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Easy Summer Dinner Party Tips

One of the best things about downsizing to your new luxury retirement apartment is the versatile, homely and welcoming space offered by your new dwelling. Understandably, you’ll want to show this off by hosting friends and family. Especially over the summertime, when there is even more opportunity to get together. There are a few considerations to take into account. Such as a smaller space than you’ll be used to for entertaining and the fact that your pace of life may have changed. With a little creativity and planning, you can create a superb, stress-free gathering no matter what the occasion. Read on for easy summer dinner party tips which will make entertaining in your luxury retirement apartment a breeze this summer.


Rather than spending the entire day cooking, focus on some time-savvy recipes that can help to de-stress your next dinner party. Planning in advance, as well as prepping what you can the day before, will help to ease the pressure on the day:


Dishes that can be made in one pot are always a winner. Usually, they can be prepped ahead of time and are cooked low and slow, leaving you free to focus on other party planning elements.

You may be wary of these comfort foods being more suited to autumnal gatherings, but you can freshen the menu up for summer using Moroccan influences. A light, spiced chicken or lamb tagine has all the slow-cooked benefits, without the stodge.

Alternatively, for those who don’t like spice, something like a creamy tarragon chicken with asparagus is a seasonal delight. The trick here is to always use chicken thighs which won’t dry during the cooking process.

Paella in a huge pan topped with fresh, summer seafood can be a real showstopper, although it needs a little more attention than the other dishes.

The bonus of a one-pot recipe, on top of being easy to make, is that the clean-up is just as quick.

Visit Good Food for more one-pot ideas for summertime: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/collection/summer-one-pot-recipes.


A party planning tip to remember is that all style equals no stress. So, choose cold dishes and cool cuts, then channel your efforts into creating a dazzling display.

Focusing on the presentation of your food can actually have more of an impact than what’s on the menu. There’s no harm in nipping to your nearest delicatessen or arranging a delivery of delicious treats. Breads, cold cuts, cured meats, cheeses, dips, salads and finger foods.  With Burghley Retirement Living developments this is made easier as they are all located close to local amenities.

Create sharing boards, or an even more upscaled grazing table, for your summer gathering. In terms of visual impact, it’s one of the most striking ways to display dinner and because everything is cold, it’s simply a matter of arranging the food in the most delectable way. Layer up boards and vessels at various levels, to draw the eye around the table. Create little handwritten signs for each dish, that add rustic charm to your display.


A space-saving BBQ tip if you’re keen on this style of soiree. Remember not all BBQs need a large outdoor space. You can get countertop grills and Japanese-style BBQs that will infuse your food with smoky flavours without taking up your entire balcony.


Keep it simple when it comes to dessert. Fruit tarts, sorbets, or a simple fruit salad with a splash of liqueur would be perfect for a summer evening and can be made in advance. A pavlova or (even better) Eton Mess (less work in the presentation) can be made in advance and offer another hit of those fresh summer flavours. Or why not try a Tiramisu which will develop in flavour with a day in the fridge? If it’s a hot day try some gin and tonic lollies as a refreshing palate cleanser.


There’s no denying that your retirement apartment will be a smaller space, but that can also work to your advantage, adding an intimate charm to your party.

Think about how and when you’ll use each entertaining space. Consider your guests’ age and their requirements. For older guests you’ll likely need more seating and for children or younger adults, more floor space is key. Arrange the apartment to allow easy movement and clear unnecessary items. Keep surfaces tidy to create a welcoming environment.

Use flexible seating such as foldable chairs or bar stools and add cushions and beanbags to a cosy corner for little ones. Kitchen counters or existing furniture can double as a serving area so as not to add more obstacles to the room.

If it’s a sit-down dinner then an extendable dining table can be a godsend, with space-saving benefits for most of the time and flexibility to add more place settings for dinner parties.



When it comes to decorating for your summer party then use the walls and ceilings so as not to clutter the floor. Hang string lights, colourful paper fans, pretty lanterns, or potted plants from the ceiling or walls and remember small touches can go a long way. Add a pop of colour with flowers, table linens and napkins.

Don’t forget – if you’re planning a larger get-together and feel your luxury retirement apartment may be too small for the numbers, all of Burghley Retirement Living’s developments have excellent communal facilities that can be used for entertainment. Speak with your lodge manager to discuss your requirements. There are guest suites available for travelling friends or family too.


Your choice of entertainment will depend on the crowd, but background music will always set the mood, add atmosphere and fill in any lulls in the conversation. Create a gentle, playlist that doesn’t overpower the chatter in the room and use a small Bluetooth speaker to save space.

If you have children attending (big or small) then small portable games that are easy to set up can provide a focus for their energies. Dominoes, roulette and old faithfuls like charades and Pictionary will help to amuse for hours.

When your guests don’t know each other then why not use conversation cards or trivia questions to keep the conversation flowing. Or host a murder mystery evening where everybody has a character and comes in fancy dress.


Without a doubt, the most memorable parties always include a personal touch. You can write notes or name cards for each guest to make them feel special or send them home with a small, thoughtful gift like a homemade treat or a small potted herb.


For more party planning tips, specifically designed for small spaces read this article from Better Homes and Gardens which is packed with tips.



Pinterest is a brilliant resource for party planners with a host of tips to get you started and the facility to create mood boards for your party décor, recipes and ideas for games and entertainment.



If this sounds like a lifestyle you would like to embrace, then why not contact Burghley Retirement Living to browse our range of luxury retirement apartments in Shipley, Derby, Thornton-Cleveleys, and Brighouse. Visit https://burghleyretirement.co.uk/locations/ to download a brochure or call 0800 999 1989 to arrange a personal tour.

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