Summer Party Series: Part 2

Welcome to part two of Maison de Pax’s summer party series!  You can find part one here.

Today I wanted to continue with a few concrete tips on preparing for your next summer party.  In all our hosting (and we host a lot), I have discovered two absolutes:

  • something usually goes wrong at the last minute.
  • something always goes wrong at the last minute if children are involved.
Though I jest (sort of), I have found that the best way to host a successful party (and get to enjoy it yourself!) is to do as many things ahead of time as you can.  Spread the tasks out over a few days, and not only do they seem less intimidating, but you save yourself the stress and potential disaster if a last-minute complication arises.

I have found that there are four major areas that can be tackled at least a day before the party.

1. Drinks
Yes, that is the inside of my refrigerator.  And yes, that is my three-gallon giant-mason-jar-ish drink dispenser filled with water.  In the South in the summer, cold water is a must.  So why not refrigerate it ahead of time?
2. Food
I often prepare dishes ahead of time, too, and refrigerate them until that evening, like these baked beans (because nothing says summer like a barbecue meal!).
I even slice bread ahead of time (though be sure to wrap it back up so it doesn’t dry out!).  This is one of those things that will only take a moment, but if you leave it until the last minute, something will undoubtedly get in the way.
3. Bathrooms
Though cleaning up your living room or play room a day ahead is rather fruitless because your kids simply make another mess (or is it just mine?!?!), you can usually keep a bathroom from being destroyed.  Hopefully.  Make sure you have something that smells nice (especially in the summer when people are just hot and stinky anyway!).  We keep dried lavender in our powder room, and I love how it looks and smells.
And make sure you have your Kleenex hand towels ready.  They’re a great way to limit the spread of germs, especially when there’s a crowd (because your hands are only as clean as the towel on which you dry them).  I was so pleased how well this box matched our upstairs bath (they have a variety of cute designs).
And though our downstairs bath has a towel ring instead of a bar, a stack of the Kleenex hand towels works perfectly on the window ledge by the sink.
4. Decorations
For last week’s party, I left my American flag mason jar centerpiece (it’s still July, so there’s nothing wrong with some patriotic decor!).  I also came in that afternoon to find my one year old standing on a chair and beating the flowers with his toy.
Perfect. example.  But it was fine.
I was not rushing to fill drink dispensers for 25 people.  They had been filled and other drinks chilled for two days.
I was not rushing to prepare food for 25 people.  Most of the food was already in the oven and dishes were already washed because I had made the food early that morning.
I was not rushing to stock bathrooms for 25 people.  That was done the previous day.
And I was not throwing together decorations…  which gave me time to salvage them as best I could.  It’s amazing how lovely plain green leaves can look in American flag mason jars. 😉
Now I know that none of these tips are rocket science, but they sure do improve the party prep and keep me from being too exhausted to enjoy my company.  And the people are what matters, right?

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls Collective and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.


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