As with every season, the summer months put us all in the mood to be outside to enjoy the sunshine and warmth. Outdoor games, family gatherings, bbq's are what is best about summer. If you're in need of some fresh ideas or want to host something more than a family potluck, we have some ideas for you to elevate your party and impress your guests. And who doesn't want that?
images above from Little Upside Down Cake
Host a Destination Picnic
Backyard entertaining is fun but it's also incredibly common. Instead, consider bringing a meal and meeting friends at a new location. Possibly your local botanical gardens, near a lake or at the beach which can create a lot of excitement among your guests.
Ask some of your guests to bring specific elements, like glass bottles filled with lemonade, blankets, cloth napkins, dinner ware or utensils. Try food like open faced sandwiches, cold salads or a variety of smoked metas, cheese and fruits that won't require any cooking.
Create a Seafood Spread
Most ideal if you're having a smaller more intimate party and you know your guests all like seafood but having a themed meal, rather than potluck, is a way to elevate a party. This seafood boil also includes petite potatoes and sausage, creatively served on newsprint. A display like this isn't only practical and easy to share from but it's also a colorful and fragrant centerpiece.
Make a Suspended Floral arrangement
If your gathering is indoors, try one bold decorative piece rather than many small pieces of decor. Try using a screen, chicken wire or mesh that is lightweight but has small areas for pushing flower and leaf stems through. Dried flowers work particularly well as they are stiff and hold their shape however fresh flowers feel very summery and add a lot of color.
Many people use vessels for keeping flowers in on top of the table so this is one unexpected way to really wow your guests!
Provide a DIY meal
Rather than assemble all of the food before hand, provide your guests with all the components for a meal! You could set up all the ingredients for tacos from grilled meat and vegetables, salsas, and cheeses. You can also go for a more Nordic style cuisine and set up a table for guests to make their own smørrebrød, which are Danish opened faced sandwiches, typically on stiff rye bread.
Cheese, smoked fish or cold shrimp, boiled eggs, ham and herbs are classic toppings and allow your friends to customize their meal with all their favorite toppings.
image and recipe from Paper N' Stitch
Make a Summer Inspired Cocktail
Yum, summery, colorful, cocktails! This season provides so many interesting fruits and vegetables to create a custom cocktail for your guests. Try this mango pineapple version that's inspired by the caribbean and garnished with tropical flowers, orange peel and lime slices.
Ingredients for Pineapple Mango Rum Punch (servings 1 cocktail)
- 3 oz of pineapple coconut juice
- 3 oz of coconut rum (you can also use light or dark rum here instead)
- 1 oz of mango juice
- 1 oz of orange juice
- splash of grenadine (mainly just for looks)
- lime slices and/or orange zest for garnish
- edible flowers for garnish
Note for making larger batches: If making a punch, rather than a single drink, treat the ounce numbers above as parts instead. So, for example, if you’re making a large batch of pineapple mango rum punch, you’d use 3 parts pineapple coconut juice, 3 parts coconut rum, 1 part mango juice, and 1 part orange juice.
How to Make Pineapple Mango Rum Punch
Combine all juices (pineapple coconut, mango, and orange) and rum. Then stir. Pour over ice and add a splash of grenadine for color. The grenadine will fall to the bottom and give the drink a pretty ombre look. Then, add lime, orange zest, and edible flowers for garnish.