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Tips for summer entertaining

outdoor party and BBQ with friends


The sun is shining, so clean your backyard and gear up for outdoor gatherings — it’s time to begin hosting summer parties!


Before you start planning, go through this list of essentials for outdoor entertaining to make your summer party game sizzle.


Best outdoor party supplies to get.

It’s safe to say the main theme for all your summer parties will be barbecues. Add some key BBQ-related accessories, like the ones we suggest below, for a memorable summer party experience.


Everyone has a BBQ grill, but a combination outdoor oven and grill opens your summer party menu possibilities, which kicks off our list.


Summer party menu ideas.

The menu can be elaborate or you could go for easy and light summer recipes. Keeping it simple will give you more time to talk and mingle with guests.


Kebabs, steaks, and most meat items need to be marinated, but veggies, fish, pizzas, sausages, and pre-made burger patties don’t need a lot of work. Choose a mix of items so everyone is pleased.


Set up an outdoor bar.

A backyard cookout is incomplete without refreshing summer drinks. When it’s warm outside, no one wants to duck indoors for drinks. A mini bar gives guests the ability to mix fresh drinks as the meat sizzles on the grill. You and your friends can sip on sangrias or another drink of choice as you wait for the cooking to finish.


Ice buckets for the outdoor mini bar.

Drinks are best served cold, so an ice bucket add-on with the barbecue section is a must for party lovers. Plan and save some ice in your freezer a few days before the gathering to avoid mid-party ice runs.


An outdoor drink dispenser.

Give guests the independence of deciding their own drinks by placing drink dispensers at the bar. Use a carafe or a pitcher for a stylish touch. Having drink dispensers outdoors is especially useful if you’re hosting a poolside party.


Summer party tumblers.

Tumblers are great next to the drink dispenser, and they are also great summer table settings. For the sunshine season, we recommend bright and funky colours that add a splash to other outdoor party decorations.


banana raspberry ice pops


Ice pop stand for kids — and adults.

You can’t go wrong with this item on your outdoor entertainment checklist. Everybody wants to have an icy treat to stay cool at summer parties. Make it fun for kids by using DIY ice pop containers. Use smaller sized molds to create flavoured iced cubes for adult drinks.


Sustainable party tableware.

If you host a lot of outdoor parties during summer, you might want to use proper silverware that can be washed and re-used. But if you’re considering something you want to use only once, think about buying compostable utensils to be gentle on the environment.


Dinnerware and serving platters.

Buying sustainable and reusable dinnerware that’s dedicated for outdoor use during party season is a good idea. Sleek and classy wooden serving platters complement ceramic plates and bowls and are handy for charcuteries or serving food hot off the grill.


A portable food cart can be your best friend when people are spread out in the backyard. Buy mesh dish covers to keep those pesky seasonal bugs out of the food.


Fiber placemats.

Fiber placemats extend the dining table’s life and enrich outdoor party decor. For longevity, spot clean mats when the party is over.


Any kind of natural fiber is the perfect summer party decoration material that goes well with all glassware or flatware.


Linen tablecloth.

If you have a precious wooden table, show it some TLC with a linen tablecloth as another layer of protection. It looks good for any party theme, and you can pop it into the washer after it’s been used. Choose a white embossed one for summer day parties and colourful, printed ones for cooler evening gatherings.


Outdoor games and activities.

This summer, guests are expecting good recreation options at parties. We’ve got some top summer entertaining ideas you can consider. Go all out and buy a ping pong table, or have a lawn chess board installed, or get a backyard driving range. If you are seeking outdoor entertaining on a budget, buy some corn hole equipment.


But if gaming isn’t your deal, an outdoor movie theatre is the answer to bringing everyone together.


At the very least, high-quality Bluetooth speakers are the perfect investment for parties to come. Start creating a magical summer party list over winter so you’re ready to go when it’s time to have fun.


outdoor fire pit


Add a luxury fire pit.

An outdoor fire pit can be a gathering point for guests. They can cozy up to the fire with a glass of wine or warm their hands to it while watching a movie on your outdoor theatre system. If you’re handy, you can build your own fireplace. If not, buy a portable version. You’ll earn brownie points with guests if your cottage fire pit is close to the water.


Set up an inflatable mini pool.

No room for an in-ground pool? No worries! Inflatable pools are back in style, and they come in all sizes. You can set them up in any spot in the backyard, even if you have limited space. It’s the perfect entertainment for the entire family.


Have a supply of natural bug repellants handy.

Bugs can be a bit of a spoiler when it comes to outdoor parties. You can keep them at bay by using natural remedies, such as citronella candles. They can be quite stylish and a far cry from any camping bug repellant you may use.


Candles are not only fashionable, but they also have a calming effect overall. If citronella is not your scent, you can try lavender to repel mosquitoes. Another candle bug-repelling combo is palm oil and paraffin that has a long burn time and a peaceful aroma.


If you’re not a candle user, you might have to resort to bug spray. Look for one that’s safe for kids to use is Deet-free and made with natural elements that are effective repellants.


Seating arrangements for outdoor entertainment.

If you have an outdoor space that can support a hanging chair, then you had better get one. It is guaranteed to be the most sought after one by your guests. Make sure you have a variety of seating to cater for all your other guests.


For example, you could create a sitting spot in a corner with sling chairs, a rug, and some outdoor throw pillows. If you want to be traditional about seating, a five-piece set will be the perfect resting place when socializing this summer.


To increase gathering spots, buy lightweight, multi-layered picnic blankets that are wear- and water-resistant and comfortable for guests or yourself to relax on.


If you don’t have a fire pit, throwing blankets are the answer to when your guests get chilly later at night. Blankets are also great for protecting from buzzing mosquitos when lounging on or next to the grass.


If you have a large backyard with lots of trees, or ample patio space, a hammock is an essential addition to the seating arrangement. The soothing, rocking motion of the swing is the perfect place for a summer nap. Hammocks are also great if one of your guests wants to quietly re-energize before the party begins.


outdoor party at night with hanging lights


Outdoor lighting for evening entertainment.

This is one part of your summer party scene that can really turn the tide on your gathering. Lighting can help create the perfect ambience for all sorts of summer party themes.


Handwoven iron and rattan lanterns are obvious picks for setting a soft tone for summer hosting. Place a few by the pool or hang them over the dining table to illuminate the meal. Careful though, light will attract bugs and insects, which love diving into the food. This is when your mesh food covers should be handy.


If you want to keep a romantic ambience over dinner, string lights are the best option. They’re another convenient and classy way of lighting up the backyard for that magical quality to your summer soiree. The best thing about these lights is that they provide a festive element all year round. You can leave them installed no matter what the season and just switch out a strand when bulbs burn out.


Other ways of making your summer party a hit.

There are endless possibilities when it comes to celebrating summer with your friends and family. You can add to party preps from the list above as you please, but here are some more tricks and tips to remember.


If you’re inviting a close group of friends over, arrange some small summer party favours to give them as they leave. Remember to always organize games and entertainment for kids of all ages. And don’t forget to make a trip to the mall to buy some cool, light summer party clothes for yourself and the family.

Dan Boyer at 9:00 AM
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