Episode 77: It's Getting Hot In Here: Hosting A Summer Soirée
Just because July 4th has come and gone doesn't mean summer bbq's are a thing of the past. There's still plenty more time to perfect the art of the summer soirée and we're here to help! This week we're solving common problems associated with summer get togethers so you can turn up the heat of your party without turning up the heat of your stress level.
- Problem: You don't feel like you can balance presentation and utility.
- Solution: Serve silverware pre wrapped in a napkin in a wooden bottle crate to reduce the amount of times your guests have to reach out and grab something going through the buffet line. And use melamine plates. They're studier than paper plates, they allow you to be trendy without replacing all of your dishes, they reduce waste, and you don't have to worry about someone ruining the night by dropping and breaking a dish.
- Problem: It's hotter than hades.
- Solution: Give your guests a place to find respite from the heat. Whether that's allowing them to go inside or designating a place in the shade that's not isolated from the other activities, or offering fans and cold water bottles. However you choose to do it, don't make your guests suffer for hours on end in the heat. That's just rude.
- Problem: You don't know what to do with your guests and/or their kids.
- Solution: Build your own giant Jenga, have corn hole boards, or provide volleyballs/footballs around the yard. Or turn on a sporting event in the background that your guests can watch if they want, but not one that will too distracting where people won't socialize.
- Problem: Bugs.
- Solution: Serve food in glass jars with lids to keep the bugs out of food. Or buy shower caps and stretch them over the bowls until just before it's time to eat. For drinks, poke a hole in cupcake liners and turn them upside down as a bug protector, plus you can get cute fun cupcake liners and straws. Make sure you have a bug spray station set up somewhere where your guests can lather up and not get eaten alive (bonus points for adding sunscreen). And don't forget to have those citronella candles going.
- Problem: You don't know how to incorporate summer vibes into your party.
- Solution: Add color wherever you can. Think bright and fun and happy. Make your own cactus planters or fill colorful old cans with wildflowers. (Pro tip: if you're following this how-to, before adding the plants and soil, poke holes in the bottom of the cans by hammering a few nail holes to allow for drainage.) Have fringed crepe paper for a fun photo backdrop. Invest in bright melamine plates or patterned napkins. There are lots of ways to brighten up your party for not a lot of money.
- Problem: Your serving line gets backed up and grabbing food can be hella gross.
- Solution: Make food easy to grab and go by putting popsicle sticks in slices of watermelon. Serve kabobs to reduce all the guests having to touch every piece of food. Pre place hot dogs or hamburgers inside the buns so it's just one item to grab. The options are endless.
- Problem: The days are longer, so your party is going later, so you need mood lighting.
- Solution: String some Christmas lights from your trees or on your patio. Light some tea lights in mason jars on the tables. Get those tiki torches going. Fill balloons with glow sticks so kids can keep playing throughout the night. Start a bonfire. Lighting has such a direct effect on the mood of your event, don't let that change just because the sun goes down.
- Problem: You want to offer your guests stylish hydration options.
- Solution: Serve popsicles in a wine glass with champagne and you have a poptail. Or freeze pieces of fruit in water in ice trays to spice up non alcoholic drinks. Topo Chico or Mexican sodas are another fun way to offer your guests options they might not have every day. However you choose to do it, just make sure to have options. You don't have to go crazy and you can't please everyone, but be considerate of your guests and don't assume everyone will want an alcoholic beverage or super sugary drink. And don't make those other options feel like an after thought- if you're creating a cocktail, create an equally as thoughtful mocktail.