12 Easy Summer Entertaining Tips to Cop from Celebrities

Summer Entertaining Tips
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Planning a party is hard. There’s the food, the drinks, the decorations, and, of course, making sure that your guests are entertained and having fun. With so much to juggle, we can understand how tempting it is to cancel your summer soirée plans and ditch your hosting duties altogether. But with the right help, parties can be magical and, more important, easy—as proven by some of our favorite celebrity lifestyle gurus.

MORE: How to Protect Your Hair at the Beach This Summer

To ease the stress of your summer party-planning, we’ve rounded up 12 easy entertaining tips from stars, such as Chrissy Teigen, Reese Witherspoon, and Khloé Kardashian. From how to prevent bugs from biting your guests at an outdoor dinner party to the affordable dupes for expensive silverware, these tricks will save you money, time, and stress. And if they’re good enough for these stars’ A-list friends, they’re good enough for ours.

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Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon: Throw the Party Outdoors to Avoid Housecleaning

Unlike holiday parties in the dead of fall or winter, summer allows you to throw your party outside and make the most of the warm weather. For Witherspoon, it also gives you the excuse to invite friends over and serve a delicious dinner—without going hard on cleaning your house. In an interview with People, the actress recommends throwing parties in your backyard or garden, so that you won't have to spend a ton of time getting your house in ship shape for guests to walk around it. (Of course you'll want to tidy up a little, but you won't need to invest in decorations.)

“I love a garden theme,” Witherspoon said. “Hosting outside takes the pressure off having your house look perfect — you can let Mother Nature do all the work!”

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Jamie Chung
Jamie Chung: Schedule the Party a Couple Hours Before the Sun Sets

We understand. The purpose of an outdoor dinner is to be outside, so you want to make the most of the sun as possible. But you also don't want your guests to die of heat. In an interview with PopSugar, Chung revealed that her pro tip for party planning is to schedule your party one to two hours before the sun sets. That way, it won't be too hot, and your guests will be able to enjoy a gorgeous sunset as they eat. If you can't meet that time, Chung recommends to at least make some shade for guests to cool off.

"Set the time for arrival an hour or two before the sun sets or make sure there is a shaded area for your guests," Chung said.

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Khloe Kardashian
Khloé Kardashian: Use Eucalyptus Candles to Avoid Bugs

We love an outdoor dinner party, but if your guests are busy swatting away mosquitos instead of enjoying their food, you're better off having the dinner inside. However, there is an alternative. To keep bugs away, Kardashian recommends using eucalyptus candles, which will make your dinner tables look elegant and keep bugs at bay.

"Bugs can be a major problem with spending an evening outdoors and the smell of those insect repellent candles grosses me out. I use eucalyptus candles instead, because the scent is a natural bug repellent!" she wrote on her website and app.

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Gwyneth Paltrow
Gwyneth Paltrow: Buy Flowers the Day Before Your Party

Though it's tempting to buy flowers on the day of your party to ensure that they are the freshest that they can be, Paltrow warns against it. Instead, she recommends buying bouquets the day before, so that the buds have time to open up more, giving your table that extra pop of color. "It’s best to pick up the flowers for your table the day before, giving them a day to open up and look their best," Paltrow wrote on Goop.

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Chrissy Teigen
Chrissy Teigen: Cook Food That Can Be Eaten Standing

Food takes center stage at outdoor barbecues, but as any host (or guest) knows, seating is limited. Instead of spending tons of money on chairs and tables for your guests to eat on, Teigen recommends cooking food that can be eaten standing up. In an interview with Coveteur, the model revealed that her go-to barbecue dishes are skewers, hot dogs, grilled veggies, and fruit. Because everything can be eaten with your hands, guests won't have to worry about finding a table. Plus, you'll save on plates, as most dishes can be eaten on the go or easily tossed afterward. A win-win!

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Padma Lakhsmi
Padma Lakshmi: Avoid Tall Table Decorations, So Guests Can Talk and Pass Food

Lakshmi warns against going overboard with table decorations. Though everyone loves nice decor, the "Top Chef" host believes that too many table decorations can hinder conversation—or worse—prove as an obstacle for eating. To avoid this, Lakshmi sticks to small flower arrangements and short candelabras, which will give your table a festive touch, but not prevent guests from interacting.

"I tend to stick to simple cut flowers that almost look like they were just plucked from a garden, rather than big, ostentatious arrangements. I opt for antique silver candelabras but arrange the table to make sure guests can see and talk to each other, without having to navigate through a thicket of table decor," Lakhsmi told Architectural Digest.

