Summer is one of the more challenging times to entertain—navigating weather, your guests’ travel plans, pesky pests at your picnic, all while appearing effortless and unbothered in 80% humidity. As event experts, we’re here to share our pro tips to hosting in the heat.

Bring the inside outside

In the summer, I’m always pushing to move the party outside. We waited this long for the sunshine and long days—why are we hiding inside in the AC? I convince people this is a great idea by making the outdoors radically fun. I love to pull things one would usually use inside, outside. People are surprised and delighted by the unexpected. Grab your vintage champagne bucket for your dining table on the patio, and don’t be afraid to drag those gorgeous plates out to the picnic. Got a great car? Fun, let’s tailgate. The contrast is what makes it gorgeous. Things I’m loving this summer: oversized cut flowering branches, vintage embroidered linens, garden inspired candles, and rattan accents.

Address the (red hot) elephant in the room.

One of the biggest mistakes I see hosts make is not just owning that it is going to be hot. As we creep into the warmer and more humid days, being considerate is essential. Consider materials—sitting on cool cotton/linen pillows is easier than a metal bench. Throwing a beach party? Invest in that chic beach cabana or tent for a few square feet of respite. Having a full seated brunch al fresco? Make sure you place that table under the pergola. Go the extra mile and have an easy basket of SPF on hand, some hand fans, and a few Evian misters. If guests are truly suffering, a great host knows when to call it a day and take everyone inside of a round of margs and a cool down.

Ambiance is everything. 

Never underestimate the power of candles. I turn off overhead lighting immediately, relying on my candles or soft table lamps to make the space feel more intimate. If at all possible, layer in some loft string lights. Everyone’s complexion will thank you. If it’s an irreverent, glamorous dinner party, consider large displays of dripping candelabras or an assortment of mixed tapers. If it’s an outdoor cookout, opt for small tealight candles on the table, and rely on a nearby firepit to give loud, crackling Patagonian vibes— Francis Mallmann anyone? Is it a celestial summer event? I recommend floating tea candles with local wildflowers.

In this heat? Keep the menu easy.

I love a plated affair more than anyone, but in the long lingering light of summer, I crave the informality of big platters, easy dishes, and sharing. Be generous, keep it simple and focused on season vegetables, and make it for your guests by adding multiple portions of sides, condiments, and favorite dishes. No one wants to be trapped in the hot kitchen while guests are outside, so I like to center the entertaining around grilling outdoors. Encourage guests to grab a glass of Chablis, and cook with you over a wood fire. We make paella all the time on our fire pit, and it’s a hit. We always keep a bottle of Flamingo estate olive oil on hand—it’s delicious enough to dip in with garden fresh crudite or easy crusty baguettes with just a touch of French salt.

Looking for inspiration? Shop some of our favorite cookbooks.

Keep the dress code easy

You know people are dying to break out those sundresses and summer whites. Give them a reason with a theme. Red, white, and bleu? Talk Nautical to me? The opportunity for innovation is endless. I like to keep some extra throws and oversized fisherman cardigans on hands for late nights. 

Navigate summer pests

My biggest pet peeve for outdoor dining is mosquitos. I like to use fragrant herbs on the table to scare away mosquitos. No one likes the smell of chemical spray, but people love the smell of lavender, basil, and rosemary. Try mixing a few cut sprigs into your arrangements to keep bugs away. Better yet? Huge potted herbs around your dining area with soft incense tucked in. Need something stronger? We love this line of great smelling citronella line from Skeem. Grab a spray, grab a candle, or burn some incense. Either way, you’re good to go.

Prefer to be a guest at your own event? We’re here to help. With our full-service event production and design services, we can help you tackle any of your stickiest summer hosting situations.



June 19, 2024 — Brenna Gilbert