23 Tips to Throw An Awesome Summer Party
It’s prime outdoor party season!! Whether it’s a backyard BBQ, a poolside shindig, or a rooftop soirée, here are a few tips (23, to be exact) to help you throw an Awesome Summer Party!
Be My Guest:
1. Welcome everyone! Whenever possible, greet your guests at the door. Show them where the bar is and introduce them to at least one other guest. You set the tone and energy of the party.
2. Mix up the guest list. Invite people from different backgrounds, professions and personalities. A diverse guest list makes for fun mingling.
3. Internet Invite. I use Facebook invites. It's easy, allows you to type in emails if someone isn’t on Facebook (but who isn’t?) and lets you communicate updates and reminders easily. Just don’t start a group chat. Everyone hates that those.
4. Attire. Avoid someone showing up in an American Flag tank top by giving your guests a sense of the vibe. I told everyone it was going to be hot as hell, so dress accordingly, but the theme was “Summer Chic”. (It helps if you mention their photo may be taken and posted on social media…)
5. Keep it simple! The best parties are made by the company you invite, not the decorations you put up, so don’t stress over the details. You don’t have to be Martha Stewart to throw a party. Though, GOD, I would love to see her and Ina Garten show down for best Summer party.
6. Plan your party AFTER a holiday. If you throw your BBQ after the 4th of July, everything is 50% off! I found all kinds of Summer party stuff for crazy cheap (table runner, serving board, utensils and paper plates). Those colors aren't off limits after the 4th.
7. Stick to a color palette. I omitted the red from the Red, White and Blue scheme. Blue and white is always a chic combo. Throw in a few anchors and you’re ready to set sail (metaphorically speaking… or literally? Now THERE’s a Summer Party I want to attend).
8. Lighting is key! If you’re party goes past sunset, make sure there is enough light to see across the deck. Put out some tea lights, hurricane lanterns, or throw up a string of lights. Your party should be Instagram-ready at all times.
9. Don’t force your guests to play musical chairs. Ensure there are enough seats for everyone. If it’s super casual, throw down a blanket and a few pillows so people can lounge.
10. It’s a BBQ, not a club. Don’t blast your speakers. Your guests want to be able to hear one another without raising their voices. If you’re using one speaker, place it centrally and angle it at a wall. It will spread the sound out more evenly.
11. Pick your playlist. Most parties won’t last longer than 5 hours. If the playlist starts to repeat itself and someone notices, refer them to the bar and press the shuffle button.
12. The kitchen is open! Let your guests know when the grill will be fired up to avoid having to re-fire for latecomers. “Eli will be stoking the brats from 6 to 7! Grab em while they’re hot!” It also gives a window of when it’s appropriate to show up. No one want’s to be the first or the last at a party.
13. Simplify the choices. Like when you go to a diner and there’s a 15 page menu and you sit for 30 min trying to decide what to eat. Limit the choices for your guests with an edited menu. One or two proteins, and a few sides. It will cost less time, money and stress on everyone’s part. Mostly yours.
14. Soak your brats in beer! We boiled our bratwursts (before grilling them) in a super simple recipe: Heineken Light, onions, cracked red pepper, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Just remove the brats after 10 min and reduce the sauce and onions for a spicy and delicious topping. All of the #noms! The flavor of Heineken Light works perfectly with all types of meat, so feel free to throw other things on the grill too!
15. Get by with a little help from your friends. Encouraged the pot-luck lifestyle and ask everyone to bring something. We supplied brats, chips and some booze. Everything else was contributed. In my experience, most people like to contribute and you get a great range from pasta salad to key lime pie. Win win!
16. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere! The best kind of party is one with minimal cleanup. Opt for disposable tableware. I went with wooden utensils, not because I was thinking of climate change, but because they’re super cute (and 50% off). The only dishes left after the BBQ fit inside my ice bucket and we 'cleaned up' in under 2 min. Boom!
17. Don’t forget the dessert! We handed out fudge pops, ice cream sandwiches and popsicles. Again, easy cleanup!
18. BBQs and beer are a perfect match (Neil Patrick Harris agrees). We partnered with Heineken Light as our go-to beverage for the night. Everyone loved the crisp taste, it worked perfectly with the beer-soaked brats, and each bottle is only 99 calories. So if it’s a cheat day for you, you’re still golden. Though chips and ice cream sandwiches are definitely not carb friendly…
19. Always make a signature cocktail! This is our golden rule when throwing a party. Hosting a Tony Party? Name it after Audra McDonald. Hosting an evening rooftop party? Call it Sunset Sangria. Hosting a nautical themed party? Call it Captain’s Juice. The cute name always gets a smile. We pre-make ours in glass bottles and leave them on ice at the drink bar.
20. Self-service is key. This goes for food and drinks. You can’t entertain and enjoy your own party if you’re stuck at the grill or stuck behind a bar all night. (Hence the pre-made, bottled cocktails and bucket of Heineken Lights.) Get it yourself. ;P
21. Chemistry is your friend. Add a dose of table salt to your bucket of ice. The salt lowers the temperature of the mixture and your ice won't melt as quickly. It will help you last the party on fewer bags of ice!
22. On the topic of ice: make it clear what ice is for your cup and what ice is there to keep the bottles cold. I hate using ice in my glass when I know everyone at the party has touched it. Set a bag aside inside a cooler with a scoop and let everyone know.
And Most Important:
23. Put down your phone and enjoy the party!!
*This post is in collaboration with Heineken Light. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.