As the weather warms up and you’re swapping coats and boots for sandals and strappy dresses, you know that summer has officially arrived. Memorial Day weekend kicks off the season and it’s the perfect time to have a party at your home to celebrate. Your friends and family will be looking forward to barbecue, refreshing drinks and entertainment. If you’re thinking of hosting an event during the long weekend, here are some easy ways to get organized. Preparing Your Space People will want to soak up the sunshine, so if you have a backyard, try arranging seating outside and keeping the food indoors. If your home isn’t conducive to outdoor festivities, pick a rooftop or community park that’ll accommodate your guests and fill a few coolers with ice. And while some guests will want to get their tan on, others may want to take a break from the heat, so make sure adequate shade is available by providing a few wide-brimmed umbrellas. Keep everyone cool by having portable fans and pitchers of chilled beverages nearby. Setting the Table Most parties occur during the day, but as the evening rolls in, tea candles and wind chimes add a nice touch. You’ll also want to make sure you have insect repellant on hand (Bug Off makes soy candles that smell amazing) to keep pests away from your food and guests. Disposable utensils are fuss-free, and cloth napkins, linen place settings and nice dishware upgrade the mood of your gathering. If you have sturdy items on the table, you’re less likely to be chasing them around if it gets windy. Red, white and blue dcor is optional, but muted colors work just as well. Selecting Your Menu Cornbread, deviled eggs and onion rings are light enough to hold everyone over until the main course comes out. A barbecue isn’t a barbecue without ribs, chicken, burgers and all the trimmings. The key to making the menu interesting is using different seasonings. In addition to southern barbecue sauce, add some honey chipotle, Cajun marinade or teriyaki for variety. If you’re a seafood fan, grill some shrimp and put them on kebob skewers with big chunks of bell peppers or zucchini. Don’t forget to keep your vegetarian friends in mind and cook tasty sides everyone can enjoy like potato salad, macaroni and cheese or maple baked beans. Mouths will be watering for fresh fruit, so slice up some watermelon and strawberries and arrange them nicely on a serving platter… To continue reading “Planning the Ultimate Memorial Day Party, click here.