An entertaining pro tells us what we really need for an easy outdoor party. 

By Katie Holdefehr
July 24, 2018
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To figure out how to host a summer party that's truly effortless, we turned to a party pro who always manages to make entertaining look easy. Elisa Marshall, the founding partner and owner of Maman in NYC, is used to hosting events, with everything from bridal showers to birthdays taking place in the bakery's gorgeous outdoor garden (check it out on Instagram). As a perpetual party planner, Marshall knows a thing or two about hosting a stress-free party, so we asked her for her top tips and favorite party supplies. Below, she tells us how to make a party feel more like fun and less like work, plus five party essentials every hostess should have on hand. When your home is stocked with these entertaining essentials, you'll be ready for friends to swing by all summer long. 

Let Your Guests Help Out 

"There's no shame in taking your guests up on their offer to help, and many, like myself, quite enjoy it," Marshall assures us. "This will not only allow you to enjoy the company of your guests more, but also makes everyone feel like they contributed to the success of the party."

An added bonus: "You will be inclined to host more often, especially if you don’t wake up to the dreaded pile of dishes the next morning. Some of my most fun evenings have been spent with my girlfriends, lots of wine, and doing dishes after a delicious meal." 

Make Dessert a Potluck 

"My favorite trick is to take one course of the meal and turn it into a potluck," Marshall recommends. It's easiest to do with drinks or dessert.

"Ask your guests to each bring a sweet that sparks up nostalgic summer memories. A dessert could very well be something store-bought for the culinary impaired, but let’s hope they surprise you with a rendition of their grandmothers’ strawberry cheesecake. Enjoying these sweet treats and sharing memories around the table can create some of the richest conversations of the evening and finish the event on a memorable sweet note," she says. Bonus: There's one course you didn't have to think about at all. 

Keep these tips in mind, then stock up on the effortless party essentials, below. 

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