Don't spend all your time planning it though. I've planned enough get togethers, there are a few tips and tricks I've learned to help things go smoothly and minimize the prep work so you can enjoy your time with friends. I am sharing my knowledge to help you plan that end of summer game night with friends!
1. Determine the FlowWhere do you want people walking in your house? If there is a flow right outside, it eliminates the hassle of cleaning the whole house and making sure each part of your house is party ready. Think about flow with food, too. I don't have an island in my kitchen, but I have a peninsula and it works perfectly to create a start spot at one end with serving wear and then food placed on the rest of it. That way people can get their dinner without bumping into each other!
2. Think of ExtrasWhat can you do to make sure your guests enjoy your party completely? Think about things you use when you are outside and make them available to your guests as well. This could include a variety bug spray or insect repellent, having citronella torches and candles going, plenty of lights to see by, and anything else you can think of.
3. Preplan Your Backyard SpaceMake sure all your games and outdoor furniture is set up and ready to go. This will help if you have multiple yard games available for guests to play. You can ensure each game has it's own space before guests arrive. Make sure to have a place away from those games for sitting, eating, and conversing. No one wants to be drinking wine and be hit in the head with a stray bean bag!
4. Make Food Ahead of TimeIf you are putting all the effort into the party, you want to make sure to enjoy it as well. Don't hole up in the kitchen preparing food all night! Create a menu with items that you can make well ahead of time and potentially freeze, or items that can be easily thrown together before the event. My favorite are crockpot recipes like Italian Beef Sandwiches, dips (like my garlic dip or hot wing dip), and cookie bars!
5. Get Your JaM on!Recently I have been enjoying JaM Cabernet by JaM Cellars. Its berry-licious flavor is perfect for an end-of-summer gathering with your friends. It's the best Cab $20 and under. This luscious, easy-drinking Cab doesn’t need to wait for a gourmet meal… it’s right at home in the sunshine, at sunset, or with a burger, BBQ, or game night with friends. Bursting with ripe, dark berries and plums, it has a rich, velvety mouthfeel and vanilla notes on the finish thanks to a bit of aging in the unique oak blend. As JaM Cellars says, "We take our wines seriously; we just don't take ourselves seriously!"
JaM Cellars makes three easy-to-love, everyday California wines including Butter Chardonnay, JaM Cabernet, and Toast Sparkling. JaM Cabernet is made in the tradition of great California winemakeing- rich, bold, and delicious. You can use their wine finder to see where to purchase near you. Click here for more ideas and to download a summer chilling playlist. Get your JaM on! And here is another tip for your gathering. Since red wines are designed to be sipped at room temperature, if you are still having warmer weather, just pop JaM Cab in the fridge for 20 minutes before guests arrive and the wine should be just the right temperature for your gathering!
Don't forget to check out the wine finder to see where you can purchase JaM Cab near you!
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.