Hilary Duff's Top Stress-Free Summer Hosting Tips

Why stress when you could be drinking wine in the sunshine?

Photo by: William and Susan Brinson, Callie Collection

William and Susan Brinson, Callie Collection

I think we can all agree there are few things better than summer nights drinking wine with your BFFs. And it's even better when a fun gathering comes together without a hitch. Not everything has to be complicated and planned weeks in advance, we say.

For easy, stress-free party prep, actress and singer Hilary Duff has tips for making summer entertaining a breeze. From wine flight pairings and self-serve bars to DIY decor and super simple recipes, Hilary has you covered. 

Wine Flight Pairing

"My go-to drink to pour when my friends come over is wine. I usually always offer a red and a white wine option to please all palates. I love to serve a side-by-side assortment so everyone can try a few in a small wine flight. My new favorite wine, Callie Collection, offers a great selection including a Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and fresh red blend, which together create the prefect wine flight."

"To spice up the tasting, sometimes I like to serve a small plate alongside the wine flight and pair a cheese, honeycomb or nut with each wine. With the Pinot Grigio, try a manchego alongside marcona almonds. Chardonnay pairs well with a nice gruyere and pistachios, and the fresh red blend is perfect with a few slices of prosciutto."

Beautify Your Self-Serve Bar

"Create your own beautiful self-serve bar. Having a self-serve bar area is an entertaining win-win. Not only does it add some design pizazz (hello, Instagram!), it’s a fully functional decor piece that keeps your guests’ glasses full. Stock with glassware, cute napkins, coasters and ice buckets."

Photo by: William and Susan Brinson, Callie Collection

William and Susan Brinson, Callie Collection

"I love making pretty ice cubes to include at my self-serve bar. I like to use fruits that are appropriate for the wine being iced. I'll sometimes make a bunch and toss into a big acrylic bucket to serve as the bottle chiller. If you’re serving water, infuse your ice tray with fresh berries and display them in a pretty silver ice bucket with tongs for guests to put in their glasses. If you have extra, try putting them in your wine chiller for a floral touch."

Planter = Bottle Cooler

"Put a new spin on an old standard and use a beautiful planter as a wine bottle cooler. If you don’t have one handy, an acrylic or metal beverage container large enough for three to four bottles will do the trick."

Fruit Cubes in a Snap

Strawberry Ice

Strawberry Ice

Add a sweet element of surprise to water or lemonade by freezing strawberry halves in water. Once frozen, the cubes’ flavor adds a kick to your drinks and also brings another decorative layer to your tablescape.

"You want to make your cubes in layers. Start with a tray filled about 1/4 of the way with water. (I like the larger cube molds you can buy for liquor drinks; they melt more slowly and show better.) Add your fruit and freeze. After this layer is frozen, add another layer of water on top and freeze again. Allow to freeze overnight, or at least 8 hours, for best results. The fruit and herbs I like to use are blueberries, raspberries, blackberries or mint."

"Which One is Mine?!"

Photo by: Callie Collection

Callie Collection

"To keep track of your wine glass when your friends come over, I love these unique and easy wine charms. I typically include a basket of ribbons or fabric strips to offer to my guests. It’s easy, pretty and the ultimate way to recycle."

Instant Photo Memories

Original_Chelsea-Costa-Instagram-Decor-Garland-Detail_h

Original_Chelsea-Costa-Instagram-Decor-Garland-Detail_h

"Whenever I have friends over, I always have a Polaroid camera or two available and encourage people to take photos throughout the night and commemorate their shots on a cute string and clothing pin display. Guests can take their favorite photo home at the end of the night, and the strung-up printouts make a cute Instagram moment, too! Customize by creating or purchasing colorful clothespins and use a ribbon or string that matches your color scheme to help set the mood and match your other party decor."

Bonus: Quick Appetizer + Wine Pairing

Eat: Sing Bite Shrimp Scampi Spiadino

Drink: Pinot Grigio

Photo by: Callie Collection

Callie Collection

Ingredients:

1/4 cup olive oil | 5 basil leaves, chopped | 1 large lemon | grated peel + juice of 1 large lemon | 6 cloves garlic | 15 large prawns | 1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped | lemon pepper

Directions:

1: In a medium-size bowl using a fork or wire whisk, beat together oil, lemon peel, lemon juice and roasted garlic.

