A dinner party is a great way to catch up with friends, or meet new ones, and the best part is that you can tailor them to suit any home, group or occasion. Whether you want an informal dinner or a dazzling night with no expense spared, it really is possible to throw the perfect event, right in your very own home. Dinner parties are a great idea all year round, but there’s something about summer that gives them an unmistakable holiday feel – it’s almost as though you could be back on that Parisian balcony or a tropical beach, enjoying the warmth of the evening.
Throwing a dinner party in summer has its own unique perks and challenges, the weather obviously being one, depending on your location. The key, though, is always preparation, as with a little planning it is possible to overcome even those little last minute problems. There’s no need to have an official occasion to celebrate, summer is reason enough! So follow our quick guide and enjoy throwing your very own summer dinner party.
As with any dinner party, the trick to a smooth running evening is always preparation. Make as much food in advance as possible, including dips, desserts, and sauces. If you’re planning on having cocktails, it’s a good idea to make some of them ahead of time to avoid spending all evening mixing drinks. Unless, of course, you can appoint someone as your cocktail maker for the night. It goes without saying that you should find out about the dietary requirements of your guests, but even if you think you know it’s a good idea to check. People seem to be swapping between vegan, paleo and gluten-free every week now!
If you’re really into your organisation and want to take things a step further, try preparing for unforeseen circumstances. This could be anything from making extra food in case someone unexpected shows up, or planning for rain even if it isn’t forecast. It’s also a good idea to have something vegetarian in the fridge, just in case one of your guests brings a plus one but doesn’t get around to telling you about their diet. Don’t feel as though you have to plan for every possible turn of events, but if something springs to mind it’s always better to be prepared for it, just in case.
Go Al Fresco
For those warm summer evenings, it’s best to make the most of the weather by eating, or at least drinking, outside. It isn’t difficult to set up a beautiful outdoor space these days, even if you only have room for a table and a few chairs. Your guests will appreciate the effort you’ve gone to and you could even get into the habit of eating outdoors on a regular basis. Just make sure you have a few blankets handy, in case it gets a little chilly for some.
Prep your outdoor area with a colourful tablecloth, a vase of flowers and some fairy lights, and create an atmosphere by using some bluetooth speakers. If you really want to prep your home for al fresco eating, consider installing some external bifold doors, which allow you to move freely between indoor and outdoor areas. Whatever the size your outdoor space, you can make it the perfect place to enjoy a few aperitifs, or a whole banquet if you like!
When decorating for a dinner party, it’s fine to keep it simple or go all out – whatever is right for the occasion. To give a more personalised, homemade touch to the aesthetic, why not try making a few things by hand? This could be as easy as handwriting place cards and putting tea lights in decorated jam jars, or as complex as designing your own menus and making floral crowns for your guests. For ideas on what to make and how to make it, take a look at this Pinterest board.
Remember that this is an evening for you to enjoy just as much as everyone else, so don’t give yourself too many tasks to do! If you have children, ask them to help you make some decorations, or invite some friends round for a pre-dinner craft session. Whatever the style, size and weather forecast for your dinner party, you really can make it your own. Just remember to enlist some helpers so you’re not standing in the kitchen all night!
What are your tips for throwing a Summer dinner party?
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