These last few weeks of summer are the perfect time to put on your whites and host a summer bash. No one knows the party circuit better than Ainsley Kerr, so we asked the girl-most-seen at elegant events for her tips on how to throw one. As Toronto’s most recognizable socialite, she’s working with Rethink Breast Cancer to plan one of the largest fundraising extravaganza’s on Toronto’s social calendar, the Boobyball (October 16th, save the date.)
Ainsley’s not just a champagne-sipping socialite, though, the girl loves beer, and she’s partnered with Bud Light Lime to help us figure out how to throw a perfect backyard bash that doesn’t involve last-minute runs to 7-11 for processed cheese slices.
What makes a backyard party memorable?
Good friends. I’ve always said the best parties are dependent on the company, if you are surrounded by fun friends you’ll always have an amazing time. Whenever I throw a party in my home I always try and invite someone who intrigues me, someone who makes me laugh and someone who thinks outside the box.
What three tips do you have for a host to impress guests while also being able to enjoy the evening?
Get organized – plan your party and food and beverages ahead of time. I like to forego the burgers and hotdogs and do something creative and a little bit different – for example, an easy recipe is to marinate chicken or shrimps in Bud Light Lime…it adds a subtle natural lime flavor and makes it more tender and juicy.
Ambience – it’s always important to set the tone or mood for the evening. An easy way to do this is to use fun citrus-hued dishes and napkins (right now a lot of places are having sales on these!). Candles or tiki torches are a simple way to add light, but if you want to keep your party flame-free set up a couple of strands of twinkle lights. I know some people like them only for the holiday season, but I think they’re great to have up year round to add sparkle to your backyard or patio.
Expect the unexpected
– What if your party gets rained out? Plan for a couple of activities inside – one of my favourite games is charades
– What if unexpected guests show up? Don’t freak out our make any of your guests uncomfortable. Always try to plan for an additional guest or two. So, if you planned for this ahead of time, you’ll have plenty of food and your favorite beer on hand
– What if you end up really grilling your main course? Laugh it off and have one of your local delivery guys on hand. Thai anyone?
What’s been your favorite summer party this year? Why?
It was just a casual last minute summer BBQ at one of my girlfriend’s homes. It was raining outside so we ended up all congregating around the kitchen table (I find the best parties end up in the kitchen!). The party was with a group of women I didn’t know very well beforehand, but got to know a lot better throughout the course of the evening – it kept conversation going and made for a very interesting night. My friend prepared all the food ahead of time, which left her free to spend time with guests! And, to top of the evening she got us out of the kitchen to set up a surprise sundae bar – it literally brought the same joy to our faces as it did when we were kids! Little surprises are always a great touch.
What ruins an event?
When you run out of beer – Bud Light Lime is a great summer sipper, so be sure to have plenty on hand.
If you were attending the most posh garden party – what would your dream outfit be?
At the beginning of the summer I attended the White Knight Gala in support of GO Local. I wore my dream outfit – a gorgeous white flowing Pat McDonagh dress that was strapless and had gigantic pockets with penguins on them. To top it off I wore lilac colored Brian Atwood pumps that I’d splurged on as the perfect summer party shoe.
When is your favorite time to crack open a beer?
Right at dusk when it’s still hot but you are excited for what the rest of the evening will hold.