How to host an effortless summer soiree

Provided by Family Features

Early August and there is much to celebrate and summer parties are in full swing. As you plan your “last of summer” entertaining, Stephen Cardino, VP and Fashion Director for Home at Macy’s, has some helpful tips to host an unforgettable bash that is both stress-free and fun for everyone.

WINE 2 -refreshment-768743_1280Set the scene

To start, here are some ideas for setting the scene, by infusing the season’s trends and the best that summer has to offer.

• Blue is a hot hue this year and there are many ways to apply the color of the sea to your summer tablescape. For a subtle look, try soft blue dinnerware layered with neutral table linens and flatware. To achieve a bolder statement, choose plates and serveware in indigo or with patterns of dots and stripes. Glassware in a variety of blues and greens can also enhance your table.

• Surface texture is just as important as pattern. Choose a table runner and napkins made of linen, a popular material right now, to serve as the foundation of your space. Add charm and interest with textured glassware, such as ones with etching, facets or bubbling.

• Whether dining al fresco or indoors to beat the heat, fresh flowers are a must for the summer season. For a colorful option, set single flowers in a suite of glass bottles – a little goes a long way. Full flowers, like peonies and dahlias, are great for this, or try a variety of white flowers placed in low, white ceramic urns for a monochromatic pairing.

• For easy refreshments, use glass pitchers, since it allows guests to help themselves. Fill one with water and citrus slices, another with lemonade or iced sweet tea, and the last with sangria or punch. Be sure to set out a large bucket of ice and glasses with your pitchers.

Serve sensational sips

If you’re looking for cocktail ideas to kick off end of season celebrations, try these:

• To enhance your cocktails, use fresh summer produce – really ripe fruits and vegetables. Buy peaches, strawberries, rhubarb and other fruits to make an amazing punch, which is always a crowd pleaser.

• The night before your party, use the largest container you have and fill it with water to make a giant ice cube. On the day of, make a concoction of herbs, fruits and vegetables with gin, or something light and botanical. Place the ice cube in a bowl and pour the punch mixture around it. The large ice cube will not melt down and dilute the punch, but will keep it cold and refreshing. It also serves as an eye-catching centerpiece that everyone at the party will talk about.

• With leftover fruit, such as peaches or pineapple, throw on the grill for a light summer dessert – perfect after a heavy meal.

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