Photos courtesy of Mostess

Of all seasons, summer is always the hardest to say goodbye to. Nothing beats sunny, school-free days and leisurely weekends spent with friends and family. With Labor Day weekend a few days away, we’re saying farewell to summer by having friends and family over to celebrate.

Hosting, especially in the summer months, should be carefree and easy. Summer entertaining is about relaxing with friends and making everyone feel at home so that they don’t mind helping themselves to food and drinks. Below I’m sharing my favorite end-of-summer appetizers, cocktails (and mocktails), and hosting tips that will make this Labor Day weekend a breeze, even if you’re the one in charge!

Contributor Note: Today’s post is brought to you by Lindsey Rose King, the founder of home decor and hosting subscription box service Mostess. Lindsey Rose founded Mostess to help the career women of her generation entertain easily and beautifully. She curates each seasonal Mostess box with full sized items in addition to a booklet of entertaining and hosting tips. Before launching Mostess Lindsey Rose worked in Washington D.C. in the political world. She now lives in Houston with her husband and runs Mostess full time.

Natural Setting

While I love red, white, and blue, this Labor Day weekend try keeping your decor simple with neutral hues and touches of summer accents. This will make it easy to use what you already have on hand and to mix and match pieces. 

What you’ll need:

Neutral Table Cover: Try a beach blanket, linen table cloth, or even brown kraft paper for a relaxed setting.

Serving Pieces Made of Natural Materials: Give your setting a casual, rustic vibe by incorporating pieces made of natural materials like marble, wood, and wicker. This will make your spread feel less formal and encourage guests to help themselves!

Seasonal Accents: Embrace the end of summer and add pops of color to your spread with fresh produce (more on that below) and seasonal flowers, like daisies, chrysanthemums, or green hydrangeas. I would encourage you to clip a few stems from your own yard to embrace a sense of informality. Keep your flower arrangements low with bud vases to draw attention to your table spread.

Melon & Mint Infused Water Recipe

End of Summer Beverages

Serving seasonally-inspired, refreshing drinks is a fun and delicious way to close out summer. I recommend having an infused water as well as a punch that can be served on its own as a mocktail or made into a cocktail. Below are recipes for a delicious melon and mint infused water as well as a Citrus Punch that works well on its own or with a light spirit.

Melon & Mint Infused Water Recipe (shown above)

You’ll Need:

– Pitcher with filtered water

– Cubes of fresh watermelon

– Fresh mint leaves

This infused water is delicious and also adds an amazing pop of color to a table spread. Simply fill a pitcher with water, add chunks of fresh watermelon and sprigs of mint, and then chill overnight. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Citrus Punch

Citrus Punch Recipe


1 cup fresh grapefruit juice

¼ cup fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 – 1 cup club soda (taste)
Fresh thyme

Combine ingredients into a large pitcher and stir until dissolved. Serve chilled and over ice. Garnish with a sprig of fresh thyme or a slice of grapefruit. Option to add in vodka for citrus punch cocktail! The ingredients are so simple that you can easily modify this recipe to taste. If you prefer sweeter beverages, add a bit more sugar, or if you like more tart cocktails add additional lime juice.

Fresh End of Summer Appetizers

Labor Day weekend food should center around fresh produce and easy bites that are meant for self-serving. To prep, visit your local farmer’s market or grocery store to stock up on summer vegetables and fruits while they’re still in season! You can find a full list of summer produce and a downloadable grocery list here.

The Ultimate Summer Snack Board  (shown above)

The key to a great snack board is variety. Slice colorful, seasonal vegetables and fruits in small pieces so it’s easy for adults and children to grab and go. Compliment fresh fruits and vegetables with salty foods like prosciutto and almonds. Keep honey nearby for guests to add some sweetness!

Summer Vegetables: Zucchini, radishes, cucumbers, bell peppers

Summer Fruits: cherries, peaches, berries, figs, watermelon
Salty Foods: parmesan, mozzarella, prosciutto, almonds

Tomato & Fresh Herb Toast Recipe

Whenever I’m hosting a relaxed get-together, I almost always serve a toast. Toast is a fantastic way to use seasonal ingredients, and it’s substantial enough for a light meal. Also, it’s perfect for a self-serve station which helps you as the host to avoid too much clean up and to ensure that you’re relaxed and enjoying yourself — and the last days of summer — with your guests!


Toasted bread (fresh baguettes work perfectly)
Fresh diced tomatoes (cherry or heirloom)
Burrata cheese

Fresh herbs: basil and thyme
Fresh grapefruit juice


Top freshly toasted baguette with burrata and diced tomatoes. Add a squeeze of fresh grapefruit juice (or any citrus juice) and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. Top with fresh basil or thyme. Serve cold or at room temperature.

Outdoor Activities

Labor Day is meant to be spent outdoors — no matter how warm it is outside! I like creating a natural flow between our indoor area and outdoor area by having food and drink stations both inside and out, and activities set up outdoors.

To keep folks entertained (and distracted from the heat), find a shaded area of your yard and create an inviting oasis for family fun with refreshments and games. When hosting outside in warm weather, I also always like to include a guest basket with various amenities that both adults and children might need throughout the day. Items include:

– Towels & blankets

– Hand sanitzer
– Sunblock
– Bug spray
– Tissues

Take Home Goodies

Who doesn’t love to take home a goody bag full of delicious treats?! Create simple takeaway bags using brown sacks and fill them with yummy treats like cookies (you can pick them up from the store if you don’t have time to bake!) and fresh fruit. It’s also a fun touch to have a to-go iced coffee bar with a pitcher of cold brew, plastic cups, and sides of milk and sugar. The parents at the party will thank you!

Iced Coffee “To Go” Station

Are you having friends over for Labor Day? Tell us your favorite end of summer hosting tips and recipes in the comments below! And be sure to follow @mostessbox on Instagram for seasonal hosting tips!