Summertime, and the living is easy, right? Long, hot days and sultry nights are calling you to relax, but keeping things loose can be tough if you also want to entertain. Fortunately, you have options. If you have a gazebo, a cell phone, and the number of your nearest pizzeria on speed dial, summer party planning can be as hassle-free as the season.
First of all, your gazebo is a natural party hub, a place where guests can get out of the sun to relax, listen to music, and grab a bite to eat. If your pergola is big enough, you can set up table and chairs for inside dining. If your gazebo is on the cozy side, you might set the food table inside and put the dining table out front. Then again, you could just ask guests to bring blankets and let everyone dine picnic style on the grass around the gazebo.
Now lest you consider takeout pizza a party-food cop-out, consider the facts:
- Since you don’t have to slave over a hot stove, you won’t be too tired or stressed out to enjoy your own party.
- Almost everybody likes pizza—vegans and meat lovers alike.
- Pizza is relatively inexpensive.
- You can ask your guests what they like on their pie and have piping hot personalized pizza delivered right to your door.
- Takeout pizzerias like Domino’s, Pizza Hut, and Buck’s Pizza can deliver appetizers, salads, and sweet treats like cinnamon stix, along with the pizza.
- Most pizzerias will deliver soft drinks, some will deliver beer and wine, but either way, you don’t have to shop.
- Takeout pizza makes post-party cleanup easier.
If you’d like to kick your no-fuss party up a notch, think about decorating your gazebo. With a little thought you can keep this process almost as simple as serving takeout pizza for dinner. Check out these ideas for effortlessly expanding takeout pizza into a minimum-fuss summer-entertainment theme:
- string pizza lights from the rafters
- hang a pizza piñata filled with candy, mini bottles of wine, K-Cups, and Mardi Gras beads
- cover the table with an Italian restaurant-style vinyl tablecloth and add candles
- play Italian music to set the mood
You can also add a few stress-free homemade side dishes to the menu, side dishes you can make ahead of time and at your leisure in order to keep party fuss to a bare minimum.
- A big bowl of chilled, fresh fruit is always welcome on hot summer days/nights, as are slices of watermelon.
- Speaking of which, Watermelon feta and balsamic “pizzas” topped with olives are easy-peasy to make, and oh-so refreshing.
- Sugar-cookie pepperoni pizzas topped with red frosting “sauce,” white frosting “cheese,” and red candy pepperonis make a tasty themed dessert.
- Simplest of all, buy a few tubs of ice cream and an array of topping to set up a DYI sundae bar.