Planning, food and decorations can take your summer entertaining up a notch

Serve your party food buffet or family style so guests can choose the items and quantities to put on their plate.

Serve your party food buffet or family style so guests can choose the items and quantities to put on their plate.

From Memorial Day to Labor Day, the summer season is full of opportunities to throw a party. Backyard gatherings can be as basic as a barbecue or get more creative.

Natalie Imhoff, owner and event stylist at The Bridal Solution, said she likes to start party planning with a theme she can incorporate into the menu, decorations and entertainment.

“It doesn’t have to be a cheesy theme. But if you can at least nail down colors, it is easier to pull all of the different elements of the party together,” said Imhoff.

Hot dogs, chicken legs and thighs, flank steak and ground beef for burger patties are some of the most economical choices for food, said chef Geraldo Hernandez of Hy-Vee. He also suggests cooking up pork steaks instead of more expensive T-bones, filets and New York strips.

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