Along with her Designs by Lolita brand (fabulous painted glassware and unique gifts), Lolita Healy is a nationally known celebrations expert offering tips and advice on everyday celebrations. It all started with a girls’ night out, and since then Lolita has identified moments large and small that call for celebration.
She has some great ideas for planning fabulous summer parties that she recently told me about!
1. Crowd pleasers: You can never go wrong with sliders, ribs, salad and corn on the cob. Turn it up a notch to surf and turf…but instead of grilling, do a beef tenderloin (oven roasted) and shrimp cocktail.
2. Ambience: Summer parties are fun because they can be outside. I find citronella torches to be a must. These are very inexpensive and can be used again and again, and create a real summer vibe.
3. Fabric: buy a bunch of colorful netting for draping over tables…very inexpensive and festive. Go to Ikea for vases….get a bunch of cheap cut flowers and do at least one centerpiece for each table.
4. Music: use your Ipod…create the ultimate summer party list…the one I like is from my book, Martini Moments. Make your playlists ahead of time, invest in a good MP3 sounds system if you can. Somehow, “Tiny Bubbles” by Don Ho just gets you in a beachy, outdoorsy mood.
5. Drinks: Choose one signature cocktail…then have guests switch to wine and beer. This will keep your costs down immensely, not to have to have an open bar set up. The last party I gave, I did Blueberry Cosmopolitans and mixed enough so each guest could have 2. I used plastic pitchers to store everything in.
6. Other: Make sure you have a cooler or two with ice…I am always making more room in the fridge, so everything that is not being used for the party goes in a cooler…so much easier.
Here are a few sample summertime themes!
Hawaiin food, including lots of tropical fruit and pork barbeque.
Lais and hula skirt for guests
FAMILY FUN POOL PARTY/Summer BBQ
The idea is simple–”Backyard Barbeque” that is simply fun, easy and delicious for the whole crowd.
Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream Stand-some locations actually cater and will set up a sundae bar in your yard
Sam Adams Summer Ale
Barbequed Ribs and Chicken
Various side dishes (examples include coleslaw, shrimp cocktail, potato salad)
Decorate with red-and-white checkered table cloths, napkins and paper goods (Lolita found hers at K-Mart) and balloons and streamers from a local party store.