Summer is winding down, and before we know it, beach days and barbeques will be replaced with cold weather. Cure the dread that comes with the end of summer by planning an ultimate summer party. Use the tips in this guide to plan a party where you and your friends can transition back into busy winter schedules and begin dreaming of next summer.
Location can make or break the party. Since it’s an end-of-summer party, choose something summer-worthy, like a beach or backyard. Try to squeeze in as much outdoor time as you can before summer is over. The best way to choose a location is to consider the party size. A backyard party may work if you plan on a smaller party with closer friends and family.
If you plan on inviting the whole neighborhood to give summer the send-off it deserves, you may need something larger. Rent a pavilion at a local park or a section of the beach. Some restaurants and bars may have outdoor patios or rooftop bars for rent, which allow you to party underneath the twinkling stars.
The best time to have an end-of-summer party is at the end of summer. Other than that, though, you can choose whatever works best for you and your guests. Labor Day is often considered the last celebratory weekend of the summer, so this may work for you. However, some colleges do go back before then, so make sure it works for your guests.
No party is complete without delicious food. You can create a menu around a favorite theme or go with the most common summer foods for easy menu planning. If you can access a barbeque or grill, you could serve hot dogs, hamburgers, ribs, or steaks. You’ll also want a wide range of sides, including pasta or macaroni salad. For a fancier menu, consider catering in fresh seafood or Hawaiian-themed meats. Catering your party also gives you more time to mingle with guests, as they typically manage the setup, serving, cooking, and cleaning for you.
Don’t forget about dessert. Make it easy, have a local chef create a summer-themed cake, or go with a dessert bar. S’mores are one of the most-loved summer desserts and will surely be a hit at your party. If you have access to a firepit, stock up on graham crackers, marshmallows, and chocolate, and don’t forget the roasting sticks.
You’ll want to keep the cold drinks flowing to ensure everyone has a good time. Make sure you keep everyone hydrated with cold juices and bottles of water. Sangrias and mimosas are great for sipping and breaking the ice. You could keep the drink menu as simple as possible with canned beverages or choose a location with an on-site bar.
End summer with a bang and leave everyone with memories of the party with favors. Create custom totes with the name of your party or a favorite saying. Use the family’s last name for an end-of-summer family reunion. Customize the tote bags with a summer saying, like “Life is better in flip flops” or “Summer 2023”.
Famous whiskey sayings or boozy logos can also be fun. Then, fill the totes with small party favors, like mugs, wine glasses, koozies, or coasters.
Entertainment is also important to a memorable party. For a low-effort, casual party, consider making a playlist of your favorite summer songs ahead of time. You could also hire a DJ to mix the songs together and get everyone dancing. Depending on the budget for the party, you may hire a live band.
Country music or Top 40 are both options that are sure to be a hit at your party. You could also take requests and play your guest’s favorite songs. You might also set out some of your favorite summer games for guests who don’t want to sing or dance. Consider summer games, like cornhole or volleyball. Charades, karaoke, limbo, or bocce ball are also all good games, depending on your guests’ age and activity level. You might even request guests bring their favorite games to have a good mix of options.
Planning an end-of-summer party is an excellent way to conclude all the memories you and your friends have created this year. It’s also a great way to say goodbye to friends who may go back to college or get wrapped up in the busyness of the fall and winter seasons. Choose a location, pick a date, cater in your favorite summer dishes, and send your guests a few custom items to ensure your party will be talked about for years to come.