Later sunsets, warmer nights & the smell of barbecue means that summer is officially here! Whether you have a big occasion to celebrate or just want to take advantage of these summer nights, entertaining has never been more appealing. We’re breaking down our favorite things to do: from the logistics of planning to the fun of partying so you can throw your own seamless summer soirée.

1) Set your guest list & send the invites! Be realistic in how many people you can comfortably fit in your home and the formality of the event. If you’re having a sit-down dinner to celebrate a friend’s promotion, cap the list at how many you can seat around your table! If you’re throwing a low-key neighborhood potluck, add some floor cushions and extend the invites!

2) Decide on a budget! Identifying how much you have to spend on the event early on in the planning process is crucial! Your budget will dictate what you serve and how you decorate!

3) Set your menu (make smart choices!) Now that you know how many people you’re serving and what you can spend, decide on your meal plan! Don’t get caught up in making four intensely detailed courses, or you won’t have any time to have fun during the party! Find a dessert you can make the night before, get a friend to bring a side, buy appetizers and focus on your main dish so you don’t go crazy!

4) Use the money left over in your budget to have fun and get festive with décor! Not all dinner parties require pulling out the good china! Don’t be afraid to use paper plates and napkins for an easy & efficient cleanup!

5) It’s always okay to say yes if someone asks if they can bring something! If you’re feeding 8 people and someone wants to bring wine or a side dish, let them!

6) Don’t wait until the day of the party to start cleaning your pad! Make small steps all week long towards being prepared, so by the time the big day rolls around, all you need to do is cook your dish. A good strategy is usually grocery shopping 3-4 days before, cleaning 3 days before, decorating and setting the table 2 days before, cooking and prepping the day before and then last minute touches the day of!

Now that we’ve covered some of the to-dos, let’s set the scene!

Fresh blooms: We love a good trip to the flower market downtown (documented here) but if your city doesn’t have something similar, don’t spend a fortune on a florist! Visit your local Trader Joe’s and arrange flowers yourself! Our go to bouquet often revolves around a simple white hydrangea (it goes with EVERYTHING!)
Placemat pads up the ante! Cleanup is swifter & easier and these colorful patterns add a pop to your table- plus you can personalize placemat pads for the occasion! We can’t get enough of Palms and as an added dimensional plus, we arranged a real palm leaf to mark each seat!

Set the mood with fun lighting. Outdoor string lights add a whimsical fairytale feel to any scene and transform the celebration!

Want to really go all in on the theme? Coordinate your acrylic tray insert to match! A fun way to stay on top of seasonal trends and holidays is to curate a collection of tray inserts so it’s like a new tray every day….or at least every party! Another plus is that the acrylic is easy to clean and wipe out after using!

Don’t forget about the wine! Weatherproof gift labels are the perfect size to fit over a bottle of wine. The perfect hostess gift – or an added touch to your event’s theme, these stylish labels upgrade the bubbly.

The most important is to keep it casual and reflect your personal style! Summer is all about embracing that casual carefree “school’s out!” feeling – even when you haven’t been in school for years- so plan your party accordingly! Paper plates & plastic utensils are always a good idea (especially if you’re out by the pool!)

Stay true to your aesthetic and never forget to have fun!

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