as the warm weather approaches, it’s finally time to embrace one of the best parts of the season: outdoor entertaining. the idea of hosting a gathering can seem daunting to some, but i promise it’s easier than you think. of course, it all begins with a beautifully designed home, but there are even more ways to create a relaxed and thoughtful summer soirée that both you and your guests will enjoy.

so, pour yourself a glass of something refreshing, and let’s get started…

keep the food simple

when it comes to hosting a gathering of any size, it can be tempting to try to do it all: cooking and food prep, on-the-go clean-up during the event, and of course, the entertaining itself. take it from me, don’t attempt a maiden voyage. spending your day stressed and secluded in the kitchen is a recipe for disaster (pun intended).

instead, embrace the luxury of simplicity by choosing one or two easy-to-make standout dishes and order the rest from your favorite local restaurant or trader joe’s. (your guests will be equally impressed with your delicious menu selections.)

to make the display feel chic, transfer your purchased items to beautiful dishware and trays for an effortless and elegant display. top with a fresh garnish and it’s almost like you made it yourself.

create self-serve beverage stations

as the host, you may feel obligated to ensure guests are mingling with a full glass, but playing bartender for the night can become exhausting. by setting up a fully-stocked drink station for your guests, they can refill their glass whenever they desire.

tip: don’t forget chillers, insulators, and ice buckets! no one enjoys a lukewarm rosé. if it’s time to replenish your outdoor bar essentials, here are some of my personal favorites.

do as the french do and mise en place

guests are arriving, and you’re stuck behind the cutting board chopping fresh fruit and vegetables and preparing everything in a last-minute rush. doesn’t sound like the joyful gathering you were hoping for. instead, keep things stress-free by preparing as much as possible before your guests arrive.

devote time for prepping fresh fruit, vegetables, and charcuterie options the day before your gathering. if you plan on barbecuing, pre-make all the patties and skewer and select a designated person to man the grill.

then, take it a step further and arrange your tablescapes well in advance, too. this will keep you efficient and organized and present to enjoy time around the table or pool area with your guests. speaking of…

set a beautiful tablescape

creating an exquisite, statement-worthy tablescape doesn’t have to be complicated. spread out a crisp linen tablecloth or table runner and accessorize it with low vases filled with billowy greenery, tightly arranged flowers, or clear glass votive candles. to add personality and elevate the visual interest, mix dinnerware colors and layer linen napkins in contrasting hues.

pro tip: keep your florals and candles unscented so they don’t compete with the tantalizing aromas of your delicious cuisine!

establish the mood

when it comes to mood, music should always be playing to keep the party alive. but what if your home isn’t wired (yet!) for outdoor speakers? invest in a portable wireless sonos speaker to bring the party wherever you go. choose upbeat and festive tunes that match the atmosphere of the party. even better, prepare ahead of time with a signature playlist.

next, create an immersive sensory experience by including ambient lighting and a fire feature for delightfully cozy vibes. whether it’s a sleek glass fire pit or a traditional wood-burning fireplace, the warm glow and crackling sounds add an enchanting touch to any outdoor event.

embrace the fun

planning a dinner party should never be stressful. prepare well and then place your expectations aside and remember to join in on the fun! ask for help when needed (even if that means asking guests to bring a dish with them) and remember not to sweat the small stuff. spoiler alert: it’s all small stuff. 😉

if you’re ready for a home that supports years of elevated living, in the city or in the ‘burbs, you know where to find us.

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