Summer Set-Up

3 Elegant Ways to Impress at Your Next Soiree

Summer is a season when you often find yourself entertaining guests at a moment’s notice. (Sunny weather is always cause for celebration, if you ask us.) So. having everything on-hand is key: dishes, flatware, glassware, linens, seating, and serving staples.

But number one on your to-do list? Host the most memorable soirées of the season.

In this guide, we provide the ultimate hostess plan start to finish, starting with cocktails at the bar cart to snacking self-serve style and, lastly, lounging at the dining table for an effortlessly elegant meal. Here are some great party-planning secrets for effortless fun—because it’s summer and the living is easy (and so should entertaining).

The Bar Cart

For adult gatherings, the party starts with a signature cocktail or wine that complements the meal. Whether it’s a light white wine to compliment the fish or something bubbly to welcome and toast guests, have something special selected for the gathering. Whether your drink of choice is wine, whiskey, or a punchy sangria, there are so many options to make a memorable impression. Need Ideas for a signature cocktail?  Check out these Bucket List Cocktails HERE. You can always opt for her summertime go-to: Popsicle drinks! Ice cold and refreshing, fun to eat, and incredibly Instagram friendly! 

The Server Table

Summertime offers such a colorful bounty of stone fruit, garden vegetables, and berries. Let the menu double as décor: Look for the freshest ingredients, prepare easy no-cook appetizers, and collect serveware pieces—tiered stands, hand-carved bowls, gilded salad cutlery—that make everything display-worthy. (Who doesn’t love an edible centerpiece?)

A cheese board loaded with Snap Peas beans, red peppers, stuffed olives, and fruit is always a hit. Enjoy a little apple or pear slice on top of a bit of cheese to add a hint of sweetness!

The Dining Table

Enter the pivotal moment of the party: where guests are seated, appetites are indulged, and the real memories are made. This time is fleeting so set yourselves up for chilling and chatting: You can opt for low seating around a table with tufted seat cushions and breezy, lightweight throws. This keeps the affair cool and casual. Also, beautiful umbrellas for shade and décor.

On the table itself, and especially when dining al fresco, choose dinnerware that will withstand the elements. Melamine plates make a durable and stylish choice. A cake stand at the center of the table adds a dimension of height and can display all manner of things: a bundle of vases or votives, condiments and spices, or a scrumptious summery dessert.

Don’t neglect the smaller details. Include gold flatware and linen napkins. This type of tonal on-trend flatware works beyond the summer season (“all year round!”) and your napkin is a great way to add color or personality to the display.