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Summer gatherings don’t have to be fancy, anxiety-filled affairs. Here’s everything you need to know to host a stress-free summer party.
In theory, hosting fun gatherings is one of the best parts of summer. Good food, good conversation, good weather; cookouts and block parties are iconic for a reason. In reality, though, the execution of those fun summer parties can be more work than they seem to be worth, especially if you’re an introvert like me.
Between prepping the food, putting up decorations, and dealing with cleanup after, sometimes it seems like hosting people at your house just isn’t worth it. Today, I’m sharing my favorite tips for how to host a stress-free summer party. Here’s how you can spend more time with your guests and less time sweating the details.
How to Host a Stress-Free Summer Party
Keep the decorations simple
With the abundance of Pinterest-worthy images bombarding you on all forms of social media, it might seem like a crime to host a party without going all-out with decorations. You could easily spend several hundred dollars, and countless hours, turning your party space into a themed wonderland.
When it comes to stress-free party hosting, though, less is definitely more. Instead of over-the-top opulence, opt for understated elegance. Think fresh flowers- bonus if they’re from your own garden- spread around in fun vases or jars. Not only are they inexpensive to purchase, but you’ll get to enjoy them for days after the party.
Use lots of candles, from big pillars to dainty tea lights. Mix in a few citronella votives to keep the bugs away. If you don’t have many candles, or if you have a larger space, throw up a couple strings of white Christmas lights.
Decorating your space simply, with fresh flowers and cozy candles, will ensure it’s ready for any kind of party you want to host.
Do some of the cooking in advance
The fastest way to guarantee party-time stress is to attempt to complete all your cooking right before the party begins. That kind of last minute scramble will have your nerves in overdrive and will likely result in at least one recipe not turning out as planned. To really take the stress out of party hosting, plan for at least a few of your dishes to be made ahead of time.
The best recipes to make ahead are those that are just as good- if not better- served cold or at room temperature. Here’s an easy recipe that’s perfect:
Quinoa and Pepper Pilaf
1 tbs. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
1 c. uncooked truRoots quinoa, rinsed
2 c. Swanson® chicken broth
2 tbs. chopped fresh parsley
- Heat the oil in a 2-quart saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the peppers and quinoa and cook for two minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Stir in the broth and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender and the liquid is absorbed. Stir in the parsley. Season, if desired.
Notes: for a crowd, go ahead and double or triple the recipe. It’s great left over!
The block party recipe ideas for Swanson Broth and truRoots Quinoa are endless; for more summer recipe inspiration, and to enter a summer sweepstakes, check out Sam’s Club’s ideas for being a Block Party Hero.
Some other easy make-ahead options that are always a hit include sliced fresh veggies served with homemade ranch dressing, homemade cookies and treat bars, or chips and salsa. I’m loving Pace Organic Medium Salsa from Sam’s Club.
Use disposable dinnerware
No matter how fun a party is, a sink loaded with dirty dishes staring you down after the last guest has left is a huge buzzkill. It might be tempting to use real dinnerware, but trust me: your guests are there to see you and spend time together; no one will care if they piled their food on disposable plates, wiped their mouths with disposable napkins, drank from disposable cups, or ate each dish with disposable cutlery.
The time you’ll save by not washing dozens of dirty dishes will be that much more time you can spend with your guests and relax when the party is over. If the whole event is enjoyable to you, you’ll be that much more likely to host one again.
Shop at just one place
A summer cookout or block party is going to last for a few hours. Why would you want to spend twice that much time visiting store after store to buy everything you need to host it? Avoid the madness and head to Sam’s Club for all your summer party needs.
To make sure you’re party-ready, Sam’s Club is hosting Summer Block Party events at clubs across the country. Head here to find the one nearest you.