3 Tips for Hosting a Stress-Free Summer Cookout

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It’s officially Labor Day weekend, y’all! So, turn on your OOO message, grab a cocktail, and relax! In addition to the aforementioned perks, Labor Day is one of my favorite days to host a cookout! Why? Because A. everyone has the day off and B. it’s such a fun and joyful way to say goodbye to summer! That being said, I know first-hand how easy it can be to get wrapped up in being the “perfect host” and not enjoy the cookout for yourself, so I’ve come up with some tips for eliminating most of the strain that goes along with hosting summer parties. There are still bound to be things that pop up here and there, but these summer entertaining tips have helped me greatly, and I wanted to share them with y’all in today’s post. So, here are three of my top tips for hosting a stress-free, All-American summer cookout–

Summer Hosting Tips

Tip #1: Simplify the Decor

Red, white, and blue centerpiece created by entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

My favorite way to add decorations without adding decorations is flowers. A really fun floral centerpiece can set off any spread and eliminate the need for balloons, tassel garlands, etc. One particularly useful floral hack I recently learned is that you can email your grocery store’s floral department ahead of time to reserve your favorite flowers. Not only will they most likely order them for you if they don’t already have them in stock, but you’ll also pay grocery store prices instead of florist prices. 

For this particular American-themed centerpiece, I used these flowers–

  • Dark blue delphinium
  • Blue thistle
  • White hydrangeas
  • Blue hydrangeas
  • White snapdragons
  • White lisianthus
  • Red carnations
  • Seeded eucalyptus


Entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka shares three simple tips for how to host a summer party without stress on Diary of a Debutante

Tip #2: Order Pre-Made Food

Summer hosting tips from entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

I know some of the southern women will gawk at me for this tip, but hear me out! Summer cookout hostesses have a lot on their minds. Not only do they need to provide food, but they’ve also got to think about drinks, decor, music, whether or not their home is clean— and the list goes on. I’ve always found it risky to divvy out food assignments (probably a control issue I need to work on), so I’ve started ordering pre-made food from Hy-Vee instead. It’s delicious and, assuming nothing needs to be re-heated, can just be plated and served!

Entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka shares three tips for how to plan a summer party without stress on Diary of a Debutante

Step #3: Elevate Basic Desserts

Entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka shares her top summer entertaining tips on Diary of a Debutante

My final tip is probably my favorite– take a cheap grocery store dessert and elevate it into something special. I love decorating plain white cakes with flowers and glittery cake toppers (check out my DIY cake topper tutorial to make your own!), so I thought it’d be fun to mix it up and order a couple dozen cupcakes this time around. To stay on the patriotic theme, I organized them in a rectangle and used red, white, and blue fruit to create a flag. I chose blueberries for the stars, raspberries for the red stripes, and coconut shavings for the white stripes. They were such a hit, y’all, and this tray literally took me less than five minutes to put together!

If cupcakes aren’t quite your speed, this American flag fruit tray is another fun (and super easy) option!

American flag dessert tray created with plain vanilla cupcakes and red, white, and blue fruit by entertaining blogger Stephanie Ziajka on Diary of a Debutante

What are some of your favorite tips for hosting stress-free summer cookouts? I’d love to hear what’s worked for you (and what hasn’t)!


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