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Planning a summer party shopping list

Before you party, plan

All right, party planners, summer has officially arrived! This means those summer parties are being planned and thrown at full force. Don’t forget to bring your sunscreen as we dive into some useful tips on planning the perfect summer party.

Prep Time

Always allow yourself and your guests a sufficient amount of time to prepare for your fabulous summer party. Send out the invites two to three weeks before your party date. This will give your guests time to RSVP and pencil your party into their calendars. The allotted time will also let you decide on a menu and if you want a theme. Purchasing the essential food and drink items three days before the party will allow you some time to pick up any forgotten grocery list items. Cook the main course and any side dishes the day before the party and store them in the refrigerator. Having your main meal already cooked will give you more free time with your guests. The day of the party, prepare your appetizers and set out the beverage choices before your guests arrive. Following this plan will ensure a smooth-sailing party.

Drinks

The first thing your guests want when they walk through the door is a drink, especially in the warm summer weather. It is always important to provide a variety of beverage choices for your guests, such as alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. With all these beverage options, you are going to need a way to distribute them. Cups! Don’t forget them. Paper cups are great when hosting a party. They provide an easy clean-up, and everyone can write their name on their own cup. Paper cups are also a great alternative to plastic cups because they are recyclable. Did you get the ice? Two pounds of ice per person will cover this essential party ingredient.

Snacks

It's not yet time to break out the main dish, so keep your guests happy with some light snacks. Cubed fruit and cheese are enough to satisfy the stomach but not to fill it. Skewer the cubes with toothpicks for an easy pick-up and clean-up. The toothpicks will also allow you to save the napkins for the main meal. The snacks will need to be placed onto something, so don't forget to pick up some inexpensive yet stylish trays.

Meal Time

The snacks are gone, so it's now time to break out the main dish. Don't worry about the dishwasher being lonely -- using paper plates and plastic utensils will give you a stress-free clean-up. Uh-oh, looks like Bobby just spilled his barbecue sauce on the table. No worries, you covered the table with a plastic or paper tablecloth. After everyone is done eating, just throw the tablecloth away. Don't forget the napkins! Napkins will help control the messy eaters and let you rest easy.

Stay Cool

Whether your party is inside or out, you want your guests to be comfortable. Having a party outside provides more space for your guests to wander. Misters can let your guests roam without worrying about getting too hot. Patio umbrellas are also a good way to provide shade. Have a pool? Tell your guests to bring their bathing suits. When it gets too hot, they can take a dip in the pool. Avoid planning activities that will make your guests sweat. Have a water balloon throwing contest or a limbo contest. Keep it simple, keep it cool.

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Summer party checklist

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