If there is one thing about hosting the perfect summer gathering, it's trying to keep it stress-free. If you've been the host of any type of get-together, then you are probably already familiar with everything that goes into it. Use our tips below to keep your summer gathering easy and special.
5 Tips for Hosting the Perfect Summer Gathering
Whether you're bringing people together for a special occasion or to simply wind down from the fast-pace nature of life, a summer gathering is the perfect way to do it. As you begin planning your party, keep these things in mind.
Be sensitive to your guests' schedules.
In most cases, summertime doesn't necessarily mean a lighter calendar. In fact, these can be some of the busiest seasons for families. Between vacations, family reunions, sports games, and so on - you'll want to give your guests plenty of time to put your gathering on their calendar. Whether you plan to invite via mailed invitation, evite, or word of mouth, make sure there is a sufficient amount of time between the notification and gathering day. Casual gatherings typically need a week or more notice, while more classy gatherings should be announced three weeks or more in advance.
If you'd like to keep an eye on attendance, be sure to include an RSVP note. This will come in handy as you navigate through the next several suggestions.
Prepare a simple menu.
The last thing you want to do is worry about the food. That's why the saying "less is more" is very applicable to this situation. Having lots of different food and beverage options can make gathering-day a bit stressful. The most important aspect to the menu is catering to any dietary needs of the guests. To get an idea of no-go foods, put a question in the invitation and encourage them to respond. It can be something as short as "please let us know of any dietary needs and/or restrictions."
Use your responses as a guide for creating a menu everyone will enjoy. Also, consider keeping drink selections to a minimum. You can't go wrong with offering bottles of water, lemonade, and/or tea. Depending on the type of gathering you are planning to have, you could consider having a potluck. This will alleviate the stress of providing all the food. Not to mention, you could put a slight twist on it and have a best dish contest.
Consider a theme.
We'll have a special post dedicated to summer party theme ideas, but for now just know that you can do just about anything. With summertime in mind, you could have one of the following themes as the main mood setter:
- Island (or luau)
- Backyard BBQ
If you plan to carry out a theme, be sure the look for decorations that can be reused in the future. This will cut back on future financial costs.
Make a list of things you need to purchase or rent.
Do you need to purchase (or rent) additional tables or chairs? Are there any other party elements you need? Will you be purchasing paper or plastic? There are also other options to consider such as bamboo or melamine. And don't forget about the decorations. Adding a chic cup holder (with a marker slot) with a matching utensil caddy and plate holder can make all the difference.
This is another area where asking others to pitch in and bring what they have can come in handy.
Get your home gathering ready.
Are there any interior or exterior projects that need to be completed in your home? Now is the time to make sure your home is ready to receive your guests for the perfect summer gathering. Also keep in mind the type of summer gathering you're having and if you need to "cater to comfort." This could be providing blankets, bug spray, hand sanitizer, and the like.
The overall goal to the perfect summer gathering is to have fun and be able to relax in the process. Beyond the theme, food, and activities, your guests will remember the hospitality and how you made them feel. Don't focus on the possibility of something going wrong, and instead have back-up plans for those just in case moments.
Regardless of why you're having a summer gathering, make the most of it. And most importantly, make LOTS of memories!
We'd love to hear from you! Do you like hosting summer gatherings? If so, tell us about your favorite one in the comments below!