Everyone loves to entertain during the summer. But, no one loves the work that often comes along with having friends over for dinner. Planning, preparing food, setting up your backyard and then cleaning up can be a hassle, but that shouldn’t hold you back from celebrating this summer.
Whether you are the type that likes to have friends over every weekend or are planning a special family party this summer, you should be able to enjoy the day just as much as your guests will. The key to making entertaining easy is to plan ahead. When you take some steps before the day of the party and when you plan for everything, things will go smoothly and you’ll be able to relax and enjoy the get together.
Make your Invitation Clear and ask People to RSVP
When you’re the host, there’s nothing worse than an unorganised party or a party that just never seems to end. Avoid this problem by making your invitations very clear. One tip is to use an actual invitation, whether it is electronic or printed is up to you, instead of inviting people over the phone or in person.
There’s something about a formal invitation that tells people that they are expected to be punctual and makes people avoid wearing out their welcome. On your invitation, list a start and end time for your party. Of course, people may leave a little early, but with this approach you’ll be ready when your guests arrive and you’ll discourage stragglers when you’re ready to clean up.
Don’t forget to ask people to RSVP so you know how many guests to expect. This is especially important if you are inviting people for dinner or want to provide refreshments. It can also help you set up the party space and make sure there is room for everyone.
Stick with the Essentials
It can be so easy to get caught up in the details of a party and take on too much. Know when to stop decorating, adding to the menu and planning activities. Remember why you wanted to throw the party and make that the focus.
Of course you’ll want to add some decorations, make sure you have adequate outdoor lighting and ensure that your guests have plenty to entertain them, but keep it simple. Keep an open mind and work to make your party fun and attractive, but don’t let those extras take over or overwhelm you.
Get a Little Help from Your Friends
Delegation can make your job a lot easier. Don’t be afraid to ask your guests to help out to lighten the load so that no one person is burdened with all the work. For most casual parties, asking guests to help isn’t unexpected.
An easy way to do this is to ask your guests to bring a dish to share. Everyone could be assigned to bring a dessert or you could make specific assignments. If you’re hosting a barbecue, tell your guests that you’ll provide the sides, beverages and dessert and that everyone should bring their choice of meat to grill.
But, delegation doesn’t have to stop with the food. You can also ask guests to bring lawn chairs for a garden party, assign someone to be in charge of the music or even ask a friend to bring some extra serving bowls so you’ll have enough.
Get your Garden in Shape in Advance
There are few things more stressful than trying to bring your garden to life and make sure your lawn looks great the night before an outdoor party. Don’t let this happen to you. Start weeding, trimming shrubs and adding flowers weeks in advance of your party. Then, the day before, mow the lawn so it looks sharp and is ready for entertaining.
When you work to make sure your yard and garden look good all summer, you won’t be scrambling to make things look perfect the day before the celebration.
Make the Space Conducive to a Party
Whether you are having your party inside, in the garden with the aid of a marquee hire company or on your deck, you’ll need to do some preparation to make sure the space is ready for guests. This is another thing you can start doing in advance so that on the day of the party you can relax and focus on your friends.
Arranging outdoor furniture, hanging lights, hiring a cooler, wiping down outdoor tables and making sure the barbecue is ready for the season are things you can do before the day of the event to save yourself time and stress.
Don’t try to do Everything
Very rarely do summer parties include a dozen activities. If you try to do everything at your party, you’ll just be overwhelmed and your guests won’t get a chance to relax. Instead, choose just a few activities you want to include and stick with your plan.
For example, maybe you want to do dinner and music, with conversation being the main activity. Or, maybe you want to provide cold drinks and treats and play some outdoor games. Keep things casual and don’t try to fit too many things into a single event. Remember, you have all summer to do all kinds of activities!
Remember it’s Supposed to be Fun
The biggest thing you can do to make entertaining easy this summer is remember that it’s supposed to be fun. Don’t let yourself get lost in the details, stress over the perfect menu or worry what your garden looks like. Instead, let loose and have fun.
Yes, you need to plan for your party and you do need to play the host, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the party as much as your guests do. Keep in mind that the whole point of getting together is to enjoy each others’ company and appreciate the warm weather.
This summer, don’t let entertaining become a chore. Use these tips to make your party fun without taking on added stress.
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