The end of summer is the perfect time to hold a get together for your friends and family. The kids aren't quite in school yet, daylight still lasts long into the evening and the weather is perfect for using outdoor spaces for entertaining. IKO Community Management has some helpful tips for planning the perfect end of summer party!
- First and foremost, send your HOA board a quick email to make sure that you’re following noise guidelines and any other rules that may apply to your gathering, especially if it’s outside and/or in the evening hours. This will make sure your party entertains while being courteous to others.
- Send out invitations! Summer is a very busy time of the year for most families, especially those with school-aged children, and it’s a good idea to send out invitations at least 3 weeks in advance. You can send out print invitations, create an event on Facebook, or give your friends a phone call, as long as you give your guests plenty of notice. If you’re holding your event at a pool, make sure your guests know to bring a suit!
- Summer parties are a great opportunity to get to know your neighbors. If you wave to your neighbor every morning as you’re leaving for work but have never interact beyond that, stick an invitation in his mailbox! This not only creates happy neighbors but it also helps to enrich the sense of community in your HOA community.
- Pinterest is a great planning tool, especially for those new to entertaining. It’s a great place to find ideas, gather your thoughts, and organize a unique celebration with your personal style in mind. Another great place to turn is your friends and neighbors who throw parties. Their experience will lead you in the right direction.
- A traditional approach to a summer party is a potluck. On your invitations, request that everyone brings their favorite covered dish. This lets people show off their special recipes while spreading out the workload (and keeping the dishes in your sink to a minimum). It may be a good idea to specify what sort of dish you’d like your guests to bring, for example, a dinner or dessert item. This will prevent 6 ambrosia salads arriving without any potato salad.
- The host provides the main course, such as hotdogs and hamburgers, salad and drinks. If you don’t think a potluck is for you, another option could be a pig roast or chicken barbecue. These may require you to hire a professional, but they’ll be sure to wow your guests. Make sure to offer a small amount of vegetarian options, just in case!
- You can hire a DJ for larger gatherings (again, be sure to check in with your HOA board before hiring anyone), or you can simply plug in an iHome or stereo outside. Make sure that you have large enough speakers so that everyone will be able to hear the music, but don’t have the music so loud that it inhibits conversation. Another great option, especially if you know any older teens, is to hire a band to play at your party. Parents will love the chance to see their children preform with their friends, and it will definitely get the younger children up and dancing.
- Have games at the ready to occupy the little ones. While a party should allow parents to relax, someone will need to be with the younger children at all times. A good option would be to enlist the help of some teens, or even to hire a babysitter or two for the day who would be willing to watch the group.
- Lawn games for adults will be appreciated and are great icebreakers! Have these set up beforehand and post a sign to encourage your guests to find a partner and get playing.
- Make sure you have adequate trash and recycling receptacles and that they are clearly marked. This helps with cleanup and keeps your space clean throughout the party.
- A critical resource for any outdoor party is ice. If you have a large freezer in your home, purchase extra bags for use later in the evening. If your party is planned to last the entire day, instead of a covered dish, ask that a guest arriving towards the end to pick up a few bags on their way to your party.
- Have plenty of bug spray and sunscreen available for your guests. It’s a good idea to have sun shelters set up if your party is completely outside. Citronella candles in the evening hours when mosquitos are most active are absolutely necessary.
- If the party is continuing into the later hours of the evening, it’s a good idea to allow the younger children to retreat inside your house for a movie or some other calm activity. Parents may be enjoying the party, but it may be too much for little ones. Again, make sure that younger children are supervised at all times.
- Even though your party may be outside, plan for guests to venture inside as well, whether to use the rest room or to take a break from the heat. This may mean some extra cleaning, just be prepared!
- If you are serving alcohol at your party, make sure that your guests are getting home safely. If necessary, have the number for a cab company at the ready or plan for someone to be a designated driver. Do some research and find out if Uber or Lyft is available in your area, and let guests know to set up an account before they begin drinking. Encourage fun, but it’s your responsibility to make sure your guests are not endangering themselves or others on their way home.
You’re all set to plan a great summer party! You can throw a traditional potluck, have a pig roast, or come up with something completely new and unique! The possibilities are endless. Summer parties have a way of becoming annual traditions, so try something new every year. IKO Community Management wishes you a fun and safe summer and we’ll keep an eye out for our invitation in the mail! Let's get the party started!