“Summertime… and the livin’ is easy” (DuBose Heyward)
I’ve been writing for At Home Magazine here in Victoria, B.C. and am loving the opportunity to share my passion for entertaining. I thought I’d share with you a few excerpts from my summer article, which focuses on entertaining outdoors. If you want to read the full article, please check out my column “Entertain with Dorothy” which you can find online. http://www.athomevictoria.com/read-online/
Remember those long days of winter when it was often dark both going to and coming home from work? This is why we long for summer and spend considerable time fantasizing about how we will spend our days once the season is here. Whether hosting friends on your deck, in your backyard, by the pool, or at the neighbourhood park, summer entertaining is easier, less stressful, and ultimately more fun than any other time of year. Here is a short checklist just to ensure that you and your guests have a great time outdoors.
Sun or shade? An outdoor summer luncheon is always a treat but be sure to provide both sunny and shady sitting areas for your guests. While some people love to bask in the sun, others prefer a cooler spot in the shade. Table umbrellas are the best way to ensure that your guests are able to find just the right spot. If you have trees in your yard, consider placing the table so that the option of sun or shade is available.
Summer warmth: Summer evenings can be beautiful for outdoor suppers, potluck gatherings, or dinner parties, but remember that here on the West Coast the air cools as the night progresses. It’s important to keep your guests comfortable, so be sure to provide various options for warmth later in the evening. Outdoor patio heaters and small patio fire pits are an excellent way to provide some extra heat. You might also want to keep a supply of blankets or extra sweaters for your guests as well.
It’s all about the ambiance: Summer ambiance is easy to create. There’s no particular need to do a lot of decorating when Mother Nature has already provided so much beauty outdoors. Use brightly coloured or floral tablecloths, colourful paper napkins, and bouquets of fresh flowers for a final touch. Consider purchasing either a few strings of patio lights or simply use white mini lights to add a cozy feel to your entertaining space. Stock up on tea lights and outdoor candles to provide additional lighting once daylight is gone. And don’t forget to light the citronella candles or mosquito coils prior to your guests arriving, so that insects don’t spoil your evening.
Relax! Most of all, remember that summer is meant to be all about relaxation. Try to plan a meal that won’t require too much preparation. Be sure to accept any offers to contribute to your gathering and have guests bring an appetizer or a salad. Linger over a game of croquet or Frisbee, nibble on a few appies, and don’t worry if the barbeque starts an hour later than originally planned. Finish the evening off with an easy dessert: ice cream, watermelon, fruit salad, strawberry or peach shortcake. If you happen to have a fire pit, let your guests make those iconic Smore treats, easily done with roasted marshmallows, graham wafers, and Nutella. Remember that you’ll be dreaming about this moment in December.
O summer day so wonderful and white. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow