May 26, 2014 -- Now that summer has unofficially begun, you might be looking for ways to upgrade your warm-weather get-togethers. The good news? Being social doesn't have to break the bank.
Celebrity event planner Mindy Weiss has coordinated glamorous weddings and parties for Fergie and Josh Duhamel, Ellen Degeneres and Portia Rossi, Lala and Carmelo Anthony, and JP and Ashley's wedding from “The Bachelorette,” among others. But she recently partnered with discount home decor retailer HomeGoods to prove that there are affordable ways to entertain, too.
Here, Weiss shares with ABC News easy ways the average host or hostess can amp up a summer soiree.
Spend Money on the Things People Will See
While ambient music coming from expensive speakers hidden inside of a bush or rock display are cool, your guests likely won't realize the tunes aren't floating down from an open window. Similarly, tiny flecks of gold leaf topping an ice cream sundae may be gobbled up before anyone has time to ogle them.
"It’s always best to splurge on something that the guests will actually notice," Weiss told ABC News, explaining that a luxe spread and seating area can be notably effective. "The table you set will be remembered," she said.
Don't Underestimate the Power of Color
"Add color wherever you can," Weiss said. "It pops and becomes a conversation starter among the guests."
This is even more likely to be the case if the color you choose happens to be the hot and trendy shade du jour.
"The Pantone color of the year is everywhere: Radiant Orchid," Weiss said, referencing the tropical shade of pink-purple christened at the beginning of 2014.
"I just bought 24 different shades of purple glasses at HomeGoods for a cocktail party I'm planning. You can bring [color] in with the flowers, table settings, table runners, trays for passing drinks and hors de oeuvres. Everything can have a touch of orchid."
Make Sure Everyone Has a Seat
There are two schools of thought when it comes to seating at a party. Some believe that fewer seats will inspire guests to be more social with one another. But other hosts and hostesses say each guest deserves a place to take a rest. Weiss falls in the latter camp.
"My thought is have enough seating or a place to rest a drink," Weiss said. "You want people to be comfortable, especially if they bought a new pair of spiky heels to wear to your soiree. The more comfortable they are, the longer they will stay."
But if you're still worried, set up a buffet and serve-yourself cocktail bar for all the refreshments.
"They should be walking around when getting the food and drink," Weiss said. "So, they will socialize either way."