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5 Tips for Hosting a Lazy Summer Dinner Party (That Doesn’t Feel Lazy at All)

published Jun 21, 2024
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Credit: Le Creuset

Lazy cooking is a trend we’ve been loving, and with good reason: all of the deliciousness with none of the fuss! And this less-is-more approach isn’t only a backup plan for busy weeknights — it’s also the secret to a summer full of fabulous gatherings.

It’s totally possible to host a dinner party that feels put together without starching cloth napkins or preparing an elaborate main course. The secret is relying on easy, elevated touches to add polish without extra effort. Together, these little tricks add up to the fancy pajamas of dinner parties: effortlessly elegant and incredibly comfortable. Here are some of our favorite ways to capture the vibe.

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1. Give Your Dinner a Theme

Hamptons garden party, breakfast for dinner, roll your own sushi: A theme instantly makes an invite more special, and the focused aesthetic and menu take the guesswork out of planning. You can even encourage guests to dress on-theme (which totally counts as decor in our book).

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2. Use Cookware Gorgeous Enough for the Table

A beautiful vessel will make whatever you cook in it more beautiful, too. For generations, Le Creuset has been known for high-quality enameled cast iron and Dutch ovens, braisers, skillets, and stoneware bakeware. Not only does Le Creuset cookware offer exceptional heat distribution and even cooking, but it also comes in a rainbow of rich colors that keep a photo-worthy finish for decades. They add a dash of homey elegance to any dinner party — and leave you with fewer dishes to wash later.

3. Don’t Skip the Foodie Flourishes

Drizzle! Sprinkle! Garnish! Finishing touches only take a second and pay off tenfold at the table. Crispy grill marks, a flutter of chopped parsley, an artful ribbon of olive oil — they’ll all give your dishes a subtle style boost. Bonus: This is also a no-fail way to dress up store-bought dips and salads.

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4. Let Guests Bring Something

You know they’re going to offer. Say yes! Appetizers, desserts, or drinks are all easy categories to outsource. You can add them right to the table for an eclectic potluck feel, or transfer dishes to your own tableware for a more unified look. (We love the idea of serving punch in a Dutch oven.) You’ll do less work, and the festivities will feel even more special to your friends because they got to contribute.

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5. Focus on Simple Dishes Done Well

We have a theory that dinner parties aren’t actually stressful: Elaborate dinner parties are. The antidote to that is a simple menu — which, incidentally, will evoke the easy elegance we’re going for. Think steamed mussels in a flavorful sauce. Fresh bread with really good butter. Baked Camembert topped with a handful of tart pomegranate seeds. A seasonal salad with a simple vinaigrette. It all feels very French, non? Le Creuset is onto something.