Tips and Ideas for Last-Minute Summer Entertaining
Simple things to have on hand for easy, effortless Summer entertaining. Even when it’s last-minute! These are smart, hardworking, affordable basics that will make having company over and friends gather more fun, and less work. All while looking pretty and festive!
With the long, sunny days it’s not uncommon for impromptu gatherings like swim parties and BBQ cook outs to happen spontaneously! It’s a glorious season full of friends, family & fun.
Some of my favorite items to keep on hand, so I’m always ready for guests:
SERVING TRAYS—these hard working helpers are crucial for getting goods from the kitchen to the entertaining area, en mass. Enlist a few trays and a few helpers and you’ll be done in a jiff.
Natural woven basket trays, metal and melamine are perfect for indoors & out. There are so many fun options available, in a variety of shapes. Galvanized, painted wood. There is something for every taste. I think I’ve got a few of everything. I love them for decorating & entertaining.
PAPER STRAWS—I keep several colors in my kitchen. They just scream; “I’m fun & festive”. From soda to sweet tea, it just tastes better when sucking it through one of these cuties!!
You can get these at many locations and they are available online as well.
Paper can be a life saver, making clean up afterwards much quicker without a massive sink full of dishes, and it’s always easier to have enough when using paper! HomeGoods has become my go-to for really fun patterns & prints. I always find something unexpected. Right now, I’ve got some cute Lobster’s plates tucked aside that are just so fun. Check in often, there is always something new in this department.
Last Christmas I set our breakfast table with a gorgeous Spode pattern that made clean up a breeze and gave me time to take a breather before starting on dinner.
I often mix & match paper and fabric. The burlap napkins, and the paisley table cloth from Nicole Miller are finds I know I’ll enjoy for years to come. You’ll find a super assortment of table TABLE RUNNERS as well! A great way to use them, is to layer a colorful runner over a solid table cloth. It’s a nice way to add new linens, and a great alternative to a full print table cloth.
I love double duty items and versatility! And pitcher deliver in this department. A simple lemonade or tea can be served in style and so much more special… plus, they make wonderful flowers vases as well.
A centerpiece doesn’t have to mean a floral arrangement. Simply gathering interesting items can make the perfect impact! Here, I used a rustic wood table runner, then piled it with a lantern, a hurricane, mason jar & candles.
I am crazy for lanterns. I use mine year round and adore the versatility! They are often safe to use indoors & out. Lanterns look great stuffed with numerous things, and you don’t have to stop at candles. You can literally dress them for any season, and they add loads of ambiance.
DUAL PURPOSE DECOR
This “Sea” lettering stands alone as décor, or hangs on the wall. I’ve used it both ways. It made a great statement on the table in a pinch!
Pretty bowls & platters can be used to serve everything from fruit, to salads and main courses. I like the softness of the wood bowl, and the pretty aqua paint color. It’s perfect layered with a grain sack inspired dish cloth and filled with Summer Peaches. Please make sure to check any of the pieces you buy, sometimes they are decorator only and not food safe.
White dishes. I can’t stress this enough. There is a reason they are a classic go-to. I’ve been collecting them for years. If you don’t have room for several sets, buy your favorite color, or white. With white, it’s easy to buy and store smaller, less expensive pieces like salad & dessert plates to add a punch of color without keeping several sets of full dish sets or dinner plates on hand.
I’ll use a pillow anywhere I can get away with it! This beauty is an indoor version, and in a Captains chair, offers great lumbar support. Pillows offer comfort, but can also quickly and successfully set a mood or vibe for a theme when scattered about.
Outdoor friendly fabric pillows & cushions are wonderful on the deck, patio or around the pool.
BRING IN NATURE
Chances are, if you’re pulling something together last minute, you don’t have time to procure fresh flowers. No worries! A few Fern fronds, or some clippings from a flowering tree or even a lively green branch or two in the right container, will add just the touch of nature you need to make your setting come alive. I’ve had this over-sized vase for many years, and it’s great for adding a few large branches to for instant drama with little work and usually, not a dime spent! Here you can see I added a whimsical wicker sailboat (also available in an anchor & starfish design) to help fill the space. My dessert & coffee dishes are ready and waiting for the main meal time to be over.
It’s my hope that I’ve shared an idea or two that’ll make your next last-minute Summer gathering pretty, while still being quick & easy. And while it’s wonderful to be surrounded by beautiful things, it’s even better to be surrounded by wonderful people.
Cheers to a both, and happy gatherings!!
All the best, Shannon
PS: We have also hosted our share of take-out pizza parties with soda served in red SOLO cups!! When I say it’s all about the family and the company, I really mean it. xo
I’ve included convenient clickable shopping links below for you. Some may be affiliate links. Click here for full disclosure.
SHOPPING SOURCES & INFO:
- Round Wood Mirror [click here]
- Plantation Shutters [click here]
- Glass Vase – Costco
- Glasses – Ross, clearance
- Grey Door – Sherwin Williams in Pussywillow
- Cane Chair – Painted Velvet DIY
- Throw – Under The Canopy
- White Table [DIY, click here]
- White Wood Charger – DIY
- Aqua Bench – DIY
- Aqua Floral Pitcher, Table Linen, Basket/Tray, Aqua Paper Straws, Wicker Sailboat, The Little Things Pillow, Aqua Wood Bowl, “Sea” art, Galvanized Metal & White Wood Lantern via HomeGoods