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Summer Entertaining Ideas

OK, I know it’s hot, but summer parties are meant to be outdoors so rub on some sunscreen, grab a bag of ice and get outside! Sure, you’ll likely serve up the standard BBQ fare like burgers, wings and hot dogs, have a beach ball or two in the pool, but you can make it a party to remember by adding a few simple elements. The stylist in me had me going a little overboard with the DIY and decor. Here’s my summer entertaining ideas for the great outdoors.

Outdoor Summer Party

Summer Entertaining Ideas

Style Expert Alison Deyette

Food & Drink

Create a “lemonade stand” with multiple drink dispensers; each with a different drink. Offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks just in case there’s kiddies attending the party. Serve up your concoctions in mason jars with colorful striped straws for drinking. Give drinks a snazzy look by adding frozen berries or melon balls instead of lots of ice. Or use cupcake tins to fill with water and slices of lemon or lime to make fruit filled ice cubes. The drink will look prettier and add flavor without watering it down. You can find a variety of drink dispensers and mason jar drinking glasses at Cost Plus World Market and Bed, Bath and Beyond.

large drink dispensers

Mason jar drinks

Here’s three of my favorite super simple summer cocktails from Pinnacle Vodka:

Pinnacle Vodka Cocktail     Pinnacle Vodka Ruby Red Cocktail

Pinnacle® Pool Party Punch
1 part Pinnacle® Original Vodka
2 parts Lemonade
Splash of DeKuyper Blue Curacao
Mix ingredients and serve over ice

Pinnacle® Raspberry Lemonade
1 parts Pinnacle® Raspberry Vodka
2 parts Lemonade
Mix ingredients and serve over ice
Garnish with a lemon wheel or raspberries

Pinnacle® Ruby Sunset

1 Part Pinnacle® Ruby Red Grapefruit Vodka

2 Parts Lemon Lime Soda

Splash of Cranberry Juice

Garnish with a Lime Wedge

Offer options for the grill from steaks to burgers to even bratwurst. You can order a “Freedom at the Grill” package from Omaha Steaks (now $77) to feed all your friends.

While you’re at it, order the cherry pies too for $15. Yum!

Omaha Steaks Burgers     Omaha Steaks bratwurst     omaha steaks cherry pie

Serve gourmet chips or popcorn without the need of a fancy caterer. Warm up the chips in the oven, pop the popcorn and toss with various seasonings like rosemary or paprika and serve them in brown paper bags. Cut the tops off the bags, fold over, fill with the savory snacks and tie some colored twine around the bags. It’s easy for guests to walk around with them in hand and toss when they’re done.

Opt for flowers in mini pots for added décor rather than the expense of cut flowers. You can give your guests the mini pots as gifts to take home and re-plant or you can add them to your garden after the party.

Or use colorful summer vegetables as your centerpieces. Fill vibrant veggies like mini tomatoes, carrots, radishes, green beans in pretty bowls, jars and vases of varying heights.

Make one or two spots the main areas for food and drink whether it be turning your potting table or picnic table into a buffet set up and decorating it with a colorful outdoor tablecloth or brown kraft paper that you decorate with markers or even crayons. Or try adding a strip of wrapping paper down the center like a table runner.

Light Up The Night

Minted banner decor

When the sun goes down you need good lighting to keep the party going. String white holiday lights, if you don’t want to buy new lights, across fences or patios and in trees, add outdoor lanterns and even candles. Otherwise, try stars or vintage looking glass bulbs you can pick up from places like Bed, Bath and Beyond and WorldMarket.com. Add extra decor with party artwork from Minted.com

star outdoor lighting     outdoor string lights

Let the Games Begin

Small talk can get tedious real fast. A good time in my book include games. And when outside they include games both adults and kids can enjoy. Or just adults acting like children.

Create your own mini-Olympics. Draw names randomly to set up teams.

Want to go the extra mile? Give participants bandanas to signify their teams.  You can find then online for about $1 a pop.

Games don’t have to be fancy or require a big set up to be a success:

croquet set     water balloons

– A colorful croquet set can be set up in under five minutes.

– Bean bag toss

-Inflatable dart board set

Guests go through various games to get points.

If you don’t have some of the equipment then revert back to the games you played during recess like red light/blue light and tag and have relay races with leap frog, crab walk, one legged hop, and even a water balloon toss.

Memory Maker

Don’t forget to capture the memories. Create your own photo booth. You don’t need to hire anybody. Instead create a backdrop with something as simple as a large bed sheet or brown kraft paper which is super cheap and draw polka dots or write your guests names on it. Offer your friends props like silly sunglasses. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share.

If you have any shy friends, opt to do something that I call a Cocktail Selfie, which is just fun a picture of your drink. Offer some fun arm candy and garnishes and snap away. Take photos on each other’s cellphones and share with the hashtag #CocktailSelfie.

Final Tip

hangover relief

Have a bucket or a beach bag nearby with sunscreen, bug spray and even a few small shot bottles of First Aid Shot Therapy (F.A.S.T.) for your guests to avoid a sunburn, a bite and a hangover or headache.

Style Expert Alison Deyette knows how to throw a party and she shares her ideas on TV, in web series and on her site. Here’s her ideas for throwing an awesome girls night poker party.

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