From the pages of Behind The Hedges inside the Long Island Press:
Summer entertaining is in full swing. Fire up the barbecue, put the rosé on ice, turn up the music and head outdoors for a summer fiesta. Top Long Island agents are no strangers to luxurious parties — whether attending or hosting. We asked for tips for hosting alfresco dinners and poolside cocktail parties at homes this summer. What are the perfect ingredients for a successful backyard bash?
Heidi Karagianis, Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty
“This year it’s all about luxury. Everyone has been inside, in comfortable clothes, for the past few years and they are ready to see people, get dressed up and party… and they are willing to pay for it. They are outsourcing everything…hiring caterers, servers, creating specialty menus and cocktails, gorgeous florals, DJs…I am seeing themed parties for an extra reason to dress up and get out there. Private concerts, wine tastings and elaborate grazing tables continue to be popular, and perfect solutions for easy hosting.”
Gail Holman, Compass
“Summer barbecues and cocktail parties are all about relaxing, enjoying some good food and drink, and one another’s company. In order to make your backyard soirée the mini-vacation it should be, start out with some flavorful sides, like fruit salad in a watermelon basket and a traditional potato salad. A crisp green salad with strawberries, cranberries and candied walnuts always gets high praise as well. Put on some music, play lawn games like corn hole or bocce, and pass around the must-have drinks. A standout beverage for hot day is a red sangria. Just gather your red wine of choice, orange liqueur and some slices of fresh oranges, apples and strawberries. Cover and refrigerate that the night before or, if you’re in a pinch, at least four hours before guests arrive. After mingling and sun-bathing, throw some lobsters, fresh-caught fish and wagyu steak on the grill. Presentation is everything, so color-coordinated umbrellas and table cloths make all the difference. A basket of sunblock, towels and infused water for guests as they exit the pool is also a convenient touch. Providing a relaxing atmosphere and a fun experience for everyone makes a memorable summer get-together.”
Maria Babaev, Douglas Elliman
“I love attending a good backyard or pool party. It’s one of my favorite things to do in the summer! However, I love hosting one even more! When planning a successful backyard bash I always follow my Three-F-Rule: Friends, Food and Fun. These are my perfect ingredients for a super fun summer party. First, gather your family and friends and create a special and colorful theme which engages guests! With food, I find it’s best to prepare what you can ahead of time to avoid stress. Easy to cook, freshly grilled vegetables and burgers are my go-to backyard party foods that everyone loves. Then bring the fun! I always play backyard games with my family and friends. It is a great way to bond with all your guests and make sure everyone is having a good time. These steps create the perfect environment for an awesome backyard bash that will have your friends and family coming back for more!”
Alana Benjamin, Compass
“This summer the theme party is back! Now that we are able to mix and mingle, people are looking to have fun and get creative. From Roses and Rose, Tennis Night Out, Tequila Tastings or Gatsby on the Gold Coast, a theme and a suggested dress code engage your guests and elevate the experience. Gourmet food, wine and cocktail trucks can also make a great addition to any outdoor event and there are so many great ones to choose from, across the North and South Shore. At any outdoor event live music is a great touch, and consider bringing in local talent to entertain your guests (even at the smallest events). Fun tip, if you are including kids at your parties, consider hiring a company to host a pop-up Gaga Court, it will keep the littles engaged and allow their adult counterparts to enjoy the event. Finally, the photo booth is back! A really fun way to get people together, and make the event more memorable. As the evening progresses, the photos will get funnier and the guests will have a fun memory to take home. Cheers to a wonderful summer, filled with successful outdoor events. Pro tip, remember to spray for mosquitos!”
This article appeared in the July issue of Behind The Hedges inside the Long Island Press. Read the digital magazine here.