1. Place the table with the weather in mind. If it’s going to be especially hot, you might not want to have the table outdoors in direct sunlight. Instead you and your guests will probably be more comfortable someplace shady, like under a large tree, shrub, or tent.
2. Stick to hot-weather foods. Whenever you turn the oven on, it’s going to make your house hotter. Since the weather is already toasty, I recommend sticking with cool foods like salads, chilled drinks, and frozen desserts. If you want to put together a hot main dish, break out the grill and keep the heat outside the home. Plus the nice smoky flavor from the charcoals will make the food taste even better.
3. Prepare for summertime pests. Mosquitoes and other insects can put a real damper on outdoor entertaining festivities. Make sure you’re loaded up with some insect-repellent candles tucked into pretty candle holders. It’ll keep the bugs away while you and your guests enjoy your meal together. If you have yellow jackets and the like that are attracted to food, get a few mesh food tents to protect your dishes while outdoors, too!
4. Prepare as much as you can in advance. If the weather is nice, set the patio table the day before. Plus, things like making a big batch of a chilled cocktail, chopping/cutting ingredients, and tossing together the salad (wait to dress it until right before serving) can all be done the day before as long as you have space to keep everything refrigerated overnight.
5. Make nonalcoholic drinks readily available. When it’s hot, your guests are going to be drinking a TON of water, and if your guests have to ask you to refill their glass every time they need more water, it’s going to be a long night for everyone. Have a couple big pitchers filled to the brim with ice water on the table when guests arrive so that everyone can keep themselves hydrated and so you don’t have to worry about getting up to refill glasses.