5 Tips For Hosting Your First Summer Party as Newlyweds
July 1, 2017
You're back from your honeymoon and you have a kitchen full of cake plates, cheese boards and new wine glasses. What better way to put those wedding registry items to use than to throw a classic backyard party this summer? With these helpful tips—and an easy recipe that's sure to be a crowd-pleaser—you'll be an expert hostess in no time.

1. Start small and casual
Just because you registered for 12 place settings with crystal to match doesn't mean you need to start with an elaborate dinner party. A backyard BBQ is an easy, laid back way for you and your new spouse to ease into entertaining. Fire up the grill, hang some string lights and mix up a pitcher of your favorite sangria.

2. Showcase your wedding gifts
Chances are some of the people you're inviting also got you a wedding gift. Serve wine in the wine glasses they gave you or put out a charcuterie platter on that new cheese board. It's a great way to make them feel special and appreciated.
3. Create a drink station
One of the best ways to show off your new entertaining arsenal is to have a drink station. Fill a beverage tub full of beer and water, mix up a signature cocktail in your cocktail dispenser and serve drinks in colorful, outdoor glasses.
4. Craft a menu
Come up with a plan beforehand that includes some pre-made dishes that are easy to serve so that you aren't stuck in the kitchen all evening. This refreshing salad has been my go-to dish for the last few summers. It's easy to make, delicious and completely self-serve for your guests.

Minty Watermelon & Balsamic Salad
Makes 16 3/4 cup servings

1 watermelon cut into bite size cubes
2 cucumbers halved lengthwise and sliced
1/4 cup fresh mint
2/3 cup feta cheese
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

In a large bowl, mix together watermelon, cucumber, mint and feta. Add balsamic vinegar and toss to coat. Store in refrigerator, covered for up to 2 hours. Enjoy!
4. Prepare for bugs
As much as I enjoy summer and being outdoors, bugs can easily force me back inside. Be aware of your bug situation and prepare ahead of time so your guests are comfortable and free of mosquito bites. Have cans of bug spray on hand, make sure the food is covered and protected at all times and light some bug-repellent candles around your yard.
5. Enjoy yourself
This is about spending time with your friends and family and enjoying your time as newlyweds. Your guests will follow your lead so be sure to set a comfortable, relaxed tone. By the end of the night, everyone will be asking when you're hosting the next summer party!

Style Me Pretty Contributor - Kristen Lauck Gillock is the owner and lead planner at Marie Rose Events based in Oklahoma City. When she isn't working, you'll find her spending time outside or enjoying a glass of wine and cooking dinner at home with her husband.