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Hosting a summer soiree can be daunting. There are so many questions that come into play. How many people RSVP’d? Will it rain? Is everyone having fun? Will crazy Aunt Linda start talking about her eczema? But don’t let the stress deter you from actually throwing one. We’re here to guide you with easy tips and tricks designed to make any party a raging success.

Don’t Skimp on Prep Work

Do anything and everything ahead of time. This includes cutting lemon and lime wedges for the bar, marinating meat, making dips, setting tables and filling propane tanks. Just think, the more you prep, the less you’ll be running around like a madwoman hours before go time.

Involve Your Guests

Skip the professional bartender and let your pals do the pouring. Just set up a cocktail station or cart with all the fixings and a recipe card with suggestions for a few easy drinks. Bonus: It’ll get strangers talking to each other as they attempt to mix negronis.

Chill Out

Dairy-based dips, shellfish, fruit and salad might not mix well with August heat, but that doesn’t mean you can’t serve them. Prevent food from spoiling by serving it atop a large bowl filled with ice. Voilà!

Give Yourself A Hand

Double-duty products are a hostess's very best friend, and this SANDSKÄR tray table from IKEA is an absolute must. Use the removable tray to carry beverages or appetizers from the kitchen to the backyard, set it down on the base and then get back to work refilling everyone’s sangria.

Ikea Say Yes

Learn To Say Yes

Typically, your guests will ask ahead of time if there’s anything they can bring to the party. Take them up on the offer by requesting things like soda, desserts and appetizers. (Got a pal who can’t cook to save her life? Task her with napkins.)

RELATED: The Super-Easy Secret to Getting the Grill Going Fast

Ikea Fire Torch

Stay Bug-Free

Keep mosquitoes at bay by surrounding your party area with insect-repellent torches, bug-fighting essential oils (tea tree, lavender, lemongrass or rosemary) and citronella candles for a little extra protection.

Have A Backup Plan

Mother Nature has a tendency to show up to parties uninvited. If yours is set outdoors, make sure you have a contingency plan that either brings your guests inside or shields them under a weatherproof tent. Or, you know, set a rain date.

Atmosphere Is Everything

Cover your tables with vibrant colors, fresh flowers and tea lights, and then keep the mood going after dark with lanterns and a fire pit. Hint: If it’s breezy, cover candles with hurricane jars to help them stay lit.

Ikea Leftovers

Account For Leftovers

Got four pounds of guac left over at the end of the night? Instead of stuffing everything into your refrigerator (or throwing it out), send your guests home with some of the goods. Stock up on cheap plastic containers and make everyone a doggie bag before bidding them adieu.

Ikea Have Fun

Have Fun

It takes planning, money and a whole lotta elbow grease to put together a killer party. And look at you--you nailed it! So sit back, relax and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.

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