Chop down that massive to-do list. Summer's here and the living is -- or should be -- easy. (Didn't you get the memo?) Al fresco entertaining is all about relaxing and enjoying company. Don't stress over the timing of each course or fret about your table linen. No need to fuss with mixed drinks. Nix scrambling between from-scratch desserts and after-dinner espresso. Read our 10 simple plan-ahead entertaining tips -- and get set to take it easy!
Ah, summer evenings: the leaves rustle, crickets chirp, and the temperature's just right for halter dresses or chinos. And sandals mean your killer pedicure won't go unnoticed. Seriously, why stress over getting everything perfect when it already is? These easy tips will get your patio ready for company in no time.
Keep it simple
White dinnerware always looks appropriate and pairs nicely with casual double-duty prep/serving pieces like rustic wood cutting boards. The easiest approach? Stick mainly with one-bite tapas-style foods -- a napkin and fingers are all you need to nosh with!
Fresh blooms infuse a casual get-together with instant elegance. When it comes to summer flowers, don't gild the lily: just trim a few stems from the garden and display them in glasses or bowls. Not too shabby, very chic.
Hurricanes, votives, tea lights, patio lanterns, torches -- pick and choose from these seasonal lighting solutions and remember, everyone and everything looks gorgeous in candlelight!
Invite a motormouth or two
Maybe you wouldn't invite a conversation hog to an intimate brunch. But the start of a patio mixer where not everyone's acquainted? That‘s when your yappy, er, loquacious guest is worth his or her weight in gold. You'll stress less if you know someone else is entertaining the troops while you're in the kitchen putting the finishing touches on dinner.
Summer flowers don't need fussing over
Set a few blooms among a plate of limes for an effortlessly summer-chic look. Invest in attractive hardwood cutting boards; the multitaskers can be used to serve appetizers or a cheese course. Gripperwood Gourmet boards are made from sustainably grown sheesham wood.