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Ten Tips for Spring and Summer Entertaining at Home

Placing food on different levels is appealing to guests.

Have you thought ahead to what kind of entertaining you would like to do in the next few months? Here are some ideas to consider as our weather gets warmer.

1. Colorful Tablescapes. Present the food and drinks attractively by adding a lot of color to the table. You might use a variety of flowers, decorative ribbons, or seasonal decorations such as seashells and starfish or confetti strewn across the table.

2. Vary the Height of Serving Dishes. Serving dishes at different heights is more appealing to the eye than all foods at the same level. Use pedestal cake plates for many desserts, or a pretty tablecloth over different sized cardboard boxes to give the table a bit of pizzazz.

3. Summer Picnic. How about a box lunch for each guest? Include a sandwich, piece of fruit, individual bottles of water and wine, plastic wine glass, and napkin. Wrap it in colorful paper and tie with a pretty ribbon.

4. Creative Serving Pieces. Serve cut up fresh fruit in a hollowed-out watermelon, present ice cream in oversized wine goblets and fill shot glasses with cold soup, such as gazpacho.  It’s not only what you serve, but how you serve it.

5. Easy Seasonal Menus. For any party, advanced food preparation is a must and it’s easy with most cold dishes, such as cheese and crackers, cold pastas, and salads.

6. Attractive Space Saver. At a backyard buffet or BBQ, display cloth napkins and flatware in a clean terra cotta flowerpot.

7. Another Creative Serving Piece. Serve individual shrimp cocktail in a hollowed-out lemon shell filled with cocktail sauce.

8. Party with Less Cost and Less Work. Host a co-operative family party. Assign two dishes for each family to prepare at home and bring to the party. Tally the expenses and divide the cost evenly among the participants.

9. Tell Guests What You’re Serving. For brunches, lunches, and dinners, write the menu on a decorative card or piece of stationery and display it on the table. The guests will love to know ‘what’s cookin.’

10. A Summer Afternoon Tea Party. Serve miniature pastries and a variety of international and herbal iced teas. 

By Maureen Molé

Molé is a lecturer, product spokesperson, and the author of The Book of Entertaining at Home. Email her at

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