When we think of summer, we immediately start to envision outdoor get-togethers, surrounded by family, friends, and loved ones. There are few things we love more than the quintessential summer party, whether it’s an all-day soiree with an extensive invite list, or simply a laid-back afternoon affair right in our backyard.
While summer tends to be the season when our social calendars begin to take off with event invites lining up back-to-back, we also never shy away from hosting our own shindigs every once in a while, too. But, we never really know when inspiration will strike, and sometimes we’re left scrambling to pull together a last-minute bash.
But planning a perfect party doesn’t have to be complicated – and it certainly shouldn’t be stressing you out! So we decided to compile a few of our favorite tips and tricks on how to throw a summer party on the fly. Read on to learn more, and feel free to chime in to let us know your best pieces of advice!
Perfect the Invite
While fancy invitations sent via snail mail are ideal (and add a certain je ne sais quois), they aren’t always a possibility. So, when a last minute party is brewing and you need to wrangle the troops, take advantage of social media and our “always-plugged-in” mentality to spread the word! You can use plenty of free services to make and distribute beautiful invitations (we love Paperless Post), or create an event invite on Facebook to keep your friends in the loop within a couple of minutes!
If you place looks more like a pigsty than a party spot, don’t fret! Try focusing on the areas where you’ll be spending the most time (for example, the back patio, living room, kitchen, and bathroom) and close the rest off. By concentrating on a few key places where you anticipate the most traffic, you’ll easy cut down your prep time. We recommend carrying a caddy of sorts to hold your basics (duster, paper towels, Windex, etc.) so you can easily bounce from room to room and quickly spruce everything up. You can also read our recent blog post on ways to declutter your space here, which includes a bunch of helpful tricks.
There’s no need to go overboard or spend a fortune at your neighborhood party store to transform your place from drab to fab. If you have some free time, get crafty and construct your own decorations, like this homemade banner from Rain on a Tin Roof or this fun balloon garland from The House that Lars Built. In a pinch, some string lights, decorative pillow covers (like our handwoven Kamala covers), and fresh flowers will do the trick. You can also find a bunch of ideas by quickly perusing Pinterest, like this collection from DIY Joy. Our friend Anh over at Girl and the Word also has some amazing budget-friendly tips over on her blog!
Master the Menu
Again, you don’t have to pull a Rachel Ray and whip up a multi-course menu of inspired dishes – you just need a few basics so people have something to nibble on throughout the party! If you have a slow cooker, don’t be shy to use it! You can throw in a bunch of ingredients early in the day and let it do all the work while you clean and craft. Artichoke dip is always a crowd pleaser and be ready in two hours. Pineapple Swedish meatballs are also a summer favorite. You can also make your rendezvous a potluck and ask everyone to bring a dish, or order a couple of pizzas if you’re really in a pinch.
Drink, Drank, Drunk
Ok, let’s be honest…you’re going to a need a few libations to liven up the party! A healthy balance of different options will be necessary for your guests to beat the heat, and we recommend a mix of cocktails, mocktails, and plenty of water. Lucky for you, we’ve already rounded up a few our favorite tropical drink recipes, which you can find here.
Crank the Tunes
It’s always a great idea to add another dimension to your get-together by playing some of your favorite tunes. A carefully curated playlist of songs will help set the mood and keep the event moving in the right direction. Our go-to is employing the help of music streaming services like Spotify or Pandora. You can blast your own jams if you feel like being DJ, or simply choose a premade playlist or station – just hit play and let the good times roll!