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How to throw a dreamy (not to mention easy) outdoor party, according to an HGTV host


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Photo: Stocksy/Bonninstudio

HGTV host Emily Henderson knows how to throw a party.

From how to decorate to who to invite to what to serve, the lifestyle guru is well-versed in planning the kinds of events where everyone wants to stick around long after the rosé has run dry (which is why it makes perfect sense that she’s partnered with Clos du Bois on their new Lightly Bubbled wine collection). A quick peek through her Instagram feed, which is filled with stunning interiors, exteriors, and many, many smiling faces, will have you wondering what it takes to get an invite. So what’s her secret?

“When it comes to hosting the perfect soirée for my friends at home, I am all about easy entertaining and simple yet inventive ways to host a party. From the menu to the décor, I try to take simple summer staples and elevate them with small details,” she says. Thankfully, she was willing to share a laundry-list of these small details, which are all surprisingly simple to recreate in your own home.

Keep scrolling for tips on how to throw a summer party that you are definitely going to want to steal between now and Labor Day.

Pool party
Photo: Unsplash/Eric Nopanen

Edit the guest list

When it comes to throwing an enjoyable gathering, “the more the merrier” isn’t always the best mantra. “While I love to entertain, I would much prefer a smaller, more intimate group than a big one,” says Henderson. “Being able to spend time conversing with my favorite people around the dinner table or on our patio with a glass of good wine, some delicious food, and the kids playing in the backyard all together is what I think of as a success.”

Arrange the tables wisely

“I love to set up little vignettes to engage guests while they chat and sip,” says Henderson. Her favorite way to do it? With DIY marbleized coasters, which give a bit of indication where people should hang out. “The process is simple and the materials are very affordable and easy to source. The basic items you’ll need are just coasters and nail polish,” she explains. Bonus points: You can even personalize these and use them as place settings for the dinner table.

Bring your blooms to the next level

Flowers are a decor staple at any event, but Henderson likes to use her blooms to create a fun activity—and elegant takeaway—for her guests. “DIY floral wine charms are one of my favorites—all you need are seasonal flowers, thin floral wire, floral tape, and wire cutters and you have an elegant and easy way to keep track of your favorite wine—and it also helps everyone to keep track of their own glass of Lightly Bubbled Chardonnay.”

Get creative with the cocktails

A glass of wine may not seem as exciting as, say, a fancy summer cocktail, but a few tweaks can make the glass just as Instagrammable as the boozier stuff. “I love adding frozen fruit swizzle sticks to each glass to make it a bit more summery,”  she says. “I freeze my favorite summer fruits such as strawberries, grapefruit, raspberries—even oranges—ahead of time, and then just add a swizzle stick, and you’re good to go.”

Need more menu inspo? Try these ketogenic cookout staples. And be sure to pass around some natural bug spray to ensure you—and your guests—stay bite free. 

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