Long days and warm nights have finally arrived, and there’s no better time to pull out the platters and get ready for a season of relaxed summer soirees. To ensure your get-togethers are as impressive as they are stress-free, here are our tips for ‘effortless entertaining’.

First impressions
Theming is an easy way to keep your styling united. But if beachy, nautical or ‘20s aren’t your thing, transform your setting simply with candles or flowers. Not only do candles soften the lighting, they set the mood. Cluster them, make a trail or float them in a bowl. If flowers are more your style, make some gorgeous blooms your floating centrepiece. Try frangipanis, hibiscus or hydrangeas. Alternatively, gather all of your flowering pots into the one entertaining locale for an exquisite burst of colour.

Enhance the mood further with fairy lights – draped along fencing or over trees, café lights – strung overhead, or lanterns – hanging from branches. Balinese-style torches will make the setting unforgettable.

Guest DIY
There’s no escaping the catering side of things, but make it easier to enjoy the night (or day), by letting guests take care of themselves. Keep drinks on ice or set up a serving station – complete with glasses/cups, straws, napkins, plenty of water and, of course, Champagne. And have food – along with plates, utensils and napkins – ready to go.

Seating, heating, bugs – so much to go wrong, but so easy to avoid. If you don’t have enough outdoor seating, bring some out from inside. If an update is on the agenda, 2018 is touted by some as the year of wicker – perfect for soaking up the atmosphere while savouring that delectable cocktail. Finally, a basket of tissues, repellent and blankets will ensure everyone stays comfortable after dark.

PRODUCT IMAGES (top to bottom): The Outdoor Furniture Specialists, Early Settler, Freedom, Fantastic
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