It’s finally warm enough here in the Midwest to have dinner outside.   My screened-in porch is one of my favorite places to be when the weather is nice, and it’s definitely my favorite place to enjoy meals and have fun with friends.

If you struggle with entertaining, summer entertaining might be just what turns things around.  Summer entertaining is expected to be way less elaborate because if the weather is nice, aside from serving a bit of food, there isn’t much more you need to do.

No need to deep clean the house, just set up a table and some chairs outside, turn on some music and enjoy a much more casual atmosphere than a standard dinner party.

I also love impromptu summer entertaining – which happens often around our house.  We’ll be off doing whatever we do on the weekends – at the soccer field, a swim meet, farmer’s market, etc. and we run into friends.  It feels natural to invite them to come over afterwards for a drink or game of cards.  Right?

Spending time with others is the BEST way to deepen relationships, and it can be tons of fun too.  Strong relationships are a key to a happier and healthier life.

Here are a few of my favorite outdoor/summer entertaining tips:

  1.  Keep it simple. Throw together a cheese and cracker plate with whatever is in the fridge and pantry.  Add a few fresh veggies, pickles or even fruit and it can be lovely and tasty.
  2. Bring your own.  Not sure if you have enough drinks on hand?  Enjoy tastings with friends where everyone brings a few different drinks to share.  It’s fun, instant entertainment and there isn’t much to prepare ahead of time.
  3. Make it comfortable.  Ensure you have enough seating, and if you don’t, maybe you can borrow chairs from a neighbor.  In a pinch I’ve brought the kitchen chairs outside – it works.
  4. Have fun.  Don’t stress – the point of these casual gatherings isn’t to impress anyone, it’s to have fun and enjoy your friendships.  No one is relaxed if the hostess is stressed out.
  5. Think of things to do.  If conversation isn’t flowing, introduce a game of cards or set up an outdoor game like croquet or cornhole.  If you have a firepit, light it and roast marshmallows.

I hope you take the time to enjoy summer this year, and entertaining outdoors is a great way to do it.  If you have tips of your own, please share them!

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