Not only is summer a time to travel and spend some time outside in nature, it's also a time for entertaining and hosting the people you love most. With time off work and warm weather, there's no reason not to throw a party or two before Labor Day. If you're looking for summer party ideas, why not learn from the best? Laguna Beach and The Hills alum Lo Bosworth certainly knows how to throw a party. In between managing her personal blog, The Lo Down, and acting as chief executive of Love Wellness, a health brand she founded, Bosworth can be found entertaining in her Los Angeles home.
"For me, coming back to L.A. and getting a home here has allowed me to have so much more space, so I knew that I wanted it to be a home that was full of friends and family all of the time," Bosworth tells MyDomaine. Ahead, she shares how she makes the most of her space and entertains guests like a pro. Here are nine of the best summer party ideas guaranteed to make any event a smash (and a recipe for Bosworth's favorite summer cocktail).
Decorate with entertaining in mind
Upon moving into her new L.A. home, Bosworth kept entertaining top of mind so she could have a welcoming place to host loved ones once the decorating was complete. "I wanted to make sure that I had a great outdoor entertaining space and also an amazing dining room inside the house," she says.
Plan ahead, and think about the spaces you want to create for hosting when first decorating your home or giving your space a refresh. Bosworth recommends shopping All Modern, Target, Etsy, and flea markets for the best outdoor décor.
Keep the table settings simple
Bosworth recommends keeping the table settings and décor simple when hosting a summer soirée. "I like to make it about the food," she explains. Forgo showy flower arrangements and unnecessary extra flatware for simple décor that lets the food speak for itself and allows guests to feel comfortable. Bosworth likes to stick with one color when it comes to flowers and always uses unscented candles to avoid disrupting the aroma and flavors of whatever dish she's prepared.
Mind the temperature outside
Keep your guest cool despite rising temperatures by supplying plenty of drinks, stocking up on ice, and creating shaded seating areas. "Over my dining table I have a beautiful tree, and I have two or three umbrellas that go up so everybody's really comfortable outside," she says.
Prepare seasonal dishes
Think seasonally when preparing a menu for a summer gathering. "I love amazing fresh salads with ingredients from the farmers market," Bosworth says. According to her, you can't go wrong with a pasta or veggie salad during the summer. It's a cool, refreshing dish that's easy to make for a crowd.
Be Ready for Dietary Restrictions
Plan ahead for guests with dietary restrictions to ensure that everyone is comfortable and well taken care of. "It's actually easier on me when I choose very specific drinks and foods that everybody can enjoy because it means that I don't have to run back into the kitchen and last-minute prepare something for somebody who is a vegan or who might have a dietary restriction," she explains. Her favorite gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan indulgence of the moment? Bailey's Almande.
Think about ambiance
Music, lights, and some greenery are all you need to create the perfect summer party atmosphere. Curate your own playlist or give the aux chord to the guest with the best musical tastes; string lights or hang lanterns in any outdoor area to turn an ordinary setting into a beautiful sanctuary, and don't underestimate the decorating power of a few thoughtfully placed potted plants. "My backyard is decked out in these like glorious little cafe lights, and I have mature plants everywhere that are fully in bloom. You don't really need more than that," she says.
Pick a theme
"I can get down with a theme party," Bosworth admits. "I think that they always bring an extra element of fun to an event." Whether it's a simple theme that guides the menu or an elaborate costume bash, a theme can add a little something special to any party and can act as a great icebreaker for partygoers who don't know each other. Bosworth enjoys hosting parties for her cookbook club, which entails the group choosing a cookbook and bringing dishes to share with everyone.
Stock the bar
When it comes to throwing together a party at the last minute, Bosworth recommends keeping your bar stocked at all times. This way, you'll be ready to host a party at a moment's notice. "People want to have a cocktail, they want to have a snack, and that’s a party," she says. "It can be a party of three people or it can be a party of 20."
Whip up a specialty cocktail
One of Bosworth's favorite specialty cocktails for the summer is a pina colada with a healthy twist. Find out how to make her recipe below.
1 1/2 oz. Chilled Baileys Almande
3 oz. chilled almond milk
1 cup frozen pineapple
1 frozen banana
Fresh pineapple wedge for garnish
Blend chilled Baileys Almande, chilled almond milk, frozen pineapple, and a frozen banana in a food processor until smooth.
Pour into a Collins glass.
Take note of Lo Bosworth's tried-and-true summer party ideas to throw a bash your guests will never forget.