How to throw a seamless summer gathering
“Creating a seamless summer party is all about preparation,” says Nate Berkus, noted interior designer and artistic advisor to LG Studio. “I always tell people the most important thing is that everyone, including the host, is enjoying themselves. Make sure you brew coffee ahead of time, set out a pitcher of lemonade and decorate with a bouquet of fresh flowers. Don’t over-complicate anything from food to decor, and everything else will fall into place.”
1. Be prepared
You don’t want to be sweating the small details once the party gets started. Have your food and beverage options ready to go before guests even step in the door. Bake pastries ahead of time, brew coffee and order in from your favorite restaurant, and set it all up on the kitchen counter or island. Put silverware and glassware out, buffet-style; it’s so much easier than trying to coordinate a sit-down dinner. Plus, your guests can help themselves so you get to mingle and enjoy yourself as well.
You’ll immediately elevate a summer beverage like lemonade by adding lavender or berries, and serving it in a chic glass pitcher. "I love to create a signature cocktail at any party I host – it just feels special," Berkus says. "Set up a bar cart in the corner with other drink options, linen napkins and gold stirrers and let guests refill as they need."
2. Simplify the menu
The secret to any great party is choosing menu items that you can prepare ahead and that will totally wow your guests.
"I don’t cook but luckily I have great friends – and a husband – who do," Berkus says. "My good friend Athena Calderone of Eyeswoon makes this amazing Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata that’s perfect to serve any size group – from two to 10. It’s truly the perfect entree for a Sunday brunch. I’m sharing the recipe because you’re going to want to try it.”
When you’re in the kitchen, make sure you’ve got the right tools and equipment - dependable appliances are a must.
“The new line of appliances from LG Studio that I helped design combines the highest quality in design with the best of the best in terms of functionality,” Berkus says. "It features a timeless, pro-style design that you’ll love today and 10 years from now, along with flexible performance.”
For example, the new double wall oven from LG Studio can help you cook like a pro in your own home with features like an exclusive four-mode ”true convection” technology for even heat distribution and even cooking on every rack, along with a gliding rack system that extends over the open oven door for easy and safe access to food.
3. Style seamlessly
Pick a color scheme and stick to it, then mix in neutral and wovens with things like napkin rings and small vases to create interesting texture that won’t overpower your guests. Floral arrangements or touches of greenery are a great nod to summer and will dress up any table.
"I love blushes and naturals for summer parties; it feels really fresh and inviting," Berkus says. “As far as greenery goes, I’m loving potted succulents and air plants. They create unexpected moments, and are a talking point. Green branches in vases are another great way to add height and color.”
4. Repurpose the things you love
You want your party decor to be on-point, but every party has a budget.
"I always tell people to use what they already have," Berkus says. "Pull things from around your house, like vases, trays, ceramics bowls, etc. They’ll look great whether repurposed for the buffet table, or incorporated into the tablescape."
If it’s an outdoor party, think about using your favorite lamps, throw pillows or even a rug outside to elevate the decor and really set the scene for your gathering.
These few simple steps are the key to creating a beautiful, seamless summer gathering that your guests will talk about for months to come. And the most important thing to remember is to enjoy the moment.
Athena Calderone’s recipe:
Spinach and Goat Cheese Frittata
1/2 pound baby potatoes
10 large eggs
1/3 cup creme fraiche
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 leek, halved lengthwise, rinsed and thinly sliced
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
2 cups lightly packed baby spinach
3 ounces goat cheese
Handful torn parsley
Handful chopped dill
Handful chopped chives
Salt and pepper
Heat the oven to 350 F. Boil the potatoes until fork-tender. When cool enough to handle, thinly slice.
Whisk together the eggs, creme fraiche and salt.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet, cast iron or non-stick, over medium heat. Add the leek and onion and saute until translucent. Add the potatoes and cook another few minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in the spinach and cook just until wilted. Pour in the egg mixture and cook for a few minutes, pushing the cooked eggs to the center of the pan. Place in the oven and cook just until set, about 12-15 minutes.
Cool slightly. Garnish with fresh herbs.