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Here are a few tips to make your life easier as the host, and suggestions to help the host if you’re a guest. Afterall, party planning can be just as fun as the party itself!

If you’re the host:

  1. Cut down on plates and utensils and serve a few snacks that can be easily eaten with hands, like chips and salsa party cups and mini lobster rolls.

2. Give burgers and grilled chicken a personalized touch. Set out a BBQ sauce bar so everyone can dip and slather their own.

3. Don’t worry about shaking up time-consuming signature cocktails. Instead, red, white, and blue ice cubes take 10 minutes to make and can be added to drinks for both adults and kids. Or just add berries and sliced fruit like raspberries and strawberries to a clear drinks dispenser with ice water.

4. Create food label cards to make it easy for guests with sensitivities to pick what they want to eat.

If you’re a guest:

1. Always ask the host what you can bring. They’re usually taking care of the main dish, but always appreciate sides and salads that round out the meal.

2. Try a salad that’s refreshing and pairs well with grilled meats, like watermelon and berry salad with feta.

3. If you’ve been assigned dessert, make a batch of bite-sized ice cream sandwiches for a crowd-pleasing finish. Keep in a cooler until ready to serve.

4. An extra bag of ice (or two) is always appreciated by the host!

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