This week I’m honored to be linked up with some of America’s top entertaining experts to bring you everything you need to kick off a fantastic summer barbequing season.

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Party planning, mixology, printables, home entertaining tips and everything you need to face the outdoor entertaining season with relaxed confidence will be shared by some of my friends (see all of their links at the bottom of the post), specifically Coryanne, from Housewife Bliss, who was our inspiration in pulling this together.

This is the month when I really start thinking about summer barbecuing for family and friends. I just love taking advantage of the fresh, homegrown foods that we grow in our garden beds, the strawberries that are plentifully flowering right now, and the farmer’s market is not too far from my house for the produce that we do not grow. It’s only a hop, skip, and a jump away!

Summer entertaining is a Reluctant Entertainer’s dream, because you don’t have to clean your house.

With a summery night, you don’t have to do much to make it magical.

Not much thought has to go into the table setting. Set it simply and use paper napkins. For a larger group, using a mix of chairs around the tables is perfect. Picking a few fresh flowers and adding some herbs from the herb bed makes a very simple centerpiece.

And don’t forget to get the kids involved in helping out with easy chores.

There’s just nothing like the flavor of a barbeque, and the ease of not a lot of kitchen mess. I love how the men always mingle around the BBQ. :)

It’s really the perfect time of year to get together to celebrate different events, or just being together, in our own backyards, on patios, or even at a front-yard porch party!

Planning a Summer Barbeque Dinner Party

1. Get your outdoor entertaining space cleaned and ready for summer.

2. Set the date and time; invite the guests.

3. Plan the menu, choosing recipes that you can make ahead and that are easy to serve. Delegate aspects of the meal to keep it affordable, getting back with your guests on what you’d like for them to bring.

4. Think ahead to how many tables and chairs you’ll need and the linens you’ll be using.

5. Look in the yard for flowers, herbs, greenery – or head up to the Farmer’s Market – to make a simple tablescape.

6. If you have kids coming, what fun things will they do? Badminton, swimming, lawn games, board games … have something in mind so they won’t be bored.

7. Is your ITunes play list ready, or Internet hooked up, so you can play music from Pandora?

8. Make sure the BBQ has enough coals, tools are cleaned, and tiki torches filled with citronella.

9. The day of, set the table, using plenty of citronella votive candles to ward off the bugs, and make sure the “guest” bathroom is clean.

10. Do your prep work in the kitchen to make the night as simple as can be.

11. No matter what drinks you’ll be serving, always have plenty of water accessible for your guests.

11. Go over your “check-list” and make sure you completed your tasks.

12. Get yourself showered and ready for a fun summer night. Dress lite, as the last thing you want as the hostess is to be overheated.

The goal for summer entertaining is to show up to your own party calm, cool, and collected. Ready to welcome your guests into your home, to show them you care and that you want to get to know them more. Rather than being frazzled and overwhelmed, it pays to plan ahead and to be organized.

As I always say here at RE, nothing has to be perfect. Let the imperfections go and if something unexpected happens, it’s okay.

Go with the flow, put your guests first (and your pride last), and learn to move on.

It will be the best gift to yourself and to the beautiful people in your backyard.

(It’s tradition for me to take a picture of the women when they come to my house for dinner.) :)

Are you thinking about hosting a summer dinner party? Out of the 12 tips given, are there any you’d like for me to explore further?

Don’t forget to visit the ladies from The Great American BBQ Blog Hop:

The Daily Basics Cynthia’s blog is fabulous daily inspiration for getting back to basics and enjoying life again.
Party Blue Prints Dawn offers great sources for planning the perfect party.
Second City Soiree Jen, The Chicago hostess, offers a wealth of creative ideas for hosting events.
Celebrations at Home Chris is a Virginia Event Planner who offers fabulous advice for celebrations at home.
Intoxicologist Cheri is a nationally recognized mixologist who creates drinks for every occasion.
Housewife Bliss Coryanne has a passion and shares her love for the traditional domestic arts.