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6 COVID-proof summer entertaining trends

It’s been several LONG months of COVID lockdowns, restrictions, quarantines, and isolation. Luckily, with infection rates going down and vaccinations on the rise in the U.S., the summer of 2021 is shaping up to offer some well-deserved relief.

So what will summer entertaining trends look like this year? We may not live exactly as we did before, but hopefully, a return to some sort of normalcy will bring a chance to reconnect with the people we care about and do the things we couldn’t last summer.

The guidelines for social gatherings and entertaining are constantly evolving, and before you try to implement some trendy party ideas it’s always recommended you check out the latest guidelines from the CDC and your local government to make sure you are being compliant. 

Let’s get ready to socialize — responsibly — in the summer of 2021!

Wooden table with tablecloth on patio6 Summer entertaining trends in a COVID age

If you’re itching to host a gathering while being mindful of keeping everyone as safe as possible, bear these things in mind:

  1. With warmer weather comes more opportunities for outside events, so take full advantage and plan an event that keeps everyone in the fresh air!
  1. Place hand sanitizer bottles strategically around the gathering, including near the food and beverages, and on side tables next to outdoor furnishings. It’s a subtle, but effective, reminder to keep hands clean. 
  1. When hosting a birthday party there’s one tradition that may never actually come back — having the guest of honor blow out candles on the cake! Instead, opt for a birthday cupcake with a single candle.
  1. Now may not be the time to invite the whole neighborhood to your party, so stick to a manageable number of friends. Not only is it a safer idea, but after such a long time apart, hosting a smaller group will give you more quality time to reconnect. 
  1. Avoid big bowls of chips and other snacks in favor of individual bags. Use the same mindset when it comes to veggies and dips and create small cups of hummus filled with pre-cut vegetables for dipping. As a bonus, individual sizes mean double-dipping is definitely allowed.
  1. Hire a server to minimize the number of people touching serving utensils and bottles of wine. While this certainly keeps germ-spreading down, it’s also an easy way to class up your event. It doesn’t need to be costly, either. There are always college kids and other young adults looking to pick up some extra work. 

Trendy party ideas 

Now that you’ve got your safety tips under control, it’s time to plan a trendy party that will definitely have a place in the post-COVID scrapbook!

BYOB Barbecue

You supply the food, your guests supply the booze, and everyone wins! Give guests a little guidance and suggest perfect burger-pairing wines, local microbrewery finds, signature cocktails, etc. This frees up your time (and budget) so you can focus on the food and leave the drink selection to your guests. 

Fireside Fun

Invite a small group of friends over for an evening of fireside chats and homemade s’mores. Intimate gatherings are a more responsible choice this summer anyway, and this type of event is tailor-made for a small group. 

Backyard movie night 

Here’s what you need for a DIY backyard movie theater. Don’t worry, it’s easier than you think!

Portable screen: All you need is a white flat sheet and a place to hang it, like the side of the garage or between two trees. Be sure to pull it super taut to prevent wrinkles and increase movie quality.

Projector: You can find dozens of projector options on Amazon in every price range. When it’s time to watch the movie, just connect the projector to the Amazon Fire Stick, a media streamer, or Apple TV.

Sound system: Your portable Bluetooth audio will work fine, but make sure your speakers are powerful enough for everyone to hear.

Seating and snacks: Provide comfortable seating and an array of individually bundled snacks and drinks and get ready for showtime!

Entertaining may still look a little different this summer, but at least we can finally consider socializing again. With some simple precautions and a few tweaks to your regular entertaining style, you can safely welcome friends and family to your home again this summer. 

Editors' Recommendations

Kim Renta
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Kim has written for Bloomingdales, Movado, and various e-commerce wine sites. When she's not writing about wine and…
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