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Summer party-planning cheat sheet

Naomi de la Torre is freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom with two delightful boys, ages three and six. Naomi has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Arizona, is a self-proclaimed salsa diva, and can make a killer octopus ...

Sensational summer party-planning tips

Summer is just around the corner. Ready to get your party on? Celebrate the season with these easy and elegant summer party-planning tips.
Woman hosting outdoor party

You don’t have to be a professional party planner to transform your backyard into party central with our summer party-planning cheat sheet.

Bursts of color

Bring all the brilliance of summer into your fiesta when you decorate with beautiful bursts of color. Choose brightly-colored tablecloths, colorful vases with fresh flowers, festive lights, tiki torches, vibrant streamers and kaleidoscopic centerpieces. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to make your tables pop. Try colorful paper lanterns, tin watering cans filled with flowers from your yard or groups of brightly-colored, mismatched vases for strikingly simple but gorgeous centerpieces.

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Keep it simple

You don’t have to go overboard to create a warm, casual vibe at your party. Keep things simple and everyone will have more fun. A menu with yummy bite-size appetizers, tasty sandwiches, sizzling summer salads and melt-in-your-mouth desserts will satisfy adults and kids alike. Want to dress things up a bit? Wrap sandwiches in brightly-colored pieces of scrapbooking paper and tie with a ribbon. Arrange appetizers on tiered display stands. Nestle your desserts in wicker baskets on a colorful bed of waxed tissue paper. Serve individual tossed salads in Mason jars and tie with a bow.

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Go fresh

Take advantage of all that summer has to offer. Enjoy the bounty of the harvest with summer faves like fresh wedges of watermelon, homemade lemonade, dazzlingly delicious fruit salad and grilled veggie kabobs. Float some tantalizing wedges of fresh fruit in your large glass beverage dispenser for a stylish look. Offer individual servings of fruit salad in waffle cones with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top. Got a backyard garden? Don’t miss the chance to show off the fruits of your labor. Pile fresh fruits and veggies into decorative tin containers for an irresistible (and edible!) centerpiece.

Take a peek at some more sizzling summer party tips >>

Mix and match

You don’t have to get all matchy-matchy to make your party scene fun and festive. Embrace the eclectic and mix and match to your heart’s content. Hit up the thrift stores and serve punch in a variety of different-shaped punch glasses. Use a variety of colors and patterns of napkins and tablecloths and tie it all together with coordinating centerpieces. Fiestaware is a great investment for both daily use and party planning because the festive colors go with everything.

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Fun for the kids

Keep the kids happy and everyone has a good time. Make sure to serve kid-friendly foods that are easy to eat with little hands. If you have access to some kid-sized tables, creating a special space for the little ones is always fun. Set up a cooler with juice boxes and water bottles the kids can grab on their own. A craft table covered in butcher-block paper with a few fun summer crafts will be a hit, as will a big basket of funny hats and costumes. If you have teenagers in the neighborhood, consider hiring a couple to make balloon animals and paint the kids’ faces. The kids will stay busy, and the adults will be able to kick back and enjoy the beautiful day.

Want more kid-friendly party ideas? Learn how to throw a kid-friendly July 4th party >>

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