Thank you to Pier 1 Imports for partnering on today’s post.
Can you believe we’re almost to summer?!? I looked up and realized my son only has 3 weeks of school left and then he’ll be home for summer break and we have made zero plans! Sometimes that works out best though, just to let us relax into summer and once we’ve had our fill of staying in pajamas all day and being lazy bums, maybe sign up for a few camps or something. I learned my lesson a few years ago not to go crazy committing my son to summer things because that year, after I enrolled him in a few things, on Day 1 when I went to drop him off, he looked at me with those big eyes and said, “I just want to stay home.” So we left and came back home and I ended up cancelling those plans.
One thing is for sure though, we love to get together with our neighbors and all the kiddos and casually hang out. It’s a great way to get outside in the fresh air and enjoy summertime without too much fuss. Today, I’m sharing how you can plan a stress-free summertime block party, or simple neighborhood get-together.
Unlike the party I threw for Jordan’s first birthday, a neighborhood party can be much more impromptu and easy if you combine efforts with your guests so no one person is bearing all the party load. Here are my 5 Tips for keeping the party fun and stress-free!!
My wonderful friend Begonia lent us her backyard so we could play “party dress up” and give you some inspiration for the party. But all you really need is some friends, some food and drink and a laid back attitude to ensure a successful gathering. The pretty setting and decorations are just the icing on the cake!
You don’t need a fancy, printed invite to set a fun tone for your party. You can save time, money and energy by sending a simple text that alerts people to the date and time and encourages them to come! If you happen to see your neighbors regularly, on a nightly walk, for example, you can obviously extend the invitation face-to-face, but following up with a text allows them to set a reminder or save the date in their phone or on their calendar and have something written to refer to.
We all know how busy we can be these days, and often, unless we put a set date on the calendar, our well-intentioned, “let’s get together sometimes” may never actually happen!
The easiest way to host a backyard party is to make it pot-luck, where everyone shares in the responsibility of adding to the menu. That way no one gets overwhelmed with the shopping, food prep and cost of providing everything. Maybe you tell everyone you’ll be grilling, and ask them to bring some meat, a side dish, dessert or drinks.
Having guests bring a dish is a great way to add new recipes to your own kitchen. My friend Karen makes a mean salad and I’m always getting inspired by her take on how to mix colorful ingredients. Another friend Melissa makes the best chocolate chip cookies and they are always highly requested.
Similarly, if you need more chairs, ask people to bring one or two. Or an extra folding table to set food and drinks on. People usually love to help in this way and then they feel more like they’ve contributed to the success of the shindig.
When it comes to desserts, I love the semi-homemade variety for deliciousness and ease! A store bought pound cake gets freshened up with ripe berries and a pecan pie can easily be served with a side of vanilla ice cream.
For me, this is one of the most fun parts of entertaining! You get to pull out all your playful decorative pieces to set a nice table or simply stack the plates and utensils up at the end of a buffet table and let people grab and go.
I found these bright and colorful plates at Pier 1 Imports and they are perfect for outdoor parties because they are made of durable melamine. The colors are so vibrant and fun, definitely lending to the happy party vibe!
I also found this stemware at Pier 1 Imports and it’s a nice way to elevate the table from plastic cups, but there’s definitely nothing wrong with using those either! We used these same glasses at our Cinco de Mayo block party and they were a hit! They are acrylic, so nice and lightweight and you don’t have to worry about them breaking.
Setting your outdoor table doesn’t have to be complicated, just add a mix of playful colors and vary the height of your serving platters for visual interest and variety. Fresh flowers are always a welcome decor element!
I sort of fell in love with this embroidered table runner and used the colors in it- blues, oranges and yellows to set the color palette for the rest of the table.
It’s worth reminding ourselves to relax and enjoy being outside, our friends, and the party! Often we get wrapped up in making sure everyone else is having a good time and spend the whole time running around instead of just stopping to slow down and just be a guest at our own party!
You’ve created a pretty space and brought people together to enjoy it, so you should too! Savor the food, toast the drinks, and lick the dessert plate clean!
Finally, it will probably be much easier to accomplish #4 (Enjoy Yourself), if your kids are occupied and having fun playing. Bring out the balls, bubbles, squirt guns or for the creative types, some crayons and paper or coloring books. Most of the time, the kids will just be running around, chasing each other and playing on their own, but it can’t hurt to give them a few ‘tools’ to help get them going.