The Secrets of Stress-Free Outdoor Hostessing

By Emma Zayat

Summer is in full swing and an outdoor soiree is on everybody’s mind.

While we do love a weekend getaway to explore new cities and to refresh and recharge, there is truly nothing like spending a weekend at home with your friends and family. When dreaming of the perfect get-together, does your mind wander through images of chic tablescapes, your best friends sipping on delicious beverages, and your children happily (and independently!) splashing in the pool - while mouth-watering aromas drift in from the kitchen? Sigh. 

Sometimes the idea of where to begin can feel daunting. Here are some tried and successful tips to make hosting both easy and enjoyable for you and your guests!

All you need is a delicious menu, the right gear, and the perfect outfit to make it an unforgettable time.

Tip #1: An Easy and Delicious Menu

Most important to your guests will be that you get to hang-out, and are not spending the entire party cooking and running back and forth to the kitchen. The way to achieve this is definitely not to overreach with complicated recipes but instead to have go-to staples that are quick and impressive.

Your guests will be happy with simple bites.

Set up a few grab-able nibbles like fresh fruit, crudité, chips with salsa and guacamole, and some candied nuts, along with a simple hors d'oeuvre like (my personal fave) toasted baguette bread topped with tomato bruschetta. You can make your own or buy from the store! These quick bites will hold your guests off until your main dishes come out.

And for when it’s time for the real deal, these next dishes are fan-favorite during my get-togethers.

  • this delicious shaved brussel sprouts salad (shhh! I buy pre-shaved brussels)
  • of course, a DIY slider/taco station! All you need to put out are buns/taco shells, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, pre-packaged cabbage slaw, canned corn and beans, shredded cheese and your choice of protein.
  • our favorite 5-minute summer salad

Anything ‘make-your-own’ is ideal for hosting. Essentially your guests are making their own meal and all you need to do is provide the ingredients!

I love these three recipes because they are super easy to put together and can be prepared in advance! With these crowd-pleasing choices, your menu will steal the show. 

woman drinking aperol spritz in summer dressIt is also important to keep your guests hydrated, with all types of drinks, of course. Nothing says summer like cold lemonade or fruit infused water. I love using this beverage dispenser that will make your guests feel like they are away on that island vacay!

Which leads me to the surefire home run - the DIY cocktail bar. It’ll only take a few minutes of prep. Provide soda, liquor, garnishes and glasses with ice et Voila! You get to relax and enjoy yourself, and your guests have a great time playing bartender. 

Tip #2: The Right Gear + Ambiance

Two words: Necessities Kit! I love having a ready-to-go designated space for all the items I need for outdoor entertaining. Having this designated place with all the necessities makes your life as a host so much easier. Here is what I keep in my kit, and I recommend you do, too:

Make your guests feel comfortable outdoors. On those hotter days, stock your kit with all the necessities to keep your guests safe and happy outdoors - sunscreen, bug spray, paper fans, and extra sunglasses are key items to have on hand.

A vase of fresh flowers goes a long way, and can be cut right from the garden. For a crisp early evening get together - have a few hurricanes with candles and throw blankets on hand.

Tip #3:  A Chic Outfit

My final tip and trick ties your whole summer event together. An effortlessly stylish dress is the perfect outfit for a summer soiree and will make you look like an A+ hostess. Summer style is all about the light and easy breezy outfits that can take you from the pool to the patio.

Don’t try a new look you aren't sure about, haven't pre-tried on or haven’t worn before. You want to be comfortable; no tugging, pulling, or falling down! Our Tracy Dress (in the new fresh white color) and our Elizabeth One Piece paired with our Rachel Skirt and your favorite shades is the perfect combination of both comfortable and chic. Go from hanging in the pool with your little ones to being the most fashionable hostess in an instant.

If you are prepared, clever and efficient (with the right necessities and a chic outfit) you will be a fabulous hostess and enjoy yourself! 

We want to hear all about your hostessing successes this summer. Send us pics or a message and #MyChangeofScenery or tag us @shopchangeofscenery.

+ Looking for the perfect hostess outfit? Try our multi-purpose Kelly Dress for your evening party.

+ Need something to go from the pool to the party? Style our Jessica Top with our effortlessly easy Suzanne Dress


Emma Zayat is a rising junior at New York University studying marketing, economics, and media. She lives in NYC's  East Village, and in her free time is a stylist for several major brands. Emma is currently interning for Change of Scenery and The Female Quotient.

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