simple tips in mind, and you’ll be on your way to entertaining in style this summer. Here’s tips on how to be a great hostess…
Timing is everything:
Most people love summertime gatherings because of the great outdoors. For those with colorful gardens, green expanses of grass or sprawling porches, it’s a chance to show off a bit.
Timing is everything though. Plan an early evening cocktail party, after the heat of the day has passed. Or a late morning brunch also keeps guests out of the worst heat.
The advantage to either brunch or a cocktail party over a dinner party? Serving brunch dishes like quiche, fruit salads and pastries, or appetizers means a less expensive and less time-consuming party.
Choose a day and time when you know your MVPs (most valuable partiers) will be in town. You know the friends we’re talking about – they’re pros at keeping conversations going, volunteer to help you fill glasses, and have even been known to wipe up a spill or two.
Size it up – or down:
Who to invite? Remember that your anxiety level and the number of guests invited are often directly related. You want enough to say “success” but not so many that you’ll say “Xanax.” Think 12 to 24 people, depending on the size of your entertaining space. And don’t invite the same dozen people who all know each other.
Now send out the word. We think Evite is just wonderful. If you’re sending out paper invites, we recommend Shutterfly where you’ll find dozens of ideas and get ShopAtHome.com Cash Back.
Remember to answer the questions you always have when you go to a party, like dress code, food options and what they should bring. It’s summertime, so unless you’re looking for a chance to wear that little black dress, we say go casual.
And the theme is…
It’s not Halloween, but if you want to get a bit creative, don’t be afraid to suggest a general theme. “Welcome to the tropics” could be the first line of the invitation. If a full bar with exotic drinks is too much, consider wine, beer and one tropical drink. We’re thinking margaritas. Challenge your guests to dig out that old tropical shirt.
Better yet – challenge your guests to dress as “tourists,” and see how creative they get. Be sure you appear at the door with your sandals (and socks – you can lose them after the laughter dies down), overlarge straw hat and binoculars.
Décor? Toss guide books around, or maps. They’ll likely be conversation-starters. If you have old photos of vacations in exotic places, scatter a few around. And let the music take your guests to the tropics. Let Jimmy Buffet work his magic, or if instrumental music is more to your liking, think steel drums.
A prepared hostess is a happy hostess:
This holds true for any party – but a summertime party especially. Your guests won’t be at ease unless you are. And you won’t relax if you’re still plating appetizers or cleaning up clutter as guests arrive. Think make-ahead food – and once you’ve offered that first drink, set up a “serve yourself” stand with a cooler full of beer, wine and soft drinks. Since it’s all casual – you can get away with disposable plates and cups, making cleanup a breeze.
Nice noshes, big savings:
Again, think simple. We’re thinking cool – not warm. Cool foods — like shrimp cocktail, veggies and dip, and chips and guacamole – don’t take a lot of effort. If you’re doing a brunch, bake up a few quiches, which don’t need to be served hot from the oven. Shop at places like Walmart, Target or Sam’s Club to earn Cash Back for essential items like chips, carrots, eggs and paper products.