As far as we’re concerned, summer isn’t over yet! You can still make the most of these warm, sunlit evenings by hosting a memorable picnic, barbecue, or get-together. In this piece, originally published on Reese Witherspoon's blog Love, Reese, Molly breaks down the basics of throwing a magical outdoor celebration. Here’s what she had to say…
I’m in love with gazebos (which you can often find within some public parks and gardens) and outdoor living spaces. They’re so welcoming and intimate. Even though you’re outside, you still have the comfort of a covered space that feels indoors with the beautiful fresh air surrounding you.
Plan around the heat and gather later in the day when it’s cooler out. 5pm is a good start time. You also get the added bonus of more time to prepare. Personally, my favorite time of the day is 7pm, just around sunset. There’s nothing like being at the height of a gathering during this time.
It’s really all about the company. If you’re with enjoyable people, any place can quickly become ideal!
I always opt for fresh, in season, and as natural as possible. Even if I’m baking something like cupcakes, they’re made with coconut oil, alternative flours, and/or the icing is made with natural food coloring. But don’t forget about your guest’s preferences! While you might love one type of food yourself, those you’re hosting, or joining, might not care for the same thing. It’s always best to find a happy medium when sharing a dish or entertaining.
A tablescape can really make or break a summer dinner party. I’m a huge fan of collecting inspiration, but I always try to incorporate the unexpected. I also love having something for people to do, a conversation starter (no, not the awkward name games!). Try a book exchange. Hosting a gathering where you ask guests to bring their favorite books to trade with others is sure to make for a memorable occasion. You can introduce these personal touches into your table setting, too. To add different heights, gather books and stack them, then place items on top.
There are so many gorgeous things to celebrate this time of year. One of my favorite things about summer is all the fresh, colorful produce that fills my local farmers’ market. Lemon, watermelon, cherries, berries — they’re all so beautiful and vibrant. It’s hard not to smile when you’re around such uplifting colors and sweet smells. That’s more than enough reason to gather!
Planning a party and using any of these tips? Be sure to share and tag us @mollymymag #mollymymag! For the full article head to draperjames.com where you’ll find tons of inspirational tips and insight into Southern food and style.