How To Throw A Perfect Summer Beach Party or Barbecue!

Do you love to throw parties? I do! I get so excited about planning the menu, decorations and guest list. Then during the party, I love to see everything decorated beautifully and everyone having a great time. Entertaining should be fun, not stressful. With the right planning and some savvy party tips, you will be well on your way to having great bash in no time!

The first step is to decide when and where. There is something luxurious about looking forward to a great party. This will set the tone for the type of party and guests will know what to expect. A starting time is sufficient but if you want guest to leave by a certain time add and ending time. The key to a great gathering is organization, so here is a list of everything you will need to create a welcoming environment, whether it’s a beach party, elegant dinner, special occasion, birthday, or summer barbecue.

  • The Invitations– They set the tone for the type of celebration, and get everyone excited to have a good time. It can be a simple as a phone call or a beautifully printed card depending on the occasion. Think about the type of party you want to have. For fancier parties try engraved invitations, but for more casual dinner parties with close friends, a personalized card is ideal. Remember to send invitations in advance.
  • The Menu – Planning is key, and food is the star. Whether you are serving simple hors-d’oeuvres or an elaborate meal, you can always supplement the menu with a few store bought items to save time. Consider local, fresh, seasonal ingredients. Next decide how your guests will eat, either at the table of serve themselves buffet style. If having a beach party be sure to keep menu items light and opt for low maintenance foods that keep well on ice. If you are having an elegant dinner party and aren’t a great cook, cheat! Order some delicious take out and keep it warm in the oven, then serve it in your own pretty dishes. You can also have the party catered depending on your budget. The point is for everyone to have a great time, not critique your cooking skills!
  • Cocktails and Drinks- For smaller gatherings and dinner parties you can set up a separate table of bar ware, glasses, and alcohol for guests to serve themselves saving you time and keeping them busy. Stock a variety of chilled wines, seltzer, colas, vodka, tequila, bourbon, rum, beer, fruit juices and fresh fruit slices and garnishments of your choice. I also love those tiny little drink umbrellas!
  • Prepare Ahead of Time- The cheese plates, snacks, and desserts can be prepared, wrapped and stored in the refrigerator the day before. Be sure to set the table with pretty linens, glassware, silverware and dishes, and napkins. This can also be done the night before for peace of mind. Remember to decide where your guests will sit and arrange the seating accordingly. Add a bouquet of fresh flowers as the centerpiece to create elegance. Hire extra help if needed to help with serving food and drinks. They can also help clean-up after the party.
  • The Decor- The way you decorate your home depends on the size and mood of the party. Decorations can range from simple and understated to outrageous and over the top. There are four main elements you’ll need to thing about and that is lighting, furniture placement, music and flowers. Keep it simple by re-arranging furniture to create more open space and borrow extra chairs and tables if needed. For extra lighting add scented or votive candles away from food, plants, books, or fabric. Music should be playlist should be customized to blend with different genres and genders. Flowers should be placed in chic vases, also try fresh herbs, fruit, greenery, branches and berries which also make lovely centerpieces.
  • The Barbecue- Summertime is always a great time to fire up the grill, especially on a nice day, you won’t be stuck inside cooking. Meats can be marinated and prepped the night before and so can chicken and vegetable skewers. Shrimp and seafood cook quickly which leaves you more time to enjoy the party.

As the hostess remember to dress the part and be sure to stand out in the spotlight. Try a pop of color or wear and outfit that’s striking and glamorous, after all you put in all of the hard work to plan the party, so go ahead and show off. Be sure to dress comfortable yet flattering and have fun with accessories. Remember to take care of your guests and be a gracious host, but most importantly have a great time!