Almost Effortless Entertaining {for less!}

Simple touches and affordable details can make summer hostessing a cinch.


Go glamping. When temperatures soar, forget fussy settings and set up a glamp table (glam + camp!). A clean, bare picnic table can be a canvas for your meal. Pair metal camping plates – they don’t have to match – with pretty glassware and serving vessels for a look that’s rustic with a touch of luxe.


Natural servingware. It’s nothing new, but a summery melon bowl of fruit salad is always a crowd pleaser. Make it your own by creating individual portion sizes in citrus cups or coconut halves. Or, punch it up, like this watermelon punch bowl from Martha Stewart.

Be playful. Have a croquet set handy, or go retro with a game of lawn darts. Sunny days can sap your energy, but some simple activities will get guests mingling and won’t require much setup. Horseshoes, ladder toss, and bean bag toss are enjoyable games for any age.

Cool cocktails. Adults-only beverages make fun and refreshing treats. Frozen strawberry-peach vodka Collins popsicles from Endless Simmer don’t just look pretty, they taste delicious, too. Make sure to have plenty of non-alcoholic versions on hand as well.

Simple supping. Prepare several no-cook nibbles in advance; an antipasto or tapas style menu will give your guests a variety to choose from. Pickled vegetables, cured meats, hard cheeses, tomatoes and fresh mozzarella, nuts, canned fish such as sardines or Italian style tuna in olive oil, bread, and prepared dips, like spinach or hummus, are all classic options.

Mood Lighting. Soft lighting sets the tone for an intimate dinner, while festive strands light up the night for a party. These, from Pottery Barn, can decorate your table or be hung for more ambiant light. They also make a simple DIY project; all you will need are Mason-style jars, heavy floral wire, wire cutters, and votive candles, regular or flameless. Step-by-step instructions can be found at Offbeat Bride.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out some other warm weather party ideas.