2: Remove 2 tablespoons of the marinade to a small bowl, and set aside. Place the prawns in a medium-size bowl, tossing in the marinade.

3: Scatter the lemon wedges and shrimp in a saucepan. Cook the shrimp for about 3 minutes or until opaque on each side, turning once.

4: Brush the shrimp with the remaining marinade. Garnish with whole parsley and/or basil leaves to add a seasonal touch.

Party Hacks That Make Life Easier

See All Photos
Pulling together a stylish and entertaining party for both kids and  adults doesn't have to be a headache. With these clever hacks, everyone can relax.

I Wish I Knew These Sooner!

When the weather is just right, you don't want to spend the whole day setting up for the party; you just want to...party! Create a stylish gathering in half the time with these quick tips.

Fitted Sheet = Tablecloth

Gone are the days of watching your flimsy, plastic tablecloth blow away in the wind. A fitted twin sheet will stretch over a plastic centerfold table with ease. Plus, you can toss it in the washer and use it over and over again.

Sand Buckets = Snack Servers

Skip the breakable bowls and platters, and serve snacks in colorful, inexpensive pails that kids will love. You can even send them home with tiny guests after the party for easy clean-up.

Inflatable Pool = Drink Cooler

Keep drinks ice-cold and easy to access by filling up a baby pool with ice and your guests' favorite bevvies.

Galvanized Buckets = "Situation Stations"

Little messes and boo-boos are bound to happen during a party, so be prepared with a "situation station."  Keep it stocked with hand sanitizer, bandages, ointment, sunscreen, bug spray and wipes.

Muffin Tin = Wine Serving Tray

Keep it simple by serving adult beverages in small cocktail cups. Offer them to guests in a muffin tin to keep spills to a minimum.

Muffin Tin = Kid-Sized Snack Cups

Go multipurpose with your muffin tin to serve up a variety of healthy snacks for kids. Colorful baking cups are the perfect size for little hands.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Mason Jars = Bug-Repellant Luminaries

Whip up a few of these luminaries to keep mosquitos from crashing your party.

Make It: Place 2 lemon slices, 2 lime slices and 2 sprigs of rosemary into a Mason jar of water, then add several drops of essential oil. We recommend citronella, lemon or lavender. Top with a floating candle, light and enjoy.

Shepherd's Hook + Bucket = Utensil Wrangler

Let little ones serve themselves by wrangling utensils into buckets hanging at kid level.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Party Hats = Treat Cones

Corral larger snacks, like donut holes, cookies and pretzels, in adorable, kid-sized party hats.

Photo By: Tomas Espinoza

Mini Mason Jars = Pre-Mixed Drinks

If you usually end up playing hostess rather than enjoying the party, do yourself a favor and make your guests' drinks ahead of time. Simply make a batch of cocktails and display them in Mason jars over ice. Guests can serve themselves, then chill out with a delicious beverage.

Flag Frame = Paper Towel Holder

Use a garden flag frame to keep paper towels handy and easily accessible for little ones.

Keep Reading

Next Up

Summer Party Idea: Throw a Movie Night With the Stars

Time for a movie sesh under the stars. Just add popcorn!

5 Custom Cocktails You Need This Summer

For your next summer party, upgrade from plastic coolers and drink mixes to custom cocktails that are easy to make and even easier to enjoy.

4 Grilling Recipes You'll Want to Try This Summer

Try these easy and delicious grilling recipes at your next summer barbecue.

5 Ideas for Summer Entertaining Made Easy

Take your outdoor summer soiree from just fun to fun-tastic with these 5 clever ideas.

HGTV Happy Hour: Try This Refreshing Pineapple Hibiscus Punch for Summer Parties

Combine fruity, flowery and spicy notes for a refreshing summer cocktail with a kick.

10 Backyard-Ready Ideas for Summer Entertaining

Give your backyard a warm-weather boost.

All the Ways to Consume (Frozen!) Wine This Summer

Your favorite warm-weather beverage is back!

7 Summer Throwback Desserts With a Twist

Whip up the perfect summertime dessert for your next gathering with a twist on these tried-and-true favorites.

Summer DIY Projects for Your Next GNI

Materials needed: a tape-measure, glue-gun and big-batch margaritas.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts