16 Easy Summer Party Ideas

Gather inspiration for a casual outdoor gathering from one of our easy summer party ideas. From dinner on the deck to a festive taco buffet, your options are endless for a no-fuss summer party.

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11 Fun Ideas for Decorating a Cake with Candy

Make a birthday cake or other special day cake oh-so-adorable with candies! Cookbook author and stylist Libbie Summers shares 11 super-simple ways that cinnamon candies, jellybeans, maltballs, and other sweet favorites can make you look like a professional cake decorator in minutes.

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Coconut Cream Island Punch, The Cutest 5-Ingredient Cocktail Ever!

Make our DIY party cocktail -- that includes just a few tasty ingredients -- for an adults-only drink everyone can agree on. Cut-up star fruit provides a gorgeous base inside your drink pitcher.

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Sugar-Coated Ice Cream Social

I scream, you scream … You know the drill. Host a sugar-coated ice cream social the kiddos will love -- with cereal necklaces, paper crowns, candy truffles, and a whimsical ice cream truck. Go on and get celebrating!

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Pitcher Cocktail Recipes

Where there's a pitcher, there's a party. Whether you're brunching, dinner partying, or hosting a (very) happy hour, these fun pitcher cocktail recipes are sure to hit the spot. Find icy margaritas, fruity sangria cocktails, spiked punch, and more!

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Tips for a Home Wedding

Thinking of a sweetly simple backyard wedding? Here's what to consider before you commit.

What could be simpler than having a wedding and reception at home? While at first the idea might seem to be the easiest and least expensive option, be aware that there can be some costs and obstacles you may not have considered.

For example, you will probably need to either rent (or borrow) nearly all of the amenities. These items include tables, chairs, tents, and a dance floor. For a large group you may also need to rent china, glassware, and silverware as well.

Next, evaluate the house itself to determine whether it is, indeed, a good building for the size of your gathering.

Listed below are some questions to ask:

  • Is the kitchen properly equipped and large enough to prepare the food and/or accommodate a catering staff? One average-size refrigerator, for example, may not be sufficient to hold all of the wedding day food. Are there enough ovens, sinks, and counter space for preparation, baking, and cleanup?
  • Is there a suitable spot in the yard large enough to handle the ceremony itself or the reception tables? Do you have a level area for a rented tent and/or dance floor? What is your backup plan if the day is hot, cold, or rainy and the event must move indoors?
  • Is there an indoor space big enough to hold the number of guests invited? Will you need to rearrange furniture to handle the chairs needed for the ceremony and the tables and chairs needed for the reception? If so, will you need to put furniture in storage to make room for the event?
  • Is your home air conditioned in case of hot weather, or properly heated in winter?
  • Is your floor plan sufficient with wide pathways to handle mingling guests as well as waitstaff who will need to carry trays of food, drinks, and dessert?
  • Is there space for a bar, DJ, or band? How about power outlets, a stage, or sound system?
  • Are there easily accessible bathrooms suitable for the number of guests who will attend?
  • Do you have room for overnight guests (relatives or the wedding party), or will they need to stay in a hotel? Are there enough changing rooms for the wedding party?
  • Can your guests park their cars nearby? You might consider hiring a valet or shuttle bus service, especially if the parking needs to be a good distance from the house.
  • Is the neighborhood suited to hosting this type of gathering? Will any of your neighbors complain about crowded parking, delivery trucks, or music after 9 p.m.?
  • Are your interiors ready for guests? Think twice about inviting 50 guests if your carpets are white, you have a multitude of fragile knick-knacks, or will fret about every spill.
  • Certainly every house will present its own rewards as well as challenges. But no matter what obstacles you're faced with when planning a home wedding, one thing's for sure -- there's no place like home!

More: A Backyard Wedding

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