Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Spring Entertaining

The sun is out and will be ALL week long.
We're setting up our new deck furniture and our grill this weekend.
When you build a new house and it's finished at the end of summer, the following spring/summer is extra exciting.  We have a lot of outdoor areas to enjoy at the new house and I've been waiting (what feel's like forever) to use them... that time is finally now.

We're planning all our meals for this weekend to be made n the grill and outside on the deck.
Dining alfresco is my favorite.  It's pretty safe to say we'll be doing it quite a bit between now and the fall.
Entertaining is another favorite but entertaining this time of the year - very favorite.
There's so many big and little reasons to throw together a little get-together this time of the year and I hope to have our deck well broken in before the real start of summer even hits.

In our house we don't need a huge reason to throw a gathering - just because the weather is gorgeous, a simple happy hour, a plain old fashion BBQ are some of my favorite reasons. 
The "just because" days end up being the most fun.

The Kentucky Derby and other horse races,
when the boys get home from a day on the golf course,
Cinco de Mayo,
Mother's Day/Father's Day,
Of course, Memorial Day.
All great reasons to entertain outdoors.

A couple of my favorite entertaining tips for the spring…

{Fake Plates. Real Silverware. Acrylic Glasses}
If were having over more than about five or so guests I'd much rather put out the nice chinet plates (not the cheap flimsy ones but the sturdy, you can fill your plate to the brim ones) because I'd rather someone not drop one of my nice dishes out on the deck AND I'd also rather not be spending a long time on clean up.  I want to enjoy with everyone too!

While I like to go "fake" on the plates, I like to go real on the silverware.  There's nothing worse than having a little plastic knife that will barely cut your food.  When we registered I made sure to get extra silverware for entertaining.  It's also easy to quickly throw right in the dishwasher.

Kind of like the plates - if it's a smaller gathering, I'll take my nice wine glass right on out to the patio.  But if it's more people (usually meaning more fun, more drinks) I grab out my acrylic wine/drinking glasses (which I may add, are equally as cute - having a nice acrylic set is essential) and/or some plain, pretty plastic cups.  I'm not talking a huge red solo cup - just those little dainty clear plastic ones.
{Serve with Style}
I might not use real plates and real glasses but I'm surely going to place out my serveware - some melamine and some real.  I believe a pretty table is a happy table - in fact, I have some serve ware just for summer evenings because let's face it, it's cute and hard to say no to.  I like my table to look like it could be in Martha Stewart Living not just like I threw some items out last minute - BUT that works JUST as well.  I just find joy in the "setup" factor.
{Appetizers are Everything}
I've said it before but we are HUGE into appys.  They are fun.  There's a huge variety.  Some nights, they are all you need.  When entertaining I like to try to have a minimum (usually much more) of three key appetizers - cheese plate (favorite), a dip, and something else.
Like I said - we usually end up with much more, a very large cheese plate and possibly multiple dips (who doesn't like to dip? this girl could live off dips) 
{Summer Cocktails}
There's nothing better than having a pretty fruity drink in hand.  It's my favorite time of the year to mix up my own concoctions - the rest of the months it's usually wine.  It's also great to have a variety - either with a drink cart (so many cute outdoor options) or a drink bucket - We have a fairly large bar area in our basement so sometimes we'll probably just leave this aspect in the house instead of lugging everything out.

Also key...
+Fruit infused water
+A drink pitcher of whatever you want, I just like the appeal of the pitcher (lemonade, a fruit juice, the water I mentioned, the signature drink, margarita)
+Ice ice baby.  If the temperature outside is warm, the temperature of my drink needs to be very cold.  Having ice buckets out is very key.
one // two // three
{Keep the Main Course Easy}
Short and simple - fire up the grill or get a sandwich tray are my favorite options. 
The grill being the best because well let's face it - less work for me :) the hubby is the grill master.  Plus what I said before about wanting to enjoy the hosting - the grill is outside.  Nobody is stuck in the kitchen. Have a combination of any/all salads/pasta salads/potato salad/coleslaw/etc as your sides and your good to go (most of these you can usually prep early in the day)
{Don't Skimp on Dessert}
Don't leave out the best part - you always have to have something sweet.
Whether as easy as putting out ice cream and toppings to make a sundae bar,
the ingredients for smores,
a pie or cake you can make early in the day,
definitely have something out to indulge that sweet tooth!
I don't need a ton of decorations - well if it's something like Fourth of July or a theme party, maybe sometimes I do ;) but I definitely like to set the scene.
Something as simple as some nice bright placemats and plenty of fresh flowers.
Lighting cannot be forgotten - candles, lanterns, etc.  When the sun goes down, it's still nice to enjoy the outdoors - just not completely in the dark.

Okay, now it's your turn! What are your favorite spring hosting tips?
Appetizers/meals/desserts that are your go-to's for serving guests?

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  1. I love all of these tips--hey definitely make for a successful get together!
    I'm so excited that the weather is nicer. My husband and I had dinner outside on our deck last night and plan to for the rest of the week too!
    Wish we lived closer so we could have a get together!!

  2. Love this post… it's making me hungry!! Dining al fresco is my favorite too… and one of my go-to appetizers is baked brie or bacon-wrapped jalapeño poppers. Always a hit :)

  3. This post made me smile ear to ear! I LOVE outdoor entertaining. And i'm with you on NOT using plastic utensils, it's so annoying! Ha!

  4. Summer entertaining is my very favorite :) Like you, I'm all about the pretty servingware - it makes a big difference to the overall feel of the party! And as long as there are plenty of apps and a signature cocktail, all of the guests are happy.

  5. These are awesome tips, lady! It's all about the ambiance and also the ease in my opinion. NO point in trying to do something too big that stresses you out. I love easy cookout get togethers. can't wait to have a yard :)! Let me know when you head down this way so we can have a fun blate ;)!

  6. Amen, friend. We in the Holt household never need an excuse to entertain. We have people over at our house usually once if not twice every week, be it friends or family. There's nothing I enjoy more than grubbing out on some good food and enjoying amazing company.

  7. So, so many helpful ideas here! I've never thrown a big outdoor soirée, but I'm hoping that will change this summer. I'll definitely remember some of your tips!

  8. Great tips! Since we're in an apartment, we can't host anything too elaborate - but I still love having friends over for drinks and cocktails. Anthropologie has some of the cutest serveware!

  9. I long for the day when we can entertain outside! We currently don't have a deck or patio area in the backyard. Just grass and it's too bumpy to put a table out there. I love your tips though! Especially about the sundae bar. So easy and fun!

  10. I think we must be soul sisters, I am dying for the day we have a *permanent* home and I can entertain! Unfortunately the baseball guys I'm around most of the time don't appreciate the finer details of a nicely prepared get together haha. You are going to have SUCH a fun summer!!

  11. Eating outside is the best, especially during the summer. I can't wait to have a back porch for grilling out and entertaining! Those apps you posted look delicious!

  12. My dream is that outdoor kitchen setup! YES to real silverware; thank you! Dollar stores are everything for the paper products. Loved this!

  13. This just made me ridiculously excited for summer!! We moved into our house last September so we never really got to enjoy being outside either - now I just need to find some patio furniture, stat!

  14. Dining outside is my favorite, we use our patio way more than our indoor dining set! Loving all these ideas, and now I'm hungry :)

  15. Cookouts and dining outside is my favorite! Great recommendations, I completely agree that a decorated table is a happy table! Xo, Stephanie