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Beat the heat: tips for throwing party in the summer 

Sarah Hall offers tips for summer entertaining

click to enlarge A canoe-shaped tea and lemonade station (with alcohol spikers) lets guests serve themselves.

Photo courtesy Joel Catering and Events

A canoe-shaped tea and lemonade station (with alcohol spikers) lets guests serve themselves.

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."

click to enlarge Strategic use of shade tents keeps things cool. - PHOTO COURTESY JOEL CATERING AND EVENTS
  • Photo courtesy Joel Catering and Events
  • Strategic use of shade tents keeps things cool.

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."

click to enlarge Chilled corn soup is a light, refreshing snack. - PHOTO COURTESY JOEL CATERING AND EVENTS
  • Photo courtesy Joel Catering and Events
  • Chilled corn soup is a light, refreshing snack.

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."

click to enlarge Shade and a water feature create a breezy feeling. - PHOTO COURTESY JOEL CATERING AND EVENTS
  • Photo courtesy Joel Catering and Events
  • Shade and a water feature create a breezy feeling.

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."

click to enlarge Fruit salad helps guests stay hydrated. - PHOTO COURTESY JOEL CATERING AND EVENTS
  • Photo courtesy Joel Catering and Events
  • Fruit salad helps guests stay hydrated.
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