Summer is officially here! Hong Kong is heating up and it’s time to start organising some stylish summer parties. Once again, we’ve enlisted former That Girl Lauren from Sweet Soirees to give us her insider tips on hosting the hottest summer parties this season; bottoms up, girls!
The great thing about summer in Hong Kong is that it lasts all the way into October, which means plenty of opportunities for summer celebrations. Cocktails on roof terraces, pool parties and beach barbeques are right around the corner so here are some of my helpful hints on how to throw a beautiful easy summer party.
First thing to do when planning your party is pick your summer theme. There are so many great summer themes to choose from that it may be hard to pick which one to go for first! If you are stuck for ideas, some of my favourite summer themes are a Hawaiian Luau, Arabian Nights, Midsummer Nights Dream and Summer of Love 60’s Party.
For my summer party, I decided to go with a Hampton’s Beach theme because I thought it was really fresh and reminded me of escaping the city to luxury on the beach. I also love the film Something’s Gotta Give and couldn’t resist trying to recreate the beautiful setting in the film.
To create the Hampton’s look, I chose a crisp blue and white striped tablecloth and matched it with some beautiful fresh white flowers to create a relaxed but elegant table setting. I also added a few table decorations, such as vases filled with sand and shells, with a few extra shells and candles scattered around the table to create the beach feel (you can pick up bags of shells from Ikea). I always think adding a few table decorations to accentuate the theme or your party can really make your party stand out.
When planning a summer party, I like to keep my menus fresh and light so I tend to incorporate a lot of salads and light appetizers with lots of flavor to my meal. For my Hamptons Party menu, I had:
Parma Ham and Melon
Caviar Dip with Pita Chips
Fresh Green Salad
Peanut Sesame Chicken Salad
I love this menu because it had a lot of fresh fruit and vegetables, which not only taste delicious, but also made the table look really colourful. In the summer, I feel it is always best to serve cold light food because with this Hong Kong heat, no one wants to be weighed down with a hot heavy meal!
Heat can definitely be your enemy at a summer party. To beat the heat, offer your guests cool refreshing beverages and snacks. You can’t go wrong with summer cocktail classics such as Sea Breezes, Pimms and Mojitos. However, this time I decided to try something new and fun by taking the refreshments to a new level with cocktail popsicles! They are super easy to make and go down a real treat with guests who look like they are over-heating.
Lauren’s recipe for Strawberry Peach Vodka Collins Popsicles
Makes 8 (2 oz) Popsicles
6 oz Pureed Strawberries (about 10 Strawberries)
6 oz Peach Syrup
4 oz Vodka
1. Stir strawberry puree with 2oz of vodka. Place 3 teaspoons of strawberry mixture at the bottom of popsicle mold and set aside.
2. Stir peach syrup with 2 oz of vodka.
3. Pour peach and vodka mixture over strawberry mixture and stir to combine.
4. Put in freezer over night. To release popsicles, run under hot water on the outside of the popsicle mold for 2-3 seconds.
Summer tunes are the best! Make sure you have your summer party playlist in order as nothing puts people in the spirit of summer more then a classic summer tune. One of my all time favourites is ‘Praise you’ by Fatboy Slim, it is pretty old school, but it definitely makes me think of summer! Check out what’s on Team Sassy’s playlists here.
In case I haven’t mentioned it enough – summer in Hong Kong is HOT! Therefore your summer party venue choice is crucial. My rule of thumb is, if you are having a summer party in the day you should have it inside in the comfort of air conditioning and shade. However, if you are having a summer party at night you can venture outside with the aid of a few key items:
- An outdoor fan definitely comes in handy to help cool guests down. An extra bonus is it can also double up as a wind machine to give guests that glamorous windswept look you see on the cover of magazines – time to practice that smize!
- Another key item is ice… As much ice as you can possibly fit in your freezer or portable icebox! It’s always in demand and tends to run out quickly. The good news is that most 7-Elevens stock bags of ice so if you do ever find yourself short try popping down to your nearest 7-Eleven. Apparently there is one every 1.16 km2 in Hong Kong… so there’s no excuse!
- Last but not least – lighting. With so many buildings casting out bright lights in Hong Kong, people tend to forget to add lights outside. Without your own party lighting it can still be quite dark and difficult to see your guests. Fairy lights, candles and lanterns will do the trick, just make sure to check for power points at your outside venue. You can always get battery and solar operated fairy lights and lanterns from Ikea and on Pottinger Street if you have limited power supply.
I hope these tips help you plan the perfect summer party!
Lauren is the owner of Sweet Soirees, one of our favourite party-planning companies. If you fancy leaving all your party planning to the experts, they are certain to add some sparkle to your shindig!
A special thank you to family photographer Darren LeBeuf for contributing his talents for this article!
[Banner photo by Photos By Jodi.]