The Formula for a Perfect Summer Party

Summer get-togethers are pretty magical: the smell of the grill firing up, the unbelievable sunsets, and several heated games of cornhole between friends. But how do you take a regular old gathering and turn it into the perfect summer party?

We’ve discovered the secret formula for creating the best summer party by surveying 2,000 people to ask them about their party preferences. Let’s go over what it takes to throw the perfect party—and what to avoid to prevent hosting a dud.

The Perfect Formula

So, what exactly is the perfect summer party formula? Our respondents said that their perfect party consists of friends and family mingling in a friend’s backyard with the party starting at 3:30 p.m. on a Saturday and lasting for five hours and 10 minutes (we’re guessing they wanted to account for the goodbyes). The party will have 20 guests and they will be served fresh fruit, chips and dip, grilled corn, and hamburgers. The party should have an ice chest of cold beer and pop music should definitely be played.

After the party’s over, the guests would like to go home and unwind and think about the next party of yours they’re going to attend . 


What Not to Do at Your Summer Party

Now that we know the ingredients of the perfect summer party, you’ll also need to know what things to avoid.

Our respondents indicated on their surveys that they wouldn’t really care too much for pickled veggies to be served as appetizers, that wraps shouldn’t be served for the main dish at a barbecue, and that you better not even think about having bread as a side dish during your summer get together.

And even though it was once considered a staple of every party (no matter the season), our respondents revealed that Jell-O was no longer welcome on the dessert table. Surprisingly, our survey said that hard liquor was also not a great idea at a summer party and that you should definitely skip on buying juice for your summer crowd.

Lastly, if you want to be sure to drive your party guests away, all you have to do is play punk music and offer to play a round of bocce ball.


Summer Party Preferences

You may assume that the perfect party happens by accident, but party goers have distinct preferences for what makes an unforgettable summer gathering.

Trying to decide when to schedule your next neighborhood barbecue? According to our survey, an overwhelming amount of our participants (77%) said that Saturday was by far the best day to host a summer soiree. As for the perfect time—they were a bit more conflicted, but the general consensus was that it’s best to host it between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m.

If you’re looking for the perfect party locale, look no further than your own backyard or a friend’s. A whopping 51% of our respondents said they preferred that a party be in a backyard setting more than anywhere else.

So, now that you know where to host, who should you invite to your backyard gathering? In our survey, 46% of respondents said that both friends and family should be on the guest list, but to keep the crowd size relatively small with 42% of our respondents indicating that 10-20 guests is just the right amount.

Besides the guest list, the most important part of any summer party is the food that you serve. Our respondents revealed that their number one choice for appetizers are chips and dip followed by an assortment of meats and cheeses, and veggies and hummus. For the main dish, it’s all about whatever you can throw on the grill: our respondents said that hamburgers were their preferred main course with hot dogs coming in second place. And what about sides? Our respondents said that they would prefer the barbecue classics like grilled corn and potato salad, with fresh salad coming in third place.

Our respondents also indicated which desserts they wanted to see out on the patio table. Many of them wanted to see fresh fruit (59%), followed by ice cream (53%), cookies (41%), and brownies (40%)–and we doubt they’d be upset if they saw all of those set out. To wash it all down, 45% of our respondents said that they would want an ice-cold beer and 32% said that soda was their preferred summer party beverage.

Respondents were fairly conflicted on what tunes they wanted to hear at the party, but 21% said that pop music was what should be coming out of the speakers, followed by 17% who preferred rock. As for what party goers would do while attending this fabulous party, 28% said they just wanted to mingle with other guests, 19% said they wanted to go swimming, and 19% were down for a good game of bags .

Every party has its time limits, but what is the perfect length for a summer get together? It turns out that people don’t mind sitting and staying a while at a summer party: 44% said the perfect length was between 4-6 hours. And it looks like those 4-6 hours really wipe our party goers out because 51% said they preferred to go home and unwind after the party and 29% said they wanted to go right to sleep.