We’ve all been there before . . . relaxing at home when you get a phone call that a friend or family member wants to pop by. Instantly you freak out, because the house is a mess, and wait—what will you serve???
Well friends, I’ve got you covered! Now that the weather is starting to pick up and friends and families are cautiously choosing to gather more, I thought it would be a great idea to share some of my top tips for easy last-minute entertaining—-but first, a disclaimer—-Entertaining hasn’t always come naturally to me. I’m a bit of a homebody and I have a little social anxiety 🤦♀️-even around those I love—I also don’t LOVE to cook. So when it comes to entertaining, I try to keep it as simple as possible, while also trying to leave some sort of impression on my guests.
My husband’s go-to is to order 10 pizzas and call it a day, but sometimes, I like for things to seem a bit more thoughtful.
There are some items that you can keep on hand to avoid the whole pizza delivery man, or at least tide your guests over until you decide what take out you’ll order if the guests stay longer than a couple of hours.
Naturally, it all starts with beverages, since that’s the first thing you would offer your guests.
I like to keep the following beverages on hand just in case:
- Water Bottles
- Flavored Sparkling water
- A bottle of wine (Sangria is always a crowd pleaser), and/or beer and fresh citrus fruit for garnish or a bag of frozen berries to add to Sangria
I recently ordered this ribbed pitcher and tumbler set from Better Homes and Gardens. I love that they’re lightweight and so stylish. Adding some sliced lemons and ribbons of cucumber is so refreshing on hot days.
I like to add fresh fruit for garnish in these eco-friendly bamboo melamine dip bowls (frozen fruit works just as well too, I like a berry medley) and shatterproof wine glasses are a must for outdoor entertaining. They’re also sold as stemless. A wicker serving tray works great for corralling all the items and transporting them outside.
I also grabbed a cute galvanized tub (below), to house canned beverages, and bottled waters, so guests can help themselves.
Okay, now let’s talk about snacks/appetizers. Here are a few items that I almost always buy at the store, which are perfect for entertaining at the last minute:
- A bag of tortilla chips with salsa or hummus (you can jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of olive oil—so good!)
- For kids, it’s really nice to have some bagged chips, and some freeze pops (which can always be stored), or ingredients to make a little s’mores platter for a dessert
- For adults, items for a cheese and cracker platter/charcuterie board: Grapes, sliced cheese tray, a multi pack of crackers, pepperoni, or prosciutto. Other items can be added too, like dried fruit and nuts. We also stock up on goat cheese from Aldi. I like to serve it with a fig or hot pepper jam–it looks so fancy.
Speaking of platters and charcuterie boards, can we talk about this 5 -in-1 covered cake stand? It serves as not only a cake stand, but can also be used as a divided serve tray, chip & dip server, punch bowl and as a footed serve bowl—I love items that can serve multiple purposes, and Better Homes & Gardens hit the nail on the head with this piece.
When guests show up at short notice, they certainly aren’t expecting you to have a fancy spread, so anything extra that you do, is totally up to you, but definitely not necessary. What’s most important is being able to spend some time and catch up. (Which is why ordering pizza isn’t always a bad idea 😉
Seating and Shade
I ordered this super cute fringed market umbrella recently, which is a great addition to our outdoor decor. I used a runner on the table, off center of course, to fit the umbrella, but it serves as a great way to ground the items that you are serving, sort of buffet style to keep things relaxed and comfortable.
It comes in black and in tan and is only $50.
We love this 4 piece conversation set. It’s really comfortable, and it’s solid wood, so it’s durable and so stylish with its sleek and modern design. I’m kind of obsessed with the juxtaposition of this modern set in this wooded scene.
Flowers + Pots
Well, flowers and pots are definitely not necessary for last minute entertaining, but I figured I’d share that Better Homes and Gardens is my go-to for pots, planters and even plants. They have some really nice on-trend options, and you really can’t beat the prices.
Entertainment & Ambiance
Our go-tos are music on a portable speaker and we pull out the corn hole. Lighting tabletop torches, or citronella candles, and string lights always help to add ambiance and keep the bugs away. You can also keep a few cans of bug spray or mosquito repellant of choice on hand as well.
So tell me, are you team order pizza/paper plates? Or do you try to make the most of last minute entertaining?
I think for me, it definitely depends on what I have going on that day. If we’re just relaxing in the yard, with not much going on, then I’m all about entertaining in a more thoughtful way. But sometimes, pizza and paper plates is where it’s at! Either way, having these items on hand, especially the serveware (store it somewhere together for easy access) helps to take a little stress off of entertaining. Happy almost summer friends!