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This week it’s all about outdoor entertaining. For part three of our summer party essentials miniseries, event planner Calder Clark of Calder Clark Designs shares her simple entertaining must-haves for a seamless — yet fun gathering for everyone on your guest list. And with events like the Rockefeller-Carnegie wedding under her belt, Calder knows how to bring stylish touches to the backyard. Check out Calder’s decorating and buffet picks for ideas for your next soiree.

hgtv magazine summer party essentials calder clarkEvent planner Calder Clark offers her favorite summer entertaining must-haves.

Every Warm-Weather Party Needs…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials place settingsTeal Stripe Solera dinner plates, target.com :: Chalkboard Vinyl, voguefabricsstore.com

Plastic Plates: “Every summer I stock up on melamine plates from Target. They’re just two bucks a pop, and are dishwasher-safe.”

Chalkboard Place Mats: “This makes a great kids’ table activity — I use pinking shears to cut the reusable fabric into squares and put out chalk for doodling.”

hgtv magazine summer party essentials decor20″ no frills lantern, lunabazaar.com :: 10″ sparklers, sparklersonline.com

Paper Lanterns: “Hang these in abundance from tree limbs. Use all one color to pack a punch.”

Sparklers!!!: “These little goodies are the life of the party.”

The Buffet Always Has…

hgtv magazine summer party essentials foodAcrylic pitcher, crateandbarrel.com :: Mamie’s Famous Cheese Wafers, mamieswafers.com

Spiked Lemonade: “Gotta love a tasty spiked lemonade! The hot sauce doesn’t change the color, but it gives the drink a spicy kick.”

Get Calder’s signature Cajun lemonade recipe, perfect for hot summer days:

Calder’s Cajun Lemonade

  • 24 oz. store-bought lemonade
  • 8 oz. Bacardi light rum
  • 8 oz. soda water
  • Original Louisiana Hot Sauce

Directions: Mix the lemonade, rum and soda water in a large pitcher. Serve with ice; add hot sauce to each drink, to taste. Makes 4 to 6 servings.

Quick and Easy Finger Foods: “Slice-and-bake cheese wafers are my number-one crowd-pleaser. They have a nutty, sharp flavor that tastes homemade, but they come right out of the freezer.”

See more of Calder’s simple entertaining ideas and others in this summer’s HGTV Magazine (check out page 136) — on newsstands now! And for more can’t-miss entertaining ideas, check out HGTV.com’s Outdoor Entertaining guide.

5 Responses

  1. Sandie Rochester says:

    Chalkboard place mats are really cute and perfect for kids. Adults too I think.

  2. RickJames4th says:

    I'm waiting for you to show up at my doorstep telling me I'm the winner of the Green Home giveaway.
    Can't wait for you to tell me I won, because I know i'm the winner.

  3. Howard J. says:

    Spiked lemonade sounds very good about now.

  4. Julia Green says:

    It all looks great.

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Kayla KittsKayla Kitts is an editor for HGTV.com. You can find her doing at least one of the following: shopping for home decor at local vintique stores, picking out produce at...

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