A Warm Welcome

Your five-step guide to hosting better summer parties

summer hosting tips

Photography: Inge Prins | Stylist: Charl Edwards

Last week we showed you how to take a holiday without leaving the house, and we stand by our advice that a staycation is the best way to enjoy a holiday. However, that doesn’t mean you should become a hermit, and once you’ve created the perfect space you need to invite your family and friends to share it with you. 

Summer entertaining is the best. The days are longer, the food is fresher, the chilled rose is always that much more refreshing and even if you choose not to braai every day you’re still encouraged to dine alfresco. 

Whether it’s a garden picnic, backyard braai or pool party, use our tips to make this your best summer ever. Then simply shop Superbalist so that you can be the host with the most this feastive season. 

summer hosting tips

Beat bad weather

Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean that you’re completely in the clear. Use a weather app to pick the perfect day and then it’s advised that you still have a backup plan. If you’re in the Cape that means the beastly south easterly will enevitably show up at sunset and blow your canapés away, while Joburg and Durban have a high chance of summer showers. An awning, stretch tent or some other sort of cover you can run for is always a good plan B. 

Music makes the mood

Even the most genteel garden picnic can turn into a dance party given the right soundtrack. Premix a couple of playlists that you can title things like ‘welcome drinks’, ‘mingling’, ‘eating’, ‘dancing’, ‘guys it’s time to get an uber’... So that you can just plug and play. If you don’t trust your taste in music then you can be sure that one of the 138 mixes from our Monday Mixtape series will suit your needs. Just make sure you have a decent Bluetooth speaker to stream it via, or an aux cord to plug into, because your cellphone isn’t going to cut it. 

summer hosting tips

Drinks are on the house

Nothing says ‘this is a fancy party’ quite like a welcome-drink. Have a signature cocktail for guests to sip on the minute they arrive. Then you should have a well-stocked barcart for those who prefer to DIY and carafes of fruit-filled Pimms for those who don’t. Otherwise bouquets of beers chilling in buckets, cases of wine, a myriad mixers and a bathtub of ice will stand you in good stead. You should also face the facts before the party even starts that you will sacrifice a couple of glasses to the party gods. Get over it. 

The perfect table

Remember that we eat with our eyes. A party is no place for sensible stodgy foods, you’re not carbo-loading. Instead dress a table with finger foods, colourful tidbits, delicate delights and an edible centrepiece. Then keep the food coming in waves. No need to overcomplicate anything, your guests want you to enjoy the night with them, not lose you to your kitchen, so breads and dips and things like cucumber sticks will do just fine. Bring out platters of food in order to encourage people to congregate in certain areas when you want them there. Then cleanup and replenish the areas they’ve just left. Our ultimate secret weapon is the very versatile lemon. Guests can squeeze into drinks, over food, or use them to wash their hands after sucking on bbq ribs and wings all night. 

summer hosting tips

Do more with your decorations

Flowers, candles, fairy lights, bunting and piñatas all make for party fun. These are all cheap as chips but worth their weight in gold when it comes to setting the scene. However, if you’re smart you’ll use functional items to decorate with, too. We have a new seasonal drop of paper cups, drinking straws, eye-catching napkins, cute cutlery and paper plates in the shape of stars, shells and more. Surprise and delight your guests by doing something quirky like using a surfboard as a server, or decanting tequila and other spirits into hip flasks hidden throughout your home. A basket stuffed with colourful towels or throws allow people to take an impromptu dip or cover up with when things turn chilly. Cushions are not only the best way to bring in colour, they make outdoor spaces much more comfy. 

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Nabeelah Staggie