Making an easy summer dinner invitation

Getting to know people takes effort. Friendships don’t just happen. It’s what we teach our kids: You have to be a friend to have a friend.

And making a “summer dinner invite” is a perfect way to get to know new people!

This is also the easiest season to make entertaining moments happen! Menu planning is easier, as you can have people enter your yard through the side gate (and never step foot in your home, if that is your fear).

The great outdoors gives you all the decor you’d ever need, or you can even meet friends at the park for a picnic…the list goes on and on.

Think of it this way: If you are a shy person, or you have a quiet family, challenge yourself to talk more to people. Encourage your kids to talk more to their friends and to adults. Kids need to be shown how it’s done, so it’s our responsibility as adults to teach them how to be hospitable.

Entertaining means that we have to put ourselves aside and be willing to ask others about their lives. It takes risk on both sides to forge a new relationship.

Here are a few tips for an easy summer dinner:

  • Discuss as a family which individuals you’d all have a good time with and invite them over.
  • Include singles, senior couples, neighbors, etc.
  • Step out of the comfort zone of always inviting the same people over.
  • It’s okay to not invite negative/downer/gossipy people over.
  • If you want to grow more in your relationship with God and with others, invite people who can encourage you and your family in this area.

Inviting takes effort. And summer is an easy time to do it.

Open the doors to the great outdoors and invite others in! We recently had five people over and sat on the back patio for hours.

Are you planning a summer get-together? What’s your secret to adding in “new” people who might be needing fellowship?


Sandy Coughlin is an author, blogger, wife, and mom to three children. She lives in Oregon and loves to develop recipes, cook, and host dinner parties. Read more at Reluctant Entertainer.

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  1. We live in an itty bitty apartment with an itty bitty patio, so we’re never really able to host. Funny enough, we tend to be the ‘neutral fun’ couple to invite when friends are testing the waters with new people! It’s fun!

  2. We’ve only been in our current location for a year so we plan to step up the invites this summer to get to know more people.

  3. I love entertaining one on one on my front porch in the summer time. I do a few different crafts that people are always wanting to learn how to make so I tell them the supplies they need and set a date for them to come over with their kids and let them play with my kids while we sit on the front porch swing and sip sweet tea and have a lesson in whatever craft it is they wanted to make. Works great for starting new friendships up with ladies I want to get to know better.

  4. This post reminds me of a good book I recently read, A Meal with Jesus. I love this idea. Face to face fellowship has sadly dwindled.
    We have just recently moved to a new neighborhood. We are planning to have an open house and invite the neighbors, so we can get to know each other better.

  5. Thanks so much for the encouragement to hospitable! Opening our homes is one of the major ways of building relationships and community, both within the church and in our neighborhoods. I often think about these verses in John 13:
    “I give you a new commandment, that you should love one another; just as I have loved you, so you too should love one another. By this shall all [men] know that youare My disciples, if you love one another – if you keep on showing love among yourselves.” (vs. 34-35) As we open our homes to each other, our neighbors will see our love for one another and be drawn to that fellowship and communion we have with one another. Everyone who sees us will desire that same love.
    Happy Independence Day! We are so happy that we have the freedom to open our homes and enjoy fellowship with one another. The Lord is good to us…

  6. The great thing about summer entertaining is that you don’t have to clean the house from top to bottom before company comes over. Unfortunately, we’re in the midst of a heat wave right now, so it’s just too darned hot to entertain. But we’re looking forward to cooler temperatures and great times getting to know new friends!

  7. It does take effort and chancing stepping out of some comfort zones. I love entertaining and don’t do it nearly enough. Working on simplifying my life a bit (bunches) more to allow for better community – Thanks for your helpful tips!

  8. I am big on potlucks. I like to have an open invitation after church for anyone that wants to come over (we go to a very small church). It isn’t every week, but it almost always is last minute. The kids can play, and the adults can chat. It works out well!

  9. yes trying super hard to make this happen, but the guest list will probably be super small.

  10. We like to do a game night instead of dinner. Competition and snack foods really make for a fun time. It’s usually just family, but maybe we should stretch ourselves and invite friends and neighbors too.

  11. Sandy, the hardest part for us is that we invite others, but the timing never works out or they can’t when invited. Do you have any suggestions for when that happens?

  12. We especially love eating outdoors with guests. It allows us to enjoy a meal without anyone worrying about “messes” from little ones. Plus, the kids can excuse themselves to play on the swingset or on the grass, while the adults linger around the dinner table.

  13. The great outdoors gives you all the decor you’d ever need, or you can even meet friends at the park for a picnic…the list goes on and on.

  14. Noted! I have been putting of hosting a dinner party for ages (too tired, not enough time, money it tight etc etc, the list goes on!) but I finally set a date and beginning to look forward to out first summer do together.

  15. Just for a laugh, heres news about someone with an open invitation for dinner.

  16. I like to invite over two different families–one that I am comfortable and a new family so it’s not as awkward.

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