How to Throw a Sweet Summer Soiree

Host your own casual outdoor party complete with croquet and tea sandwiches. Get three easy DIY projects and pretty recipes, everything you need to celebrate summer in style is right here.

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Dress Up a Dessert in 8 Seconds (or Less!)

Make any dessert recipe worthy of a party with these easy ideas to dress them up. Each dessert idea can be done within 8 seconds!

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Our Latest Party Recipes

It's time to take it outside. We're sharing recipes that are best served al fresco with friends. Salute summer, from drinks to dessert, with the latest recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.

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How to Throw a Vintage Backyard Luau

Say aloha to paradise. With island-inspired decor and pineapple-kissed dishes, your backyard luau will be looking like a vintage oasis in no time. Now crank the Jimmy Buffet and get chilling!

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Summer Party: How To Set Up An Outdoor Bar

The best outdoor parties include a self-serve drink station so no one gets stuck tending bar. Here are three tips for your next event.

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Porch Party: Casual Outdoor Entertaining Ideas

Before the warm weather slips away, call your friends and neighbors over for a porch party. A DIY mojito station and recipe card party favors keep the party fresh and the mood light.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Casual Outdoor Party Ideas

      Guests are likely to linger at this low-key summer affair. Stage seating for easy conversation, spread out a table of make-your-own mojitos, plus offer a few light appetizers. We've collected the recipes in a free booklet.

    • Porch Party Tips

      Late Sunday afternoons are a great time for conversation and get-togethers, says Denise Gee, author of Porch Parties. Denise regularly serves drinks, nibbles, and casual conversation on her own porch. "It's what I called the 'unplanned party plan,'" she says.

       

      Seating at her parties is a mix of a porch swing, solid-color outdoor chairs, and lean-on-the-railing perching. Guests serve themselves at food and drink stations, promoting conversation and movement at her parties.

    • Food Place Cards

      No guessing here -- answer "what's for dinner?" with paper place cards naming the evening's nibbles. Get the free designs, featured in Denise's menu and shown here.

    • Keep Drinks Cold

      A plastic-lined urn is on chill duty: Line this porch staple with a garbage bag, fill with ice, and tuck in an array of sodas and drinks for a grab-as-you-like atmosphere.

    • Party Cocktail Idea

      Dress up your drinks with something special, such as a juicy citrus knot to top off your sipper. The knots are easy to make: Using a sharp peeler or paring knife, cut an orange peel into 1/4-inch-wide strips and tie. You can make them ahead and store them in cold orange juice to up the flavor.

    • Mojito Basics

      At a mojito bar, guests concoct their own fruit-infused libations. Ensure you've got the supplies, leaving room for experimentation.

      To make a mojito, drop a palmful of mint or basil in a glass. Instead of sugar, add a jigger of fruit-flavored simple syrup and rum. Add a couple of teaspoons of fresh lime juice and muddle the herbs. Fill the glass two-thirds full with ice and squeeze in two lime wedges. Top it off with club soda and stir.

    • Free Recipe Booklet

      Get six of Denise's original recipes, plus some of her favorites from Better Homes and Gardens. This free printable makes a great print-and-trim party favor so guests can re-create their party favorites.

      The recipes include:

      • Nannie's Pimiento Cheese
      • Great Guacamole
      • Watermelon Agua Fresca
      • Poteet Strawberry Cakettes with Strawberry Glaze
      • Coconut Shrimp with Mango Sauce
      • And more!
    • Porch Party Fans

      Keep guests comfortable with a few paper fan party favors. Simply trim the edges of heavyweight scrapbook paper and sandwich a clean paint stick between two of them. A bit of glue keeps them intact.

    • Porch Decorations

      Line your railing with these bright paper fans: Start with two large pieces of colored paper (we used 19"x25" drawing paper in two colors). Fold each piece into 1-inch accordion pleats (a bone folder can help with this task), then fold each paper in half to form a fan. Nest one fan inside the other and tape or glue them together. String a ribbon through the narrow end to hang.

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      Next Slideshow Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Throw an outdoor party on a budget -- we have paper decorations, easy snack ideas, and even a fun dip-dye technique that transforms dollar-store napkins into perfect party accessories.
      Begin Slideshow »

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