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Olivia Palermo
Olivia Palermo: Use Ammonia to Avoid Post-Party Smells

The least favorite thing about a party is cleaning up the day after. And with the smell of empty wine glasses, leftover food, and trash, it can be a nightmare. And though Palermo doesn't have a fix for messes, she at least has a solution for nasty post-party smells. On her website, the influencer revealed that she places small cups of ammonia—which you can buy at any local drugstore—before going to bed on the night of the party. When she wakes up, her house smells squeaky clean, so all she has to do is tidy up.

"Before I head to sleep, I place small cups of ammonia throughout the apartment.  It absorbs any odor, so all you wake up to are memories!" she wrote.

Photo: Getty Images
Drew Barrymore
Drew Barrymore: Buy Wine Wipes for Guests to Clean Their Teeth

Wine is a must at any party, but no guest wants to walk around with wine-stained teeth after downing several glasses of red wine. To avoid this, Barrymore recommends buying wine wipes, compact-sized wipes that can clean wine stains with a simple swipe. The actress touted the product in an interview with Refinery29. And at around $7 for a pack of 15 wipes, they'll have your guests thanking you.

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Lauren Conrad
Lauren Conrad: Use To-Go Boxes for Picnics to Avoid Plates and Cutlery

Picnics are a summer signature, but the burden of packing everything—food, plates, utensils—into a basket seems like more work than its worth. However, Conrad has come up with a brilliant alternative. In an interview with Us Weekly, the former reality star revealed that she uses takeout boxes—yes, like the ones you receive from Chinese restaurants—and packs her guests' meals into those. Just make sure to make dishes that can be eaten in a single box.

"It’s not always practical to pack all of your plates and glasses and cutlery and bring them with you because they’re heavy and breakable. It’s great to have some disposable options," Conrad said. "Everyone has their own personal serving, so you’re not worried about having bowls. You’re all ready to go!”

Photo: Getty Images
Shay Mitchell
Shay Mitchell: Look to Nature for Table Decorations

Sometimes the best decorations could literally be in your backyard. In an interview with People, Mitchell revealed that she often uses nature—leaves, foliage, fruits, gourds—to decorate her table. Not only will the trick give your party a seasonal touch, but you're saving crucial cash, which you can spend on other things (i.e., food).

“When I was on the East Coast with all the leaves changing, all that beautiful color, I’d go outside and pick a bunch of leaves, and that would be my table setting,” Mitchell said. “Using things that are around you, whether it be plants or foliage and even fruits or gourds, I love doing that. Setting a fall table is probably my favorite.”

Photo: Getty Images
Whitney Port
Whitney Port: Use Empty Containers for Vases

Need another money-saving tip? Port recommends using empty containers—wine bottles, candles, soap containers—as vases for flowers. On a post on her website, the former reality star revealed that she often uses household items to hold flowers she buys at a market. Tons of products come in beautiful containers that we often throw away. Port suggests making the most of them by saving them for dinner parties, where you can recycle them and use them to hold fresh flowers.

"Half the fun of buying yourself fresh flowers (which you totally deserve to do btw) is the way they instantly add a little extra cheer to any space," Port wrote. "The next time you unwrap your beautiful bouquet or bunch of blooms, get creative with the vase you use."

Photo: Getty Images
Kate Hudson
Kate Hudson: Use Paper Plates and Fabrics as Tablecloths

According to Hudson, you don't need to spend a lot to throw a great party. In her party-planning book, Pretty Fun, the actress revealed that she often uses paper plates—as long as they correlate with her dinner's theme—to cut costs. But her real trick is using fabric, instead of expensive tablecloths, to decorate her tables. What Hudson recommends is measuring the width and length of your table, and heading to your local fabrics store. There, find a fabric that's six to eight inches extra in width—or an extra 15 inches if you want the tablecloth to drop low for a more formal look. Not only will the trick save you money, but you have a ton more tablecloths to choose from than your usual home goods store.

Photo: Getty Images

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The Summer Beauty Launches with the Most Buzz

The Summer Beauty Launches
with the Most Buzz
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Jamie Chung
  • Khloe Kardashian
  • Gwyneth Paltrow
  • Chrissy Teigen
  • Padma Lakhsmi
  • Olivia Palermo
  • Drew Barrymore
  • Lauren Conrad
  • Shay Mitchell
  • Whitney Port
  • Kate Hudson
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