Consider this the CliffsNotes to Throwing a Killer Party
May 16, 2016
Summer EntertainingOutdoor PartyEntertaining
It's all about pineapples and great cocktails and comfort food, among other things, and Liz Martin of Charleston Weekender is breaking it down. You are 9 easy steps away from pulling off a really killer party. The kind that friends talk about for years and the kind that will leave you in all out summertime bliss. It's coming people, the warm weather get togethers that is, and this inspiration shot by Rachel Red Photography will have you party ready.
Any excuse is a great one for a party in my book! If you love to entertain, here are a few easy tips on how to put together a lovely soiree without all of the spending and stress. Elaborate recipes, fancy china, and grandmother's silver won't be necessary. Stick to these tips and you can treat your guests to an evening of "casual elegance". No stuffiness allowed!

Keep everyone entertained and occupied.

I'm notoriously a last minute hostess, no matter how early in the day I begin prepping. Keeping your guests entertained makes you both feel more relaxed. Opt for a self-serve bar cart or a tray full of pre-poured beverages so you don't have to abandon your last-minute meal prep as guests arrive. Then, keep everyone entertained with something fun; point them to the backyard for bocce, or have props displayed on a tray for a DIY smartphone photo booth while you put the finishing touches on dinner.

Make your guests feel cozy.

There is nothing that will send your guests home faster than having them feel uncomfortable. Even in the midst of summer, providing your guests with a wrap such as a Turkish towel on the back of their chair will have them feeling right at home. Make them feel like they can kick of their shoes while they are at it, with a basket of slippers by the front door. Repurpose your throw pillows as comfy accents for your outdoor furniture.

Stick with your forte, then ask for help with the rest.

No matter how much effort I put into cooking, it just isn't going to wow anyone. I am ok with that, because I know my contribution to a fun party is providing a laid back atmosphere and fun decor. Save yourself the stress of doing it all on your own, and just focus on what you are good at. Enlist your friends who have a specialty and offer to return the favor for their next soiree. A friend who loves craft cocktails can make your beverages extra exciting, and you can provide your signature cupcakes for her next time.

Dazzle them with your decor.

As I mentioned, I'm no chef. Since I know my food isn't going to win any awards, I like to surround my guests with decor that will elicit a smile. Start with a statement piece; an eccentric salad plate, such as the Owl from West Elm, immediately sets the tone for fun. Your "wow" could also be a graphic table runner, such as this handmade striped one from Ibu. Cocktail napkins or interesting glassware can create a laid back atmosphere as well. The One Hope glitter bottle of champagne is not only tasty; it also makes a great bar cart accessory AND benefits charities at the same time. And the verdict on fun straws? Yep, they are still "in"!

Plants or flowers are a must, & green goes with anything.

It isn't a party without a centerpiece. Green truly livens any table, so consider creating a tablescape of your existing house plants or succulents. Did you know West Elm now carries succulents?! Stick with monochromatic vases, and plant cuttings will fit right in at the dinner table. Investing in living flora for your centerpiece will bring you enjoyment well beyond your get together. Ferns or orchids welcome!

Mix and match everything!

Pricey items pair perfectly with budget finds, like the navy dinner plates I used as chargers. They came from (gasp) WalMart, and have chipped far less often than the ones I originally registered for from a pricier store! Stools mixed with benches make for fun seating, and combining silver and gold in your cutlery and glassware will work just fine. Even your outfit can still wow your guests when you mix nice pieces with budget finds, such as pairing a lovely hostess gown from Society Social with fun earrings from H&M.

Personalize your party.

This is the age of the Evite, but taking the time to send hand written invitations or creating seating cards will add an extra dose of special to your soiree. It's all in the presentation, so stick some place card flags into a small succulent for each guest or attach a little flag to their straw or wine stem.

Fabulous food doesn't have to mean fancy!

Why not give everyone some comfort food to help them feel at home? Having a pizza party for grown-ups is always a good idea, or call in a local food truck to provide some festive dishes. Make it extra special with a DIY toppings station, and let your guests do the work of creating their perfect pizza pie. Thats amore!

Stuffiness is not allowed.

Whatever happens- be it very dry cornbread or burn holes in your porch (that really happened)- no one will notice as long as you provide them with genuine hospitality and make them feel welcome. A festive cocktail doesn't hurt either. Cheers
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Try infusing this summertime staple into your next feté