I have always loved being a party planner, and summer party prep is definitely something I enjoy. Over the years I have upgraded from hosting tea parties from my child hood bedroom with my plethora of stuffed animals, into my first apartment with the mishmash group of friends that begged for a hot home cooked meal to today with our friends and family and their growing families.

Like everything in life, things change, relationships grow and expand and party expectations change too.

My friends still don’t pass up a chance to have someone else prepare food for them (as all good friends should!) but our stage of life has changed and my need to be a hands on hostess is absolutely necessary.

It has been my goal for years now, to plan a party but to still be a part of it. I want to enjoy my guests as much as I want them to be able to come to our home to enjoy our spaces and the people and conversations that flow through it. I want my friends to be able to put their feet up, sip on some sweet tea and reconnect like the good ol’ days.

My tried and true shortcuts to hosting a party are now what I always refer to when preparing for a gathering. If you too want to be a part of your party, follow these three simple steps and you will easily have your hands free for embracing friends when the front door swings open, for squeezing chubby baby cheeks and for pouring a pitcher of your famous, homemade, sun brewed, sweet tea into outstretched glasses.

patio coffee table adorned with fruit

Summer Party prep: Plan for the weather

You can never be too certain what the weather will be like on any given day in Canada, but you can do your best to be prepared for whatever may come your way. I welcome the cooling summer breeze much like I do my guests- with open arms. But being prepared for the wind’s effects is key to a calm easy breezy party.

When kids are involved, napkins are a MUST! Simply place a weight of your choosing on to the top of your napkin piles to ward of the winds effects.  In the summer, I like to use a decorative shell or a few stones from our travels. They nod to summer beach days past and are fun conversation starters too.

Place your drink straws into a covered jar or container to contain in one spot as well. To combat the sun have sunscreen readily available for those who might be hanging out in full sun and have bug spray on hand if you plan on carrying your party well past dusk.

If you know your party will continue on after the sun has gone down, prepare some simple jars with votive candles inside. The wind wont be able to blow them out and their flames produce the prettiest patio ambiance. Having citronella candles close by is a huge help for deterring pesky summer bugs.                                                              

Placing a basket of indoor blankets outdoors is also a great way to add texture and comfort to your space. Your guests will enjoy snuggling beneath them while the conversation keeps flowing.

A stylish tray of glasses ready for when guests arrive.

Plan Your Party Prep with Purpose

As a host you get to set the tone of your party. Plan purposefully and create a fun play list of sixties summer hits for the crowds of vintage lovers or better yet download a music app on to your phone and choose a premade play list that will set the tone for your crowd.

Having a signature drink for your guests is also such a fun way to customize each party and to plan purposefully.

Consider who you are inviting, what their favorite fruits are, what type of mood you are trying to project and mix your drinks and music away.

{My go to crowd pleaser is a steeped tea! To prepare fill a jug with distilled water and four orange pekoe tea bags and one sliced lemon. Place in the sunshine on the kitchen counter and let steep for a few hours, then add agave nectar to taste, sliced lemons and the juice of two lemons and serve with ice. To personalize this summer thirst quencher, use whatever types of tea bags you feel your guests would love. Herbal teas come in a variety of flavours making it so simple to customize a drink for each gathering.}

Food is key

I always look forward to the food that will be served at a party and when hosting look forward to feeding my guests. To be a present party planner though, you don’t want to be the one stuck in the kitchen mixing up and serving food while your guests are waiting for you to join them. Be a part of the party by pre making singular serving finger foods that don’t require tons of dishes and utensils. (Because being stuck on dish duty after a party isn’t any fun either!)

I love to serve up unique finger foods in tiny drink glasses that fit perfectly into your guest’s hands, leaving them free to walk around and mingle together.

Filling your shot glasses with dips and hummus’s in advance is so simple. Right before your guests arrive, simply add items like veggie sticks or munchies like bread sticks directly in to the dip it is meant to be enjoyed with.

Prepped fruit kababs are always a hit with everyone on your guest list. Pick seasonal fruit and get the kids involved with preparing them. Simply stack your fruit kabobs on a platter and watch them happily disappear.

Making a signature drink is always fun for a party, consider pre pouring glasses and have them waiting for your guests to grab as soon as they arrive.

If you keep in mind these three simple steps for preparing a party you can be a part of, your gatherings will be memorable for your guests and also for you! We don’t just fill our homes and spaces with furnishings, but with laughter, stories told and memories made. That’s what makes a house a home.

If I learned anything from my days as a tea party planning little girl it was that the best parties are the ones where your guests leave after being filled up to the brim with good laughs and great food. When are you hosting your next party?

Arrangement of outdoor furniture so they face each other and encourage conversation

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