by Susan Fowler, Events by Susan Lynne
Summer is a great time to have a party and invite friends and family into your home for food and fun. Create a party that will really encourage your guest by keeping it simple so that you are not stressed when they arrive. Here are some basic planning ideas for the perfect party!
Have the party at your house to reduce your costs and give you total creative control. Start setting up your party the day before so if you don’t like your original layout you can modify as you decorate. Decorate the parts of your home you want to use for your party inside and outside. This will allow for clear boundaries for your guests to only go where the party is happening. As you are decorating set up food and beverage stations in different locations. This will allow your guest to spread out and socialize. Have two beverage stations one for adults and one for the kiddos.
Set Up Stations
The words “keep it simple” should be going through your mind at all times especially when it comes to food. Try to keep all the cooking outside if possible or cook inside the day before. Your oven and stove will make your home very warm. You want your menu to be filled with food your guest can easily grab and go. Set-up different food stations i.e. a main station with your main food items, a fruit and veggie station, a dessert station, and two beverage stations. Have simple snacks set-up all over like peanuts or chips. For the beverage stations make punch and name it after something fun and personal to you. It can be your signature drink and your kids will love this almost as much as the adults. My personal favorite is mixing 2 two liters of ginger ale with one of the Welches frozen concentrate juices (mixed berry or orange pineapple apple flavors are the best).
Use Easy Decorations
To decorate use bright summer colors in moderation. Yes it is possible to over decorate. Your food can work as décor, brightly colored veggies and fruits displayed on clear or white platters i.e. (watermelon, berries, grapes, orange bell peppers, yellow bell peppers, carrots, and sugar peas). These are all bright colors and can be set-up outside. Balloons are cheap and can be used in so many ways. Tie a ribbon around your balloons and hang from the ceiling with tape or a tack. This saves you from having to use helium balloons and adds a lot to the décor. Outside use pin wheels, beach balls, sand pails, and shovels.
When decorating your food tables don’t just lay all the food out flat use different items around the house to add height like cake stands, glass, blocks, or books. Cover your table with one table cloth and take another table cloth and bunch it up and set a platter or beverage container on top to add more variety to your table.
Entertaining your guests is the fun part! Most of them will know each other and will socialize with each other. You can provide games inside and outside like corn hole, giant jenga, badminton, ping pong, bocce ball, and croquet and inside set-up a place for cards or board games. There are people that can’t be outside and this set-up accommodates all of your guests. Finally, have really great music playing in the background loud enough to be heard but not too loud that your guests can’t hear themselves talk.
Remember your guest are coming for you. So keep it simple and stay stress free so you can enjoy your party as much as your guest do.
by Cindy Baker, Sr. Designer
Inspirational Kitchens by Design (IKD)
Summertime is upon us and as many head to the beaches to enjoy the summer fun, a lot of us want to stay a little closer to home. Outdoor living is getting in full swing and it’s time to start entertaining and gearing up for backyard cookouts and fellowship with friends. Some of you may be wondering how to do this and spruce up your outdoor living space on a summertime budget, and it’s easier than you think. Here are four easy tips to summer-ize your space!
Slipcovers and Pillows
First off, you need to look both inside AND outside. Time to dust off the winter drab from our living spaces in both areas. Bring in that summer fun with bright colors and vivid prints by changing out your dark, heavy textured accent pillows with fresh new covers. You can also slipcover your furniture with lightweight linen in a cool neutral color so those pillows can really pop. These can easily be cleaned and stored after the season to be used again and again.
Water features, Flowers and Dishes
Try painting some terra-cotta flowerpots and plant some beautiful flowers in them. Use them as accents near the pool or water feature. Speaking of that, if you don’t have one, pick up a small water feature and plug in for instant ambiance. Surrounded by some flowering plants and candles, some comfy chairs and you’ve created a perfect outdoor reading nook. When you’re ready to put the book down, make sure you invested in some fun, brightly colored plastic dishware and glasses for serving wine and tapas around the house both inside and out during the season.
Flea Market Finds
One of the biggest trends right now is using eco-friendly things. There are a lot of salvage yards around or hit up some garage sales to find lots of very interesting and cool unique ideas. Try thinking outside the box for some of your patio furniture or accessories by using something old to create something new. Sometimes it’s just about taking an old worn-out table or your grandmother’s old metal tray and spray-painting it with a bright color like turquoise or hot pink to use out by the pool or add to your indoor living space.
Ambiance of Lighting
Christmas tree lights aren’t just for Christmas. Take the lights off the tree that you just took down a couple of months ago, and string those in your patio to simulate the summer sky and the stars when you’re entertaining. Wrap your trees or string overhead for a canopy of stars. Nothing is more romantic and inviting than sitting under the lights with their soft glow, while lounging in your outdoor space with friends and family. And don’t forget, low lighting makes EVERYTHING look great!
Whether you enjoy the bright summer sun or warm summer nights, outdoor living and bringing your indoors out is sure to brighten your spirit and all those around you. Take the summer plunge and get decorating!
Local Authors & Experts for St. Johns Magazine