What's Hot in Summer Entertaining

With warmer weather and longer days, summer is meant for parties. We've pulled together the top trends you have to try for your gatherings this season.

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May 16, 2019
By: Chelsey Bowen
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Water Bars

Infuse pitchers of water with different flavors for a hydrating drink that pleases everybody's taste buds. Some of our favored combinations: strawberry-cucumber, raspberry-orange and pineapple, mint and ginger.

Seafood Boil

Whether you go simple with shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes or add in extra crustaceans, such as lobsters, crab or crawfish, this easy-to-throw-together meal is a major crowd pleaser. The simplicity is evident — throw everything in one pot (check recipes for the order since potatoes take longer than shrimp), drain the water, dump everything in the center of the table and dig in.

Edible Table Runner

Move over flowers, there's a new centerpiece in town. Transform the middle of your table into a complete smorgasbord with an edible table runner. Combine charcuterie, fruits, cheeses and nuts in an artful display that's also everyone's favorite appetizer.

Beer Garden Party

Throw a backyard beer garden party, complete with brats, pretzels with cheese dip and of course, plenty of beer. This built-in keg keeps your choice brew on tap for last-minute gatherings. Alternately, fill a cooler or galvanized bucket with ice and a mix of top-notch ales.

Globe String Lights

Stringing lights have illuminated backyards for a while now, but this summer, we're loving the globe bulb trend. The rounded shape is an update on the traditional bulb and still maintains the enchanted feel that string lights bring to any outdoor space.

Creative Condiment Displays

Get clever with your condiments by creating a bar that ditches typical small bowls for something unexpected. Here, tiny terracotta pots are used to display the toppings for this Mexican fiesta.

Fruit Popsicles

Guaranteed to please both kids and adults, fruit popsicles are the quintessential summer dessert. Make your own by pureeing fresh fruit and pouring into a mold to freeze. Mix it up by adding yogurt to make them creamy or adding thinly sliced fruit for a cool aesthetic.

Botanical Place Cards

Incorporate nature into your table setting with botanical place cards. Use a metallic permanent marker to write guests' names on magnolia leaves.

Bruschetta Bar

Everyone loves a build-your-own bar and this summer, it's bruschetta's turn. Grill or toast bread and then set out a mixture of toppings for guests to create their own delicious masterpiece. Have a combination of pestos and tapenades, along with mozzarella, prosciutto and salami. Top it all off with tomatoes, eggplant, white beans and sautéed mushrooms.

Big Batch Cocktails

No need to be constantly behind the bar mixing up drinks for your guests. Make a big batch of cocktails in a pitcher or dispenser and everyone can serve themselves. Spiked punch or sangria are easy to make and mean you can enjoy the evening as much as your guests.

Bug Spray and Sunscreen Station

Keep everyone comfortable at your next soiree by keep bug spray and sunscreen handy. No one wants bites or a sunburn to take home with them.

Sidewalk Chalk Art

Entertain kids and adults alike with sidewalk chalk. It's inexpensive and the possibilities are endless. Let your imagination go wild drawing Mary Poppins-like creations on the ground.

Peppery Cocktails

Get spicy with pepper-infused cocktails. This twist on a Bloody Mary combines green heirloom tomatoes with pepper-flavored vodka and green olives for a tongue-tingling drink.

Recipe: Green Bloody Mary Martini

Hanging Daybed

Relax into the soft sway of a hanging daybed. Not only are they cozy and perfect for seating a crowd, they're just plain fun.

Go Eco-Friendly

Instead of adding more paper and plastic to the landfills, opt for dishes and silverware that are a little kinder to Mother Earth. Look for reusable outdoor plates and utensils or even better, use the stuff you already own. Pull out your simple white plates, silverware and cloth napkins for a no-waste alternative.

Picnic in a Jar

Another reduce-and-reuse option is filling all of your jelly or Mason jars with one of your courses. Jars are perfect for no-mess salads or desserts, like these banana puddings.

Movie Under the Stars

One summer entertaining idea that never goes out of style is an outdoor movie. Project a fan favorite, like The Sandlot, Jurassic Park or Finding Nemo, onto a white sheet or screen. Throw blankets and pillows on the grass, pop popcorn and have coolers full of drinks for a relaxing get-together everyone will enjoy.

How to Make an Easy DIY Outdoor Movie Screen

Cozy Up to a Fire Pit

Those hot summer days turn into cool evenings. Have a fire pit ready for when the sun goes down, and hot dogs and s'mores standing by in the wings for a late-night snack.

Furniture That Moves

When you have a group over, pull out all your garden stools and ottomans so that everyone has a place to perch, as well as to sit their drinks and plates. Mobile furnishings give your party an easy flow so guests can rearrange as need be.

Camping Indoors

Don't let a sudden thunderstorm ruin your outdoor fun. Take the party inside and pitch a tent. Turn off the lights and pull out lanterns and flashlights, make s'mores in the oven or microwave and spread out a blanket for a picnic.

See More Photos: 10 Indoor Camping Ideas Your Kids Will Love