Kiki Interiors - Decor and Staging

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Great Ideas For Summer Parties

Sadly, there is only about 6 more weeks of summer ...so why not plan the perfect summer bash now to celebrate the end of season with friends and family?  BBQ don't have to be just hot dogs and burgers on the grill - get creative!  There are so many fun theme and food ideas to try outdoors.

Start with a great theme.  some great and easy ones to try are - a backyard luau, country style or a Mediterranean feast.  Before you pick your theme think about the food you'd like to serve and go from there!

The invitation.  Find a fun printed paper that works with your theme and if you are making this a child friendly event why not have your children make invites for the children that are invited.  Send out your invites about 3 weeks prior to the party - the summer is busy and if you want a good turn out give people enough notice (the norm is 2 weeks)

Decor.  This really sets the scene!  But it doesn't have to be tacky or cost a fortune.  check out craft stores and even dollar stores for materials to use.  For a luau, use glass shirts for the edging of the table, use bright colour napkins, tiki torches (which you may already have), use some tropical fruit for the table decor.  For a country theme, keep it more rustic - sunflowers, mason jar with votive candles and some hints of gingham in fresh colours like white and blue or white and yellow (you could even make you own table linens and just pop into a fabric store) and for that Mediterranean feel stick with a blue and white colour palette and keep it clean and simple.  and use the food in serving bowls as you decor - fresh herbs, olives, figs, almonds, cold and cured meats etc...if you already have white serving dishes use those.



Dress code? Outdoor entertaining can be tricky so make it clear in your invite how you'd like your guests to dress - for the Luau perhaps beach attire, for the Country BBQ keep it casual and for the Mediterranean feast you could ask guests to come in anything they feel relaxed in.  I wouldn't have a formal outdoor event unless it was a wedding or and engagement party.

Music.  Is a must!  Create your own play list according to the theme, age group of the guests and the overall mood of the evening.  Starting with some low key songs that move into something more energetic and fun and as the evening comes to a close make the tuns mellow again. 

What about the kids? So if this is a child friendly event have something for the kids to do and an area for them to hang out in.  Beach balls, sand box, crafts, a movie station, bean bags, a tent are all good and very easy ideas to keep the kids entertained.  Remember children often eat dinner early and can be very cranky when hungry some have dinner ready for them earlier or have some munchies for them to dig into right away.

Drinks.  when my husband and I host (which is something we love to do)  we have started serving a signature drink that works with the theme.  There are tons of ideas on the Internet.  At a Luau, have a great tropical punch (let people know there is alcohol in it!)  For the Country BBQ - how about spiked (that would be vodka) Homemade Lemonade - so easy to make and make it the day before (or at least 4 hours before the party).  It's easy and delicious!!  For the Mediterranean feast, wine is really best but you could start with spritzers all you need is some sparkling water, white wine and a slice of lemon.

Food.  You should already have a great meal menu in mind since you have your theme already.  But always keep it simple - Luau - think chicken, pork, fish, pineapple, mango, rice etc...easy food with a pan-Asian flare.  for the Country BBQ - you can go even simpler with hot dogs, hamburgers, maybe steak and sausages and lots of different salads for dessert nothing says summer like berries and ice cream.  The Mediterranean feast is a bit more involved but I'd serve it family style - kebabs, pasta with shellfish, lots of olives, tomatoes, zucchini, cheeses, etc...and a simple fruit plate for dessert peaches and watermelon are easy and in season too.

Party set up.  Don't have your bar and food too close together if you can.  Otherwise it will be really squishy and your guests and that's when accidents happen like broken dishes, glasses, spilt food etc...



Countdown to the perfect summer party.
4 weeks out: get your decor
3 weeks out: send out your invites
2 weeks out: get the outdoor essential like bug spray, citronella, torches etc...
1 week out: order any special items (they need delivery time) and buy your non-perishable items
2 days out: shop for the other grocery items
1 day out: pick up any special orders, pre-cook anything that can be pre-cooked or prepared (and chilled), prepare your sauces
Morning of: set the tables leaving out any perishable items that are a part of the decor, chill wine, arrange flowers
7 hours out: prep your salads
5 hours out: get your meat dishes ready (not cooking)
2 hours out: get your signature drinks ready (unless you are doing a sweet tea or lemonade it need about 4 hours minimum)
1 hour out: get your apps ready, light torches
15 minutes out: set out your appetizers (any hot apps should come out in about 20 minutes), light your candles, start the music
Party time: toss your salad and start greeting guests


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