By: Jeremiah Brent
I don’t know about you guys, but summer is one of my favorite seasons — warm nights, soft sunsets and endless reasons for some outdoor entertaining. One of the biggest reasons I love our recent relocation to California is the opportunity to be outside as much as possible. Outdoor entertaining is a nearly effortless way to connect with friends and family, indulge in wonderful, seasonal food and enjoy the beautiful summer warmth.
I always suggest keeping barbecues at home SIMPLE. Don’t be afraid to use paper napkins, paper plates and disposable cutlery — there’s no need to be formal, and you’ll save yourself a world of cleanup at the end. The allure of summer entertaining is its casual nature. Don’t overthink your decor! Use flowers from your own yard or garden, and find beauty in the setting around you rather than the setting on the table. The same goes for food — bite-sized food (think tapas or appetizer-style) or small delicious items that can be served in portable containers are clever alternatives for presenting your delectables and feeding your guests.
A great way to make your summer soiree feel UNIQUE is to offer guests something special to take home — a memento or party favor of sorts. Having a little takeaway from the night to give your guests will set your evening apart from the wealth of other summer parties they’re attending. It can be as simple as cute to-go containers packed with the delicious leftovers from your barbecue, a small bunch of flowers or herbs from your garden wrapped in paper and tied with twine, or even little cartoon sketches of each guest on a beautiful thank you card.
I always try to create an EXPERIENCE for my guests that they’ll remember long after the candles are blown out and the coals on the grill are cold. Whether it is giving everyone sparklers for post dinner drinks, or throwing a bunch of amazing pillows from Living Spaces on the grass to create comfy seating for an outdoor movie on a projector, I try to incorporate some unique experience into each summer dinner party. Think about special ways to create moments that your guests won’t forget.
Life is about moments — the rare opportunities we have to connect with loved ones. Each experience has the opportunity to be special, to be curated and to be memorable. Even the simplest nights have huge potential, but don’t get swept up in trying to create the “perfect” dinner party. Remember that the true value of these nights is the time that you have with your friends and family. So this summer, have fun, wear sun lotion, hug your loved ones and enjoy those sherbet-colored sunsets.