Summer is a GREAT time to gather friends and entertain! Outdoor parties are always fun – not always the easiest to pull off here in the Valley of the Sun – but if you have misters or even outdoor air conditioners, it isn’t impossible!
While planning your event or party, it’s important to think about color palette, theme, and what will make your guests most happy. I pulled together this list of ideas to hopefully inspire you! I would keep this particular one to a “no kid” party so that the adults can spend their time relaxing and enjoying the company of their friends. These entertaining ideas can certainly be used for an indoor or outdoor party.
If you have followed me for awhile, you know that I am big on serving lots of appetizers at a party rather than a meal. These ideas are intended to that as well as to provide ideas on what you can prepare ahead of time so that you can ensure you enjoy the event to the fullest.
To set the tone of this “grown-up” party, I’d suggest starting with an invitation. Paperless Post is a wonderful resource for all of your invitation needs – either paper or online. They are passionate about the overall experience for their customers seeking unique invitations. You can see their awesomely extensive invitation selection here.
For the above inspiration board, I was drawn towards the colors of plum, green, and gold. On The Wedding Chicks site, you’ll find more images of the gorgeous Bohemian styled tablescape here. Small vases filled with colorful flowers are the perfect way to decorate the table such as the ones pictured above from Tulipina Floral Design. Using brightly colored sliced fruit is another great way to line a vase and then fill with flowers as a centerpiece. Adding some colorful candle holders around your event space, such as these ribbed glass lantern candle holders from World Market is easy. They come in lots of colors and are currently on sale!
Even if you stick to serving appetizers only, having a beautifully decorated table will invite your guests to sit down, savor their food, and take a moment to relax.
When it comes to serving drinks, it’s good to serve a variety – and always making sure to have water, or even sparkling water, available. The three cocktails shown in the above image can all be found on this blog. Shock Top’s Lemon Shandy, my mom’s favorite margaritas, and the Blackberry Mojitos are all not only beautiful in color, but also cool and refreshing – perfect for summertime entertaining.
I am a big believer of serving your food on simple dinnerware and platters. This allows the food to present itself. Now I can’t say that I don’t have some decorative serving pieces myself, but for the most part, it’s pretty simple! Sur la Table had some great products that would look fantastic. Pictured below are the Chilewich Scribble Table Runner, their set of 4 Ochre Fiore Napkins, this Myko Serve Platter (currently a bargain – on sale for $17.96) and these Bistro Round Plates. Now I’m not saying you have to go out and buy new plates, but having a set of white plates on hand, isn’t THAT awful of an idea, is it? 🙂
When you are ready to starting thinking about the food you will actually be serving, in my opinion, dishes you can prepare ahead is key – at least some of them! Having a variety (including vegetarian options) will make your guests most happy. From the inspiration board above, here are the links to the food ideas for your summertime party.
An easy make-ahead appetizer is this Blue Cheese Dip – for those who love blue cheese, this will be devoured. Along with this, you can set out some cut veggies and hummus.
The Grilled Pork Tenderloin Sliders with a Berry Sauce and Blue Cheese Butter look absolutely delicious to me! However, not everyone is a fan of blue cheese so I would recommend having the butter on the side. Serving salads on a larger scale for your party goers are also popular during the summer as they are light and refreshing. This Tuscan Melon and Blackberry Salad with Prosciutto and Yogurt Chèvre (a.k.a. Goat Cheese) Dressing from LunaCafe is not only beautiful in color – but meets the summer salad criteria perfectly.
Sliced avocados drizzled with olive oil then sprinkled with salt and pepper and finished off with a squeeze of fresh lime juice is another easy dish to prepare. The Blood Orange Caprese Salad pictured above is one of my favorites. Make a large portion and serve on a platter. Your guests will thank you.
Shrimp and scallops are also ideal for summertime entertaining. Flavorful but not too filling – and quick to make. The Grilled Shrimp with Serrano Mint Sauce from Saramay’s Specialties is easy and the sauce could certainly be made ahead of time. Another seafood idea are these Sauteed Scallops with Peas in a Lemon Tarragon Sauce – some of these dishes will take you away from the party, but enlist a couple of foodie friends to pull these together, I’m sure they’d love to cook with you!
When it comes to dessert, you’ve got this. Last summer I posted these make-ahead Mini Ice Cream Sundaes and they are PERFECT for entertaining! They aren’t huge, they are ready to go when you are ready to serve dessert, and they are devoured in an instant. What’s not to love?
I hope that you will “pin” this post and use as a reference as you plan your summertime parties – and if you do – please come back and tell me all about it!