Party Essentials: 15 Things You Need to Know to Entertain in the Summertime Like a Rock Star

If you’re like me this is what your summer looks like…

“Hey you guys…it’s May 24 weekend and we should plan a party because it’s finally summer…”


“OMG you guys…it’s Labour Day weekend and we haven’t had a barbecue yet… hurrrryyyy!!”

One day we are just peeling back our heavy sweaters and getting outside in May and before you know it, its almost September!

Is it just me or was summer sooo long when I was 10 and now, you blink and it’s over??

Please don’t tell me it’s just me??!!!

Nonetheless, we are going to have a party this weekend…and it’s gonna be fantabulous!!!

Here are some pointers for you to plan (and execute) a great Labour Day party:

  1.  Have a plan:  Decide what kind of gathering you will have and stick to your plan.  Want to have an intimate gathering with 2 other couples? Then go nuts and make a posh dinner by candlelight in the backyard…it’s a lot easier to make filet mignon when there are only 6 people.  Wanna have 50 people over? Don’t stress! Just get rid of all those Type A expectations that you are Martha Stewart and throw some hot dogs and burgers on the grill  You can even make a burger board (like the one above) so people can make their own burger…notice I even added some grilled chicken thighs for people who don’t eat red meat!  Honestly, people just want to get together!!! The food is a bonus…trust me!
  2. Have a theme:  I know you’re thinking this is more work, but sometimes planning is easier is you have a theme. You won’t be all over the map and it will be easier to focus when you ask yourself “will it fit my theme?”.  If you’ve decided to do a Backyard Mexican Fiesta, make (or buy) some pulled pork and just put all of the stuff you would put in your taco on the table… some hard and soft tacos, salsa, guac, chopped onions, lots of herbs, grated cheese and a bunch of hot sauces…now you’re good to go!  Add in some cold cervesa, and you will have a party like nobody’s business.  Will you make a fancy pavlova for dessert? Heck no!! You will scoop out ice cream and serve it with these cheater churros...easy peasy lemon squeezy!!
    The Fastest Cheater Churros
  3. Make sure you have good starters:  I find, especially in middle of a heat wave, people come to parties and drink.  So, if you’re planning on stoking the fire after all of your guests arrive, you’d better have some nibbles to tide people over.  Need a list of incredible summer appetizers to get the party started?? Look no further…
  4. A Charcuterie board is always a good idea: And speaking of appetizers, why not start with an awesome cheese board?  Need some help figuring out how to maneuver the board? This blog post is all about making a charcuterie board which is the easiest way to entertain…like ever!!
  5. Have Plenty of Drinks on Hand: Of course a summer bbq wouldn’t be a summer bbq without some great drinks (beer always seems to be a good option!).  But I always like to have a cocktail so people can serve themselves. How about making a summer strawberry bellini?You can even serve it in these great jugs so people can serve themselves!!And if you’re going to buy one, why not buy two (they are about $30 at Marshall’s or Winners)?  Use one for alcoholic drinks and fill another with plain water (maybe with sliced cucumber or lemon) …plenty of non-alcoholic drinks are always a must!!
  6. Make Sure You Have a Bug Plan for your Backyard: The worst part of a party is the critters come out and ruin everything…especially the flying kind.  Mosquitoes can ruin everything so be prepared with a basket of arsenal…candles, citronella, coils…you get it, right?  I keep this basket in my basement and bring it out for every party!!                                                                                                                                           how to host the best long weekend party
  7. You Also Need a Bug/Sun/Allergy Plan for Your Guests:  If you can’t seem to keep the mosquitoes away (I’ve read that if people eat bananas, the mosquitoes are more inclined to attack – or maybe that’s an urban myth?!).  Regardless, a good host is always prepared to keep their guests safe/comfortable so why not have another basket ready with Afterbite, sunscreen, aloe (for burns) and some Benadryl in case of stings.                                                                                                                         
  8. Prep as Much in Advance as You Can: I always say, the host needs to be a part of the party too!  When you’re planning your party, use a menu that’s easy and able to be prepared ahead (at least for the most part)…like, if you’re hosting 100 people, you definitely don’t want to be serving risotto!! I even tell people to pre-scoop their ice cream, placing the scoops on a cookie sheet and covering them with plastic wrap…that way you don’t have to wait for hard ice cream to be scoop-able!  You get the picture, right?

Enlist the Help of Your Friends: This isn’t the place to be a “hosting hero”.  Nobody wants to watch you run around with your head cut off…if your friends offer to help, let them!!Gosh, why not plan a party around help? Nothing says “join in on the fun” more than a pizza party!!  If you want to try your hand at hosting a bash that’s all about the “za”, look no further…I got everything you need to know if you plan on having an epic pizza party right here!  Starting with creating a “serve yourself” pizza board (below) so each of your guests can make their own!!10.  Set the Mood with Music:  I’ve never been good at creating playlists on my phone, but now with Spotify, you can create and share playlists – or even just pick one that they’ve already created. And there’s no need for a fancy sound system…you can buy a portable speaker for around $100 that sounds like a professional DJ is at your party (unless you decide to play polka music…in which case, your guests might walk over to your neighbors house!

11. Create a Few Conversation Rooms: Obviously, if you live in an apartment and want to have the party on a balcony, you are kind of limited with how many areas you have.  But, even with small spaces, make sure you have set up areas so your guests aren’t huddled in one area (even in an apartment…make sure you have cushy pillows on your couch and some playing cards close by so not everyone is squished on the balcony!!).  If you have a backyard, spread the chairs out so you have different areas for people to gather (see below for setting up a fire pit…that’s always a great conversation room!).

12.  Make Sure you Have Food For everyone:  We live during a time where you have to be cognizant of people’s food allergies and preferences.  Make sure you have at least one gluten free option (GF buns for a burger or GF crust for pizza) and one vegan option (lots of veg and maybe veggie burgers, etc)…it’s really not that hard anymore!!

13.  It’s All About the Details: You can always throw together a party in an hour but if you have time, why not add a bit of “love” to show people you care? Have a pool? If you do, I’m sure you have a bunch of bathing suits that people have left behind.  I always have laundered “extra suits” in a basket by the pool in case anyone forgot theirs!

If you’re interested in reading about a few more ways to add that special touch, then take a peek at this post about getting your backyard ready for the best summer party ever!!  It will tell you how to make these funky wine bottle candle holders and DIY citronella candles!

It’s will tell you why you shouldn’t throw away your tomato cans after use use the tomato puree to make your pizza sauce!

14.  End the Party with a bang:  And if you’re going to have an epic outdoor party, you’re going to need an epic dessert.  But, nobody wants to fuss with fancy shmancy desserts at an outdoor party, right?

So why not set up a marshmallow station for your guests…because nothing says I love you more that a make your own s’more station quipped with homemade marshmallows, caramel filled chocolate bites and Baileys!! Intrigued on how they all go together? Well, click right here for all the deets!!


Heck, if you do it right, even the birds will come visit!!

15. Remember to have fun:  Even if it rains and you end up eating soggy burgers, I’m sure everyone will be happy that you at least got everyone together!!! It’s all good!!  xoxo

  • Lori Dalimonte
    August 30, 2018

    Love all the ideas Suzie. Thanks for keeping my creativity with food alive. Yummy!!!

    • Suzie Durigon
      August 30, 2018

      I just love you Lori!! Thanks so much for reading!!! xoxo

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