Category: Entertaining

Although summer is winding down, we still have plenty of time to throw together a last-minute party.

Do you feel like you don’t have a lot of time?

Consider ordering the food. This also gives you the time to relax with your company. If you want to cook, focus on the main course and fake the rest. Someone came in just last week; ordered beef tenderloin, seasoned and slightly pre-cooked; and said she was going to re-heat it. She then ordered her shrimp platter, crab cakes and twice-baked potatoes to accompany her meal. As her veggie choice, she selected our Grilled and Chilled vegetable platter–a #1 hit of the season. She was intending to set it out early–as part of her appetizers–while her company enjoyed time on the lake.

Are you worried about your budget?

Consider the timing of the party. A brunch lends itself to less-expensive ingredients (eggs, fruit and breakfast breads). Or how about cocktails and hors d’oeuvres? In my experience, folks don’t expect as much food when it’s presented this way. Plan the timing of this event just a little later in the evening, after the dinner hour. Your guests might grab a light bite of food at home before coming to the party.

Do you feel like you are short on space?

With a backyard, you can create space to accommodate a fun gathering. Lure your company outside with tubs of ice and drinks, or even a complete bar. You can bring appetizers out and set them out on a brightly decorated table. Picture a small tent or shady area, with a round table of sorts; it will be welcoming from any direction of the yard. When it comes to comfort, set out lawn chairs, blankets or even beach towels as a fun option when your seating is limited. Remember to stock your space with party essentials like plates, cups, and silverware. A basket with sunscreen and bug repellent is good for any part of the day. A few sweatshirts, light jackets or light blankets can help the party last into the evening hours.

Do you feel like you want a creative idea?

Here are some fun, unique ideas to set your night apart from the rest:

  • How about an adult pinata night? Grab a themed pinata, fill it with candies of the past, and let the adults have some fun. Who wouldn’t want to take a whack at something and not cause trouble for himself? After a stressful week, this can be a great way to unwind.
  • Having an adult BBQ? How about some fun ice cubes? Fill an ice tray with water and drop fresh raspberries, blueberries, limes, oranges or any seasonal fruit in before freezing it. These fruity ice cubes make a great addition to cocktails, fresh lemonade, and iced tea.
  • How about adding a little salt to your sweet table? Set up a popcorn bar along with your candy table. Fill a variety of apothecary jars with different flavors of homemade or store-bought popcorn. Set some small bags near the jars, and allow your friends to fill them up to take home.
  • How about an old-fashioned movie under the stars? Using a computer and a projector screen, show a movie on your garage door and invite the neighbors over. Have them bring their own lawn chairs. You can even create a popcorn bar (from the above suggestion) to enjoy at the movies.

Do you feel like throwing a party? Go for it! I would love to hear your ideas! If you used any of these ideas while planning that last-minute party for the summer of 2013, be sure to share the details as well!

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