6 Tips to Make Summer Entertaining a Breeze, According to Pros

people toasting glasses of wine

Summer is the perfect time to entertain friends and family outdoors – long nights and warm weather are a winning combination. But when the thought of keeping everyone in your yard and being quiet seems downright impossible, professionals come to the rescue.

Below, three professional event planners share some tips to make family fun a breeze this season. Read on and get ready to send those invitations out. If your party takes the spotlight, you can say thank you to us later.

01 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Make a Game Plan

outdoor party

Whether you’re throwing a themed party or want to keep the vibe ultra-casual, now’s the time to put all your big ideas on the table. Madison Hummel of Madison Avenue Events emphasizes the importance of creating a vision for your event upfront.

“Do you want something big, bright, and inviting, like a backyard barbecue, or something intimate and sophisticated, like a well-prepared dinner seated around a table?” she says. “Find ideas you love on Pinterest and Instagram, have fun, and save them to boards to ensure they work together in a unified vision.”

02 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Set a Budget

outdoor party

Note that hosting fees can add up quickly. “Pull out your favorite pen and notepad and make a list of the most important things,” advises Hummel. “Food, entertainment, drinks or a giant balloon garland? So you can choose where to invest your money from the start.”

While Instagram and Pinterest are undoubtedly great sources of inspiration, online parties can be more expensive than you think. “A lot of them start at $5,000 and go up to $25,000 depending on the difficulty,” Hummel said. “So be realistic with that number.”

03 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Book Rentals Early

outdoor party

Don’t hesitate! If you’re planning a party sometime this season, book early, says Kiana Turner of Madison Elyse Events.

“This is the season for outdoor parties and tents, tables and chairs can be hard to come by,” she said. “If you plan ahead, you can get everything you need to make your outdoor evening a success.”

04 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Outsource When You Can

outdoor party

When you’re having fun at home, don’t expect to do everything yourself, says Kelly Soule of Kelly Elizabeth Events. “Cooking all the food, arranging the flowers, working as a bartender—you can’t do all that and interact with the guests,” Soule notes.

Instead, use your strengths. “Think of the things that bring you the most joy and focus on them,” Soule advises. Maybe that means designing a great table, but not cooking.

“Hire a caterer, order food delivery, or get a bartender,” advises Soule. “They can not only prepare all the food for you and feed your guests but also help with the cleaning,” which sounds like a win-win situation to us.

05 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Curate a Great Playlist

outdoor party

What would an outdoor party be without music? Create a playlist (or ask a friend or family member who loves music) or choose a live musician if you’re on a budget.

“If you already have a speaker system in your home, this is a great place to start,” says Soule. “From the lead guitarist to the live band, live music is always vibrant and impressive.”

06 of 06

Summer Entertaining: Set Out Water

outdoor party

You need to make sure your guests are comfortable and well-hydrated.

“While it’s nice to think of all the great cocktails your guests can enjoy, what they really need on a hot day is water,” says Soule. “The key is self-service stations where guests can drink water without breaking the bar line.”

Don’t be afraid to spice up the simple H20 with fun fruity ingredients. “Add a little flavor for a special touch,” advises Soule. “Cucumber and mint, blueberry and lemon, pineapple and coconut are some of our favorite infusion combinations. Just chop and add the ingredients.” Refreshing, light, and healthy!

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