Remember what it was like to be social in the summer, not #social? Sharing a great plate of food meant grilling out in the backyard with your friends, not artfully arranging your food, adding a filter, and sharing it on Instagram. LOLing meant sharing a big belly laugh over a great joke; it wasn’t an overused acronym. You discovered the latest and greatest shops in your city on recommendations from people you truly trusted, not from random strangers in your twitter feed:
- Get outside (and stay out!). It may seem obvious, but when the weather is warm, host your party entirely outside—serve all food and beverages in the yard, and largely keep the house off-limits (save for the bathroom, of course). Keeping it outside means you don’t have to worry about getting your house absolutely spotless before the party, and the mess stays outside.
- Skip the decor. It’s summer! Let nature do its thing and set the scene for you.
- Provide the protein and drinks, and have your guests provide the rest. The fussiest things about parties are all the side dishes—salads, fruit, chips, etc. Make it easy on yourself and provide the mains and beverages, and encourage your guests to bring the sides. You’ll have zero prep-work outside of marinating/seasoning the meats and setting out ice and drinks.
- Streamline the “options”. Provide water for all, one or two types of alcoholic beverages for the adults, and one type of beverage for the kids. Your home is not a restaurant—you don’t need to host a full bar.
- Go disposable on EVERYTHING you can, and encourage guests to label their wares that they use so that they create less waste/cleanup for you at the end of the party. How many times have you set your plate or drink down at a party only to forget which was yours? Set out Sharpies galore and remind everyone to label their stuff.
- Set up a game zone for the kids. Don’t skimp on entertainment when it comes to the kids, but the cleaner the fun, the less hassle it is for you to clean up when the party’s over. Set up several backyard/lawn game stations that don’t have complicated rules or instructions, so your kids can stay entertained for the afternoon.
- Only serve food that’s best at room temperature. Toss out any ideas for food that’s only good hot (e.g. baked potatoes) or cold (e.g. ice cream). You’re only adding headache to the mix when you’re working with finicky foods that insist on a certain temperature.
- Provide LOTS of trash and recycling receptacles outside. Make it easy for guests to clean up after themselves. They’ll probably do it without thinking twice if there’s always a trash bin in plain sight.
image: Getty / Romilly Lockyer