Summer calls for amazing drinks, delicious food, and great company. Whether it’s the first BBQ of the season or a weekly gathering, host guests in style with these crowd-pleasing dinner recipes, DIY decor projects, and party-planning tips. Your friends and family will keep coming back for more all summer long.
Enjoy a refreshing slushie in minutes with only four ingredients. You'll need ice, water, frozen limeade, and the frozen fruit of your choice. We are loving raspberries, peaches, or mangos for this drink.
Turning an empty backyard corner into paradise is easier than you may think. A colorful rug, a floating couch, and plants pull together a space, but it'll be a porch swing that steals the show.
It's always a great time to have wine! Freeze your favorite wine in ice trays (about 1 ounce per cube), then pop one or two into a light pour to make your glass last longer. You can also add a few cubes to sparkling water to keep it light.
If you want to keep the cube trend going, transform an appetizer into a work of art. Arrange cubed watermelon, cucumber, beefsteak tomatoes, feta, and halved cherry tomatoes into a grid. Then drizzle olive oil on top with a dash of salt, pepper, and mint!
Look around your yard and you'll discover anything can become a party accessory, including a plant stand. After emptying it out, fill it with plenty of ice to keep drinks chilled. And if you're feeling creative, fill latex balloons with water, freeze overnight on a baking sheet, and add them in with the drinks.
That's right, your favorite drink just got better. In a pitcher, stir together vodka, lime juice, sliced plums, and sprigs of fresh thyme. Gently stir in ginger beer before serving over ice. Remember to garnish with more plums and thyme. Cheers!
Summer wouldn't be complete without hotdogs, but this year, we encourage you to remix your toppings in unexpected ways. You can thank us after trying one of these duos: napa cabbage with scallions; purple cabbage and carrots; cucumbers and radishes.
Position your buffet under an overhang or umbrella to protect it from the elements. Then, order its contents this way for easy cruising: plates, sides, buns, meats, fis, and flatware. (Note: If perishable foods aren't gobbled up in an hour, swap them out with a fresh supply.) Come sundown, have lights nearby so folks can see as they serve.
Help guests move through the buffet line quickly with grab-and-go silverware in decorated Mason jars. Just tie ribbon remnants on a trio of vases and fill with reusable flatware.
A beverage station separate from the food lets guests mix drinks and mingle. Stock the bar with cups, straws (to double as stirrers), and plenty of ice — a large metal pail will keep bottles and cans frosty, but consider an insulated cooler for extra cubes.
When the RSVPs roll in and you realize you'll need more surfaces, relocate indoor furniture and dust off camping gear like folding chairs and tables.
Soften seats with no-sew pillow covers. Sandwich a cushion between two bandanas, then join each corner together with a rubber band and a thin ribbon.
Bobbing black-eyed Susans and zinnias, plus floating candles, turn an everyday birdbath into an instantly elegant water feature.
Keep guests comfortable outdoors all day long and into the night with summer essentials. Leave out amenities like sunscreen, bug spray, hand wipes, and, if it turns chilly, light blankets.
Our versatile guacamole recipe pairs equally well with tortilla chips, a crudités platter, or homemade burgers. You'll want to serve a bowl of this creamy, spicy dip with just about every meal.
For a summery treat, drop a colorful ice pop into your glass of white wine. You'll want to try every flavor in the box before summer ends.
These pretty appetizers practically spring into bloom, and they're so easy to assemble. Just don't forget to tell your guests about the hidden toothpick!
What makes wine and fruit such a winning combo? Take a sip from these sangria pitchers and you'll have your answer.
For a more formal affair, transform your cloth napkins into adorable blooms without paying for the real deal. Mix up the linens to create a colorful flower bed right on your table.
It doesn't get simpler (or cheaper!) than this. Dip dollar-store candle holders in colorful acrylic paint for a peppy tablescape.
Slice up hearty sandwiches, then wrap 'em up in wax paper and tie them with twine, recommends Henderson. Her crowd-pleasing go-to? A baguette topped with ham, provolone, and salted butter.
A treat-filled lantern can do double-duty as party decor and favors, but it'll be hard to smash this too-cute pineapple piñata.
And just when you thought you couldn't love sweet tea more than you already do, this boozy ice-tea comes into play.
Lend a helping hand by using ketchup to write down how guests want their burgers cooked. The person in charge of the grill will be thanking you!
Relocate pots of lush flowers as a fast way to perk up a deck before a party. With a limited palette, like the pink and white blooms here, the collection feels cohesive, not chaotic.
Rugs, pillows, and poufs (and picnic blankets, of course!) will create a casual conversation spot that plays into a laid back party vibe.
Replace flimsy paper products with reusable (and unbreakable) dishware, says entertaining pro Emily Henderson. Better yet, pick out a set in fun, beachy colors.