11 Low-Key Summer Party Ideas

Summer is all about soaking up the sun outdoors while creating fun memories with family and friends. This year, beat the heat with a few easy entertaining ideas that will keep the party going, no sweat!

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Swing, Batter, Swing

Raining candy never goes out of style. Hang a colorful piñata at your next family-friendly fiesta, break out the blindfold, and gather 'round as kids and adults take turns swinging for a sweet prize. Photo by Hayden Spears Photography

Summer Chill

Make fruity ice cubes for a summer treat that's tasty and refreshing. Simply fill an ice cube tray with water, then drop in raspberries and slices of lemon, lime and orange. Once frozen, the infused cubes are perfect for adding flavor and cooling down a glass of water or fresh-squeezed lemonade. Photo by Camille Styles

Movie Buff

When the summer sun gets too intense, invite friends to join you for an after-dark movie night. Hook up a projector to your laptop computer, then display a favorite summer flick on a screen or empty wall. Movie buffs of all ages will love a laid-back evening under the stars. Photo by She-n-He Photography

Keep Your Cool

When it comes to summertime parties, running low on cold beverages is simply not an option. But this doesn't mean the host should play bartender all day! Keep the fun flowing and guests hydrated by filling colorful enamel bins with ice and assorted bottled drinks, and let everyone help themselves. Check periodically to replenish as needed. Photo by Hayden Spears Photography

Blowing in the Breeze

Is there anything more festive than a colorful banner floating over the table? Turn up the fun at your next summer soirée by hanging this paper flag garland across the porch ceiling or tying it to two stakes in the ground. Simply download and print the flag templates onto colorful card stock, cut out, then connect each one with brads. Who knows, you just might want to keep it hanging all summer long! Photo by Mike Bullock

Take Cover

One of the big challenges of outdoor entertaining during the summer months is battling the bugs. But don't let that discourage you from hosting a backyard dinner party! Cover appetizers with pretty glass domes and cake stand covers to keep creepy crawlers away and preserve the food's freshness. Photo by Mike Bullock

Inside Out

During those first warm days of summer, invite a group of friends over for a special outdoor meal to celebrate the season. Instead of using patio furniture, why not move the dining table right outside onto the porch for an alfresco brunch, complete with pretty linens, blushing blooms, tasty bites and mimosas? Photo by Mike Bullock

All Aglow

Try using tons of white candles as a quick and inexpensive way to instantly transform the backyard into a cocktail party-ready space. Light up the night with rows of flickering votives that line the edge of a swimming pool or sidewalk, adding a sophisticated and festive feel. Photo by She-n-He Photography

Sweet Seat

Life is just a bowl of cherries, especially during the summer. Download and print this place card template, handwrite guests' names on each flag and use double-sided tape to wrap the cards around wooden skewers. Stick upright into a bowl of fresh cherries, and place at each table setting. Guests will love locating their seat to discover a fresh bowl of fruit, all theirs for the snacking. Photo by Mike Bullock

Fuss-Free Flowers

Since summer is the time to embrace a carefree, casual vibe, opt for simple do-it-yourself floral arrangements. Collect retro soda bottles from thrift stores (or find cute glass ones at the grocery store) and tuck a few seasonal wildflowers and fresh herbs in each one. Photo by She-n-He Photography

Once You Pop

Put an exciting spin on the dessert buffet by setting up a popcorn bar before everyone arrives. Fill a variety of apothecary jars with different flavors of homemade or store-bought popcorn, and let guests have fun scooping up the salty and sweet flavors. Place paper bags next to the bar so everyone can take their favorite flavor home with them; it's the perfect way to thank them for "popping" by! Photo by She-n-He Photography

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