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Summer Entertaining Tips From New Yorkers Who Throw Great Parties

By Jordi Lippe | June 1, 2017 | People Jan12018_PostCleaning

As New Yorkers, we’ve waited many long and cold months for these precious few weeks of warm weather. And there’s no better way to cherish that than by hosting a summer soirée. We reached out to some of NYC’s top event planners (or just all around good hosts/hostesses) to get their top entertaining tips.

Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart.

“Begin the summer with the perfect cocktail. Prosecco pairs extremely well with a puree of frozen lychees to make a delicious drink for sipping. I actually just launched the perfect accessory for summer hosting—the Martha Stewart Wine Co. The gift sets include a variety of my other favorite bottles and delivers straight to your door—so there’s no pre-party pickup stress! And when asked what I remember most about a meal, my answer is often “the dessert.” A very good bowl of ice cream is about as perfect a dessert as one can find, especially for a warm summer party. One large scoop of ice cream served in an amber-colored, vintage Venetian glass bowl is perfection.”

Stephanie Nass of Victory Club

“Cook with summer fruit—we wait all year for the bounty of the summer harvest. Take advantage of the sweet corn, blueberries, peaches, tomatoes, and watermelons while they are at their peak! Then make sure to serve rosé. This fuss-free cocktail is the perfect way to cool down on a hot summer night. When it comes to the company, invite people to invite friends. My favorite way to meet people is through friends because you already know you have something in common. As you invite people to your summer soirées, remind them that they are welcome to bring people along. And, why not keep a little extra rosé on hand anyway?”

Bethenny Frankel of Skinnygirl Cocktails

Skinnygirl Bethenney Frankel.

“Whenever anyone comes over in the summer, I love to entertain and throw together a quick and easy lunch or picnic with my new line of Skinnygirl Market Fresh Deli. Make it easy for yourself and your guests. I like to create signature cocktails in advance and have them prepared and ready to serve from pitchers. Guests will always go for it—it leaves the thinking out, plus it makes them feel as if they are participating in the party. My last two pieces of advice are having a signature scent (I am obsessed with candles) and always be bussing! Guests notice crumbled napkins, empty glasses, and small dirty plates more than the host does. If you bus throughout the party, it makes clean up easier at the end of the night.”

Amy Shey Jacobs of Chandelier Events

“Right now, everyone is still obsessed with the farm-to-table feel for outdoor entertaining so I don’t think that trend is going anywhere fast. Summer is the height of locavore deliciousness—watermelon, strawberries, tomatoes, and corn—they are all at their height of harvest. This is easy to translate for at-home entertaining. Create an amazing cheese and fruit board with help from the fromagers at Eataly or Murray's. Think: long wood or stone boards, lots of cheeses, olives, dried fruits, honey blends, charcuterie meats, crostinis, fresh breads, delicious vinegars, and olive oil dipping sauces.”

Michael Cerbelli of Cerbelli Creative

Michael Cerbelli.

“Have an all-day event with breakfast, the beach, and a party. First, breakfast at a great beach house, then the beach all day, and, finally, have a themed party until the sun rises. This year, I think we are going old school. We will be seeing vintage beach parties, so think Frankie and Annette meets Gidget, and Cuba-themed parties to celebrate the 1960s and Cuban heritage. At the end of the day, all you need is good food, music, friends, and, of course, laughs! Also, the parties don't have to be too big or over the top. Finally, make sure to be gracious, as well as involved—so eat, drink, and enjoy the event you are throwing.”

Cheryl Gentry of Glow Global Events

“Most guests will go through several drinks at a summer event, especially if it’s outdoors. Keep a range of easily assembled cocktails and lemonade or punch available on a self-serve bar cart or table. And don’t forget the lights—summer parties tend to run late, and if they’re outdoors, it can get pretty dark. String up some simple twinkle lights to create ambiance and help your guests get around with ease.”

Oscar Godwin Osei of EventMates NYC

Oscar EventMates.

“Comfort is very key. For our summer events, we always offer the essentials: sunscreen, bug spray, and Evian water spray bottles, plus some colorful parasols. Presented in a way that fits your aesthetics, these are added details that make guests feel comfortable.”

Danielle Elder of Classic Events

“Summer is all about savoring the moment, so when we plan for our clients to entertain their guests we always slow things down. We recommend that cocktail hour be longer to capture that gorgeous summer light and for dinner to be lots of easy hors d'oeuvres with heavy passed food later on—then guests can simply linger with a drink always in hand. Specialty cocktails are also a must! We encourage clients to choose their favorite liquor and then create a new twist on an old favorite that guests will just have to try. We believe every summer is a fresh start, so why not have them fall in love with something new right there with you. They will remember you and your event for years to come.”

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