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Stress free summertime entertaining

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There is much to celebrate and summer parties are in full swing. Just remember to play it safe and ask your invitees to respect social distancing and/or masking for the health of all your guests.

As you plan to entertain this season, here are some helpful tips to host an unforgettable bash that is both stress-free and fun for everyone. 

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

Set Up a Beverage Station

A dedicated drinks station is a great way to encourage people to start conversations with others. If it’s a large party, set up multiple stations so that your guests don’t have to line up for refills.

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

To enhance your cocktails, use fresh summer produce—really ripe fruits and vegetables. Buy fresh local 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.

Use Colorful Tableware 

It’s the perfect season to play around with colors, so start with your tableware. Use brightly colored plates to add an eclectic feel to the table. Don’t worry if they don’t match—mismatched dinnerware makes the affair appear more laidback. Scour flea markets or yard sales for inexpensive but attractive china that you can mix and match.

Decorate with Seasonal Flowers

You don’t need a full blown floral centerpiece to make your décor interesting. Just grab two to three empty jars and stick in a few stems or sprigs of seasonal flowers in each one. Wildflowers also work well for a rustic table setting.

Incorporate Food into the Décor

To make things even easier, make food part of your décor and take advantage of seasonal produce to brighten up the table. An appetizer platter or a bowl of mixed berries can even double as your centerpiece.

Go for Mood Lighting

Mood lighting is key to setting your party’s atmosphere. Turn off overhead lights and use lamps or candles. If the party is outside, hang paper lanterns together with string lights over the table or trees for a cozy ambiance. Don’t forget to light up pathways and steps to avoid accidents.

Stick to Easy Recipes

To make your hosting duties as stress-free as possible, create a menu that’s easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. Leave last-minute grilling a few hours before the party starts and set the table the day before. Appetizers, salads and meats with a light angel food cake and popsicles for the kids.

Extra Tips

Don’t be shy to ask for help. Delegate tasks like manning the grill or setting the table so you can focus on other things.

If your guests offer to bring something, say yes! Appetizers or dessert can be that one thing off your mind.

Make sure you’re well stocked on drinks and ice to minimize supply runs.

Avoid repeating flavors. If you use strawberries for appetizers, think of something else for dessert.

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