Summer Entertaining Essentials! - Prep Essentials

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Summer Entertaining Essentials!

August might be just around the corner, but I am going to cling to summer for a long as possible (and given how hot it has been lately, I think Chicago agrees!) Summertime is always interesting in Chicago because it's almost like you live a dual life when you live here - your summer life, and your winter life. 

Summer is filled with nonstop action. Cubs Games, rooftops, brunch (and more brunch, and more brunch), friends in town every possible weekend, and friends' seizing every possible opportunity to grill outside or (if you're lucky) head out on Lake Michigan on someone's boat. Anyone want to take me?! 

Winter is...different. If you move here, everyone will fairly dramatically emphasize how horrible the winters here are. Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I personally really don't think it's anything that the rest of the Midwest doesn't also experience (looking at you, Ohio). Something about the cold weather here though makes everyone hibernate and stay at home. The social calendar is almost completely empty (which could in part be due to the three-months-long and way-overdue nap needed from all the summer socializing!) and people really seem to keep to themselves. 

You might be thinking, well obviously people stay inside in the winter, it's freezing! But trust me, this is different than anything I've seen. I will suddenly go a full month without seeing friends that I normally see several times a week!


With all of that in mind - that means that now is the time to P-A-R-T-Y in the Windy City and I plan to take full advantage! Here are some of my summer entertaining and decorating essentials to help you host the perfect soiree for you and your friends while the sun is still shining!

Lights & Lanterns
Scrolling through all of my "patio inspiration" photos - definitely the most common ingredient is lights everywhere! Whether it's lanterns, string lights, or candles, this is a super inexpensive and gorgeous way to transform the space. Shop some of my favorites below!



Drink Up
Whether you're having a cocktail party with summery and refreshing beverages, or just trying to keep it casual with lemonade and iced tea, it's all about presentation! Help your guests beat the heat and stay cool by having all of the right supplies. (Personally, I'm partial to having fun cups or straws year-round!) There are all kinds of creative, easy and inexpensive ways to store ice and drinks outside, like some of my favorites below:


*Pro Tip: some of the beverage tubs are also perfect for storing firewood in the winter, and you can easily paint them any color you want!

Time to Dine
The best part about summer parties and BBQs is, obviously - the food! I'm all about finger food when it comes to backyard soirees (to keep your hands free for cornhole, obviously!) so having the right serving trays is all you need. Add in some non-breakable cocktail or drink glasses and you're good to go! My parents' friends all swear by these shatter-proof stemless wine glasses, and I totally agree!




PS - can you tell I have a thing for pineapples right now?!

The Little Essentials:
Obviously there are a million ways to style or theme a summer soiree, but with these basics covered, you really can't go wrong! If you're from the Midwest or even farther up north (especially Michigan!) then you know all too well what it's like to experience 95 degree heat and 45 degree nights around a bonfire all within the course of a few hours! Make sure to have some cozy pillows, throw blankets, and of course some games to keep the party going into the night.




Set the Tone
Of course you can't have any party without the right music to set the tone. This playlist is absolutely perfect for keeping up the summer vibes and good feelings for all of your guests.

What are your summer entertaining essentials?

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