Summer Entertaining for the Unprepared
How to plan a party, whether you have 10 days or 10 minutes
Back in March--when you were cold (and antisocial)--you booked a slew of summer plans. Now that it’s time to actually follow through on all of them, you’re in a party-planning tizzy.
No one should spend her precious days slaving away over DIY lanterns.
Instead, take a look at our list of quick and easy tricks for whipping up a get-together in as little as ten minutes.
If You Have 10 Minutes
The book-club gals just called and Karen’s house is now off-limits for tonight’s gathering… so they’ll be over in 10. Here’s what you do: Focus on the bathroom. It’s the one place you really need to be spotless. Wipe down the mirror, refill the toilet paper, dim the lights and light a candle.
If You Have 30 Minutes
Mom and Dad--plus your brother and his five kids--are in town, and everyone would love to stop by for lunch on your patio. Here’s what you do: Make a beeline for the grocery store to pick up a rotisserie chicken and a few bottles of sparkling lemonade. (Use the self-checkout; it’s faster.) Then rush home and make a quick green salad, dressed with freshly cracked pepper and a few glugs of olive oil. Pour the beverage for both grownups and kids, and you’ve got your very own Frenchy lunch date.
If You Have 1 Hour
Oops. You promised to host your best friend’s “I (finally) got the promotion” party, but you completely forgot to buy a cake on your way home from work. Well, gang, here’s what you do: Try this recipe for Smucker’s Fruit & Honey no-bake triple berry cheesecake. It can be whipped up right before dinner, chilled during the meal and then brought out (to great accolades) for dessert. You win.
If You Have 1 Day
Your in-laws are coming for dinner, and you’ve fretted over the menu for weeks. Now that you’ve perfected your recipe for grilled flank steak in lemon-herb sauce, set your sights on prepping your house. Here’s what you do: Set the table the night before. This is a major time-saver, plus it’s also your moment to do a quick inventory check and figure out if you do, in fact, need to run that tablecloth through the wash.
If You Have 1 Week
Your neighbors decided to be neighborly and arranged a block party. You have your food contributions under control, but it’s too late to book the bouncy house for the young’uns. Here’s what you do: Plan an activity. Whether it’s laying out a slew of Twister mats, setting up a few cornhole boards or arranging an outdoor movie once the sun sets, family-friendly entertainment = a smashing party.
If You Have 1 Month
First of all, congrats on thinking so far ahead. You probably don’t even need our help, but just in case you’re struggling to find a date that works for everyone, here’s what you do: Get the app Doodle. This tool sends out a message to your invitees and asks them to check the dates they are available. It then aggregates all possible days and narrows them down to the ones that work for everyone. Genius or what?