Summertime and the hosting is easy

A centerpiece does not have to be expensive. Here, beer bottles have been transformed into bud vases. Courtesy photo by Olivia Hilton

Olivia Hilton, the owner of Olivia Rose Event and Design, loves throwing a party. Whether it’s a birthday celebration, themed party or family union, Hilton finds enjoyment in celebrating life’s grand moments.

“Summer is the time of year when you can ask your neighbors to bring over their volleyball net, turn up the grill and create a fun-filled afternoon with friends and family,” Hilton said. “Hosting a summer party isn’t difficult. It just takes a little prior planning and creativity.”

From backyard barbeques and pool parties to tea parties and Hawaiian themes, celebrate long summer days and cool nights with these entertainment and hosting tips.

Tip 1: Decide on the broad idea or concept of the party.  

“As a planner, it’s always important to ask what the theme will be and who will be attending first,” Hilton said. “‘Will it be a kid-friendly event or an adult only?’ From there the rest of the party will fall into place.”

Put drinks at a separate location for your party guests. Courtesy photo by Olivia Hilton

Hilton’s favorite summer themes include Father’s Day, campfires with smores and movies with old-fashioned popcorn containers and mountains of pillows.

“If kids will be attending, make sure you have fun activities for them to participate in,” she said. “A Slip ‘N Slide, yard activities, like red light green light or even water balloons will make the party super fun for them. And who knows, the adults just might join in.”

Tip #2: Paper invitations and thank you notes are a must.

“People think invitations are dead, just like thank you notes,” she said. “But I believe the exact opposite. People still love receiving them in the mail because it’s the thought that counts.”

She added: “Don’t over think who you invite. Invite new neighbors or people that you want to get to know but. Make sure the directions are clear, include a phone number in case your guests get lost and include anything they might need like a towel or extra change of clothes.

Group yummy desserts on a separate table. Courtesy photo by Olivia Hilton

As guests are leaving, thank them for attending with a small favor or goodie bag filled with items based on the events theme.

Tip # 3: Prior planning is key.

“Everything you can do before the party, like checking on coolers and food, is beneficial,” she said. “In the end, it saves more time than you can imagine.”

In her experience, Hilton said she’s learned the importance of finding a balance when it comes to presentation, decor and creativity. “The more creative you are, the more fun you’ll have,” she said.

Tip # 4: Delegate, delegate, and delegate.

Impress party guests with color and creative centerpieces. Courtesy photo by Olivia Hilton

“As an event coordinator, I always want to do it all. And that’s OK,” she said. “But for your readers, reading this at their kitchen tables, they need to know it’s OK to delegate. If your sister makes the best brownies ever, ask her to bring them. Don’t be afraid to delegate.”

Hilton added: “The more you do ahead, the more you’ll be able to focus on your guests.”

Tip # 5: It’s the little things.

“It’s those little things people remember more than you realize,” she said. “If you make things make sense, your guests will appreciate tenfold.”

Hilton loves to find creative ways to make her events functional in purpose and fun in attendance. She tells her clients to use what they have laying around their house before going out and shopping.

Other suggestions include having a balance with drinks, mini soda cans and Capri suns; individual sides for a faster line, wet wash clothes for hand wiping and having a separate table for desserts.

“With today’s allergies, I can’t stress enough how important it is to share with your guests the ingredients in your foods,” she said. “And don’t forget those trash cans or recycling bins.”

Tip #6: Take a sigh of relief.

“One of the biggest reasons people say they don’t host a party is because the house is a hot mess,” Hilton said. “As long as there’s space for activities, good food and friends, no one cares what your house looks like. So take a sigh of relief.”

Manage the household cleaning tasks in the days leading up to the party by diving into smaller tasks that can be completed throughout the day. Tasks include clean bathrooms and entryways, organize party materials and don’t forget the clutter.

Tip #7: Focus on guests and party.

“The day of the event has arrived, and you’re feeling stressed,” she said. “Don’t! Be proud of all your hard work and enjoy yourself. After all, that’s what summers about. Good food, good friends and good entertaining.”

Contact Hilton at 540-931-5817 or email ohilton@oliviaroseeventdesign.com.