Easy Summer Outdoor Entertaining

So you’ve decided you want to do some outdoor entertaining!

The first rule to successful entertaining whether it’s outdoors or indoors is to let go of the idea everything must be perfect!  If you follow this one tip it will help you relax and enjoy your guests so much more!

Here are my eight tips for success:

ONE: A few fresh flowers and candles set all around the entertaining area will set that relaxed ambiance.  If you are able add a few twinkling white fairy lights through the trees or on a patio cover, that always makes the area looks great.

Easy Summer Outdoor Entertaining

TWO: Have a drink station outside with a few different appetizers so the guests can grab their own drinks and appetizers while you are greeting the arriving guests.  It’s also nice to have bottled waters and sodas for your friends who don’t drink or the DD.

THREE: Choose a menu that can be made ahead like this one and this one.  And what ever you do don’t make a recipe for the first time when guests are coming over, that usually does not end very well!

Easy Summer Outdoor Entertaining

FOUR: Buy your dessert, unless you are a pastry chef.  This one detail takes a little stress off you or if you have a fire pit s’mores always make a great dessert with little fuss.

FIVE: Provide a coffee and/or hot chocolate nightcap.  Brew some coffee and/or hot chocolate and provide liqueurs (Amaretto, Frangelico, and Baileys), flavored creams and toppers for the hot chocolate.

SIX: Make sure you have soft music playing in the background or if you have a record player encourage your friends to bring some of their albums to play.  It’s fun to see the different genre of music everyone listens to.

SEVEN: Have a few games like corn hole or ringtoss.

EIGHT: Keep it simple and enjoy the company you have invited over instead of running around to make everything perfect!

The best memories are the ones remembered with laughter!


  1. Robin Follette says:

    We’re having a big get together at our house in September. I’m going to spend the day before doing a lot of cooking. I’ll have the main meals slow cooking on the fire when guests arrive. I am most definitely not a pastry chef so when friends asked what they can bring, I tapped the three best dessert makers to bring specific things. Not having to think about dessert makes the day that much more fun for me. Great tip!

  2. Danielle Greco says:

    Love this post! The appetizers you did are adorable! I love bite size caprese! Yumm! Also, smores is always a good idea haha but I’m biased because I love them! Great post!

    Danielle Greco

  3. Tatanisha Pitts-Worthey says:

    We all aim for a perfect party or get together but that would never fail to stress me out! After running around all day of trying to make everything perfect, we end up exhausted during the actual party. These are great tips I could definitely use for my next get together!

  4. Emily Freeman says:

    Oh I love these ideas! I always think flowers or foliage can make or break a table setting. Love how you emphasize to keep things simple. It is, after all, about the experience of hosting and having fun with all those you love at the end of the day, right?!

  5. Melissa says:

    I love summertime entertaining! Your colorful fruit salad look so refreshing. Having outdoor games to play is a must when it comes to our parties as well. Its so much fun to watch or play.

  6. Megan Elford says:

    I like the idea of making gatherings easy and laidback. People can get stressed and worried about making everything absolutely perfect, and then they end up to stressed to actually enjoy their guests. I love your ideas for making the evening enjoyable for not just the guests, but the hosts too!

  7. Kari says:

    So much fun! I always have the problem of getting people to show up. One day, I would love to have a successful party with the techniques you mentioned. Thanks! keepitsimplediy.blogspot.com

  8. Amanda says:

    All of your tips are absolutely spot on. I can’t have a party without fresh flowers, candles, and music. Love your idea of having a coffee with after dinner drinks…typically we just have beer and wine but it is time for us to finally act like grown ups. Thanks for the great ideas!

  9. Vera Sweeney says:

    These are great tips! I love to hold outdoor events with our friends and family, the fresh flowers always add and amazing touch. We also always have to have a ton of desserts for every one to enjoy.

  10. Ourfamilyworld says:

    These are wonderful tips. I have to agree with you about not making a recipe for the first time when guests are coming over. It’s always best to try them first, so you will have an idea if it’s yummy or not.

  11. Reginia Cordell says:

    Fresh flowers and candles are perfect touches to creating an inviting outdoor setting. During the fall, I love grilling outside with soft music in the back and enjoying the gorgeous sunsets here.

    PS. I always buy dessert because anything else would be a disaster.

  12. JoAnna says:

    Great tips! I’m always throwing summer parties at my lakehouse, so I totally agree with a lot of these – especially the one about not trying a recipe for the first time with your guests! What a disaster. I really liked your idea about encouraging your friends to bring records of their own. I always have my record player going, and never thought to consider letting other people play DJ! hehe. I also completely agree with your last point about not fretting too much over the guests. This will allieviate sooooo much unnecessary stress. If everybody is adults, they can take care and find ways to entertain themselves! I think the best host is the host that is laid back, not constantly hovering over everybody making sure they’re having a good time. Anyways, these are really great tips!

  13. Geanine says:

    Great Tips! I am slowly learning to make things as simple as possible. Another great tip is to plan, I now do a little bit everyday leading up to a big event. Normal entertaining for us is parties of 40, and we do all the cooking, and baking ourselves. It can get hectic, thank you for the tips again.

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