Not every gathering has to be Pinterest perfect… Check out these real life easy summer entertaining tips and ideas!
It’s a very rare summer weekend when we don’t have anything on the agenda. So when I see a clear day or two on my calendar, I protect it pretty fiercely. Not because I want to sit at home and veg out (although a few hours of vegging out is always nice), but because it means we can finally invite a few friends and family over to catch up.
Nothing formal, of course… I’m not into elaborate themed gatherings that require lots of advance planning AT ALL. I’m more of a come as you are, simple, casual and easy summer entertaining sort of hostess. My home might not be spotless, often the snacks are not be homemade, and my Weimaraner might even snatch a bratwurst off of your plate at some point (gotta love her), but we’ll enjoy games and music and lots of laughter!
Real Life Easy Summer Entertaining Tips
If you, too, are tired of the pressure to make every gathering Pinterest-perfect, I think you’ll appreciate these real life easy summer entertaining tips and ideas.
Food & Snacks
Fussy food is NOT a requirement for successful entertaining. When I feel like it, I make these crowd-friendly summer recipes: orzo salad, Asian cucumber salad, chicken salad with grapes, and/or ramen noodle salad. And when I don’t, pizza and store-bought dips from Heluva Good! are always a crowd pleaser.
Actually, Heluva Good! dips are almost always a part of any gathering we host. I love them because of their bold and exciting flavors (7 in all!) AND because they’re super versatile. They’re just as delicious with our favorite potato chips and pretzels as they are with veggies of all kinds.
Drinks for Everyone
We’re lucky to have a spare refrigerator in our garage that’s just for drinks. My husband is a craft beer lover, so it’s almost always stocked with a wide variety of brews. It’s rare that we have a guest who can’t find something to fit their palate, but just keep it simple with an American-style ale if you’re trying to please everyone. Or if you want to try something new and fun, check out this Heluva Good! dip and beer pairing chart.
Personally, I typically prefer wine (although there’s a raspberry wheat beer that I’m loving lately). I usually lean toward reds, but when the weather heats up, whites are a safer bet. Choose a bottle each of dry white and sweet white, and you should be good to go!
For the rest, we stock plenty of bottled water. It suits kids and adults alike, and we never have to worry about having leftover diet soda that my kids won’t drink taking up space for weeks on end.
Games for All
We don’t always play games when we have friends over, but when we do, it’s generally cornhole, wiffle ball, or cards (euchre, blackjack, etc.). We favor these because none require a huge investment, and they’re perfect for a wide variety of ages and skill levels. Some of my favorite summer memories are of playing backyard wiffle ball homerun derby!
Music for Every Taste
Our taste in music is pretty eclectic, so our iTunes account has a good mix of genres. Occasionally I’ll create a playlist for entertaining, but often my husband or I will just take turns playing DJ.
However, if you prefer to be a little more hands off with the music and/or don’t want to invest a lot of money in it, I highly recommend the iHeartRadio app. We discovered a station that we love out of Charleston, WV while on vacation in the Outer Banks last year, and we still listen to it all the time. They play a great mix of music, new and old, that’s perfect for summer evenings. Look for Tailgate 107.3 Charleston, WV and favorite it!
Keeping Bugs at Bay
Okay, so these beer bottle tiki torches might be slightly skewing toward the Pinterest-perfect ideal, but a year later, I still adore them. And they are SO incredibly easy to make — my husband and I put together six of them in under 20 minutes, all while stopping to take photographs. They go a long way toward chasing off mosquitos and such, but if you need a little extra protection, you might also try this simple homemade bug repellent spray.
Above all, I follow the KISS principle when it comes to summer entertaining. Keeping everything simple and basic takes the stress out of having guests over and allows me more freedom to interact with our guests, rather than spending hours in the kitchen.
This is a sponsored conversation on behalf of Heluva Good!; all opinions and text are my own. Find Heluva Good! bold-flavored dips in the dairy aisle of your neighborhood supermarket. Thank you for supporting the brands that support this site!3