by Blake Herzog
Summer parties tend to be a dime a dozen. There are so many of them and they tend to have the same elements; meat comes off the grill, drinks are in buckets and coolers, a cornhole set or dart board is set up in the backyard and the paper plates, plasticware and cups are piling up in the trash.
However, it’s easy to make your own gatherings stand out by injecting luxury and style into the proceedings in ways large and small.
Setting the tone
- Invitations — Whether they’re printed or digital, make sure time and location details are clear for your guests, and include other details that will help them party with minimal fuss like a dress code, parking tips, whether to bring swimwear, requesting information about any dietary preferences or restrictions and whether plus-ones and beyond are welcome.
- Indoor/outdoor options — It’s pretty fair to assume a lot of guests will want to spend most of their time outside, especially in the natural splendor of Northern Arizona, but it’s hard to predict exactly what the temperature and humidity will be like on any given day or how people will respond to it.
Try to make your living room, kitchen and other public areas of your home equally appealing so guests who need to get out of the sun won’t feel like they’re getting a second-rate experience.
- Drink service — A full-service bar is a wonderful amenity at a party, but make sure it’ll have nonalcoholic choices for those who choose not to drink or are looking for a break from the booze beyond seltzer and soda.
If you’re going to have a signature cocktail, make sure to have a mocktail counterpart.
- Bring in a few servers — Nothing conveys luxury like relieving people of the awkwardness of having to search out appetizers and drinks and figure out what to do with the plate and cup after they’re done. Splurging on waitstaff will be greatly appreciated by your guests.
- Entertainment — Hiring musicians to perform at your party will save the time you would have spent toiling over a playlist and create a much more memorable party, helping to elevate it into an event your guests will look back on and hope to repeat.
- The guest list — Focus on bringing together people who you’ll expect to bring enthusiasm and positive energy to the party, keeping in mind which guests know each other or you think might be simpatico.
Try to let them know in advance who they might want to see or meet at the event, and give them a heads up if there’s an ex or someone else they could have an awkward or negative encounter with.
- Thoughtful luxuries — Do everything you can to make attending your party as frictionless as possible for your guests, including extra phone chargers, your Wi-Fi network name and password on prominent display, extra toiletries in the bathroom and maybe even a little something they can take home for breakfast the next day.