Summertime is here and around the country, hosts are planning dinner parties for their friends and family. From graduation barbecues and wedding shower celebrations, to getting together and having some fun with the neighbors, the next few months offer an ideal time to do just that.
The following four tips can help any host or hostess create a summer dinner party that is tasty, memorable, and fun.
Create a Colorful Menu
Summer dinner party decor goes well beyond the color of the plates, napkins and tablecloths; what is served on the dishes also helps to contribute to the evening’s festive mood. Colorful meals filled with fresh fruits and vegetables are a great and delicious way to set the tone for the party. For example, for guests who enjoy scrumptious seafood, Martha Stewart suggests an easy Maryland crab cake dinner paired with a fresh corn and scallion salad with roasted asparagus sprinkled with garlic. For dessert, take advantage of the bounty of fresh and colorful summertime fruit and serve a fresh cherry tart with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Hosts and hostesses can prepare all of the ingredients for the salad ahead of time and then lay them all out on a long table so that guests can prepare their own perfectly palatable portions. Suggested ingredients include mixed salad greens, bell peppers in a variety of colors, tomatoes, avocados, asparagus, and radishes—many of these can readily be found at local Farmer’s Markets or even your garden. Add colorful bowls of beans, olives, hard boiled eggs and cheese and a gravy boat filled with homemade herb ranch dressing, and you will have a tasty and healthy meal that radiates the feeling of summertime.
Design a Summery Centerpiece
In order to help keep tablecloths from blowing away in the summer breeze, place at least one beautiful seasonal centerpiece on each table. For example, HGTV suggests creating one with fresh slices of lime and some flowers from the garden or a local grocery store. Take clear vases of different sizes—Mason jars would also work—and line them with the lime slices so that they are facing outward. Then add the flowers to the middle. If the limes don’t want to stay standing up, fit a smaller vase inside the bigger one and fill the space between them with the sliced citrus.
Let the Light in or Keep it Out
On hot summer evenings, it might be more pleasant to host your dinner party indoors—or at least keep the food inside to keep bugs and heat at bay. A great way to let in as much light as you want is with a stylish sunshade. For example, The Shade Store features a nice selection of cheery decor for windows that can be used in the kitchen, living room or any other entertaining space. They can help hosts and hostesses to let as much or as little light into the party area as they wish, and can be adjusted during the course of the festivities.
Make Cleanup a Breeze
As Real Simple notes, a successful summertime dinner party doesn’t need to be fussy or elaborate. For example, instead of cloth tablecloths that will need to be laundered, get creative with brown craft paper and lay it across the table. Not only will it provide a shabby-chic look—kids will love to draw on the surface, plus it is a snap to clean up.