Our in-house party stylist, Jessica Bailey, shared her advice for easy summer entertaining at the Pottery Barn in Santa Monica recently. Read on for her top tips!

Evite Summer Entertaining Tips

Evite Summer Entertaining Tips

Here’s a video we shot at the event…

…and here are Jessica’s best pointers!

Top 5 Summer Entertaining Tips:

1) Move your indoor furniture outdoors. “That way, you get a budget-friendly alfresco dining experience — and free up some extra space inside for a DIY sangria or ice cream bar!”

2) Prep as much as you can ahead of time so you’re stress-free the day of your event. “Shop for groceries a few days beforehand to avoid last-minute errands. I also recommend setting your table and arranging your centerpiece the night before your party.”

3) Keep your menu simple. “For a great summer night, all you really need is a nice cheese plate, great pasta or chicken salad, fresh fruit, and cold drinks. If you really want to go all out, choose one “star” dish and keep everything else simple.”

4) Banish bugs. “I recommend surrounding your party area with citronella candles. You can even put citronella oil in tiki torches that can protect you from the bugs while illuminating your party. Pottery Barn also sells beautiful glass domes you can use to cover your appetizers and keep your food fresh while protecting it from flies and other pests.”

5) Set the mood with lighting and music. “Light lots of white candles as a quick, inexpensive way to instantly transform the backyard into a cocktail-ready space. Bonus: Everyone looks great in candlelight! I also recommend playing some background music at low volume. If you’re not sure what music to play, delegate the playlist to a music-buff friend.”

 

Evite Summer Entertaining Tips

 

Centerpiece ideas:

“For an eye-catching centerpiece, try this Pottery Barn glass apothecary jar and lemon vase filler plus potted succulents wrapped in kraft paper and twine (bonus: guests can take them home as favors)! Other centerpiece ideas: Set candles in hurricane vases to shield the flames from the wind… or simply make the menu family style and place your dishes in decorative serving bowls and platters, letting the food serve as your eye candy. Anything goes, as long as your centerpiece is no taller than 8 inches; your guests should be able to carry on a conversation across the dinner table without being blocked by a giant flower arrangement.”

Evite Summer Entertaining Tips

Place setting ideas: 

“There’s no need to fold your napkins into swans or other complicated folds. Instead, simply fold a napkin in half and then half again lengthwise, folding either end under a plate. You can place your napkin on the plate vertically or horizontally. If you place it vertically, you can even drape the bottom end off the table for a more casual look. Keep the conversation flowing by using place cards to seat guests you think would have a lot to talk about next to each other. For a simple summer table, set lemons at each place, write each guest’s name on a construction paper leaf, and pin the leaf onto the lemon. You can also simply print out names in a pretty font on card stock, cut them out, and place at each place setting, or stick them into the prongs of your forks.”

Evite Summer Entertaining Tips

P.S. A refreshing fruit-infused water is a great way to beat the hot summer heat! Try our lemon mint spa water!

NEXT: Get more summer party ideas and entertaining tips, or start planning your next get-together by sending one of our summer party invitations.

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