(Family Features)–Summer brings plenty of opportunities to enjoy time outdoors entertaining family and friends. The key to a successful summer party is simplicity: keep things easy so you can enjoy the festivities right along with your guests.
Make this season’s barbecues, picnics and family gatherings events to remember with these simple summer entertaining tips:
Rather than firing up the oven and heating up the entire house during steamy summer days, turn to outdoor cooking methods like grilling. Be sure to plan ahead with sturdy tableware that stands up to barbecued meats and other robust items fresh off the grill. Also remember that the grill isn’t just for main courses; you can use it to prepare any number of side items, like skewers of garden fresh veggies.
Keep it comfy
With everybody outside, it’s important to keep comfort in mind. If you have access to electricity, you might consider an oscillating fan, which can stir up a cool breeze. Additionally, the air movement can help deter flies and other pests that can quickly ruin guests’ appetites. Provide ample seating options, including patio furniture, pillows and even blankets on the lawn. Also ensure there are spaces for guests to cool off, whether that’s under a shade tree or a portable canopy or umbrella.
Provide sturdy tableware
Some popular cookout foods can be a greasy nightmare without the right tableware to keep the mess to a minimum. Upgrade your outdoor dining experience with tableware like premium-strength plates, platters and napkins so you don’t have to worry about spills and leaks. They also make for easy cleanup when the party comes to a close.
Prepare seasonal sides
Let the grilled fare serve as the star of the show and keep the side dishes simple. Fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables, and staples like potato or pasta salads and coleslaw, make for a well-rounded meal without a lot of fuss. Also opt on the lighter side for dessert. Fresh berries over ice cream or a simple white cake can be a hit.
Keep the entertainment alive after sundown by going the extra mile with decorative lighting. Strings of lights in fun shapes or colors can add some vibrant light to seating areas. A fire pit is also an option for adding some ambient light and even a little warmth when the sun goes down and the temperature begins to drop.