From barbecues and pool parties to mint juleps on the porch, summer presents a seemingly endless array of outdoor options for entertaining — as well as a correspondingly high Fahrenheit. How can hosts take advantage of the great outdoors while keeping guests' comfort in mind? Sarah Hall, president of Joel Catering & Special Events, shares a few tips for summer entertaining.
Make sure shade and fans are available.
If you have built-in shade thanks to a carport or porch, add a few standing fans and you're good to go, Hall says. "If it's out in the sun, try adding some tents and consider a little cooling station under a tent with fans and iced tea and water," Hall says. "Personal embossed fans are a great touch that lets guests know you're watching out for them."
Help guests stay hydrated.
"Make sure your guests have access to plenty of cool, nonalcoholic fluids with self-serve spa water stations near the restrooms, next to the bar and definitely near the dance floor," Hall says.
Lighten up the menu.
"Feature lighter fare that's easier to digest on hot days," Hall says. "Some of our favorites are tomato burrata pesto salad, grilled watermelon, and chilled corn soup."
Pass the SPF.
"Overexposure to the sun will leave guests feeling sluggish and puts a damper on the fun," Hall says. "Offer guests sample-size sunscreen and pass around a basket of funny or personalized sunglasses or hats to help shade your guests from the sun."
Exercise caution with cakes.
"Hot weather and frosting can be one drippy mess," Hall says. "Picking the right kind of filling and frosting is important. Avoid buttercream and whipped cream for sure."