The Ice Cream Social

The Ice Cream Social

One of the most fun summer get-togethers to host is an ice cream social.  Everyone loves to build their own sundae, especially with homemade ice cream, and adults and kids alike can get involved by taking a turn with the churning.  It’s also relatively easy to plan and prepare for. 

You’ll want to make sure you have a good ice cream recipe to start.  We love Rachel Ray Every Day’s No-Cook Vanilla Ice Cream.  It’s delicious and easy to make, and can be prepared up to 2 days in advance.  It is designed for a smaller ice cream maker, so if you have a larger 4-quart model like we do, you’ll probably want to double it.

finished ice cream in ice cream maker

If you have a large crowd, you may even want to have two or more ice cream makers going at once.  You can also make a batch ahead of time and store it in your freezer.  Our ice cream maker has both electric and hand crank options, so you can go the hands-off electric route for pre-made batches and switch to the hand crank for the social. 

Once you’ve got your plan for the ice cream, you’ll need to pull together a few other supplies.

ice cream sundae toppings
  • Sundae toppings
    • Consider including a couple syrup, fruit, and chocolate choices, as well as nuts, sprinkles, cherries, and whipped cream.
    • A variety of different mason jars is an easy solution to put your toppings in, but the possibilities are endless for containers you can choose.
    • Make sure you have spoons, ladles, and tongs to fit your topping choices.  Mismatched antique silver pieces can add a nice touch. 
  • Drinks
    • It’s always a good idea to have a large beverage dispenser full of ice water.
    • Old fashioned sodas in glass bottles are a good fit as well.
  • Paper products
    • Paper ice cream cups are cute as well as functional with small wooden spoons tied to them using baker’s twine or ribbon.
    • Be sure to have plenty of napkins on hand.
    • Cups can be stacked next to the water.
  • Coolers
    • A large beverage cooler tub filled with ice keeps soda cold.  Galvanized metal complements almost any style and color scheme.
    • An ice bucket or small pail works well for whipped cream.
  • Crates/Trays
    • You’ll want a way to corral and display all of your supplies.  A small wooden crate can hold napkins, while ice cream cups can be kept tidy on a tray.  You can arrange all of your toppings on a tray or on one or two larger crates turned upside down.  
  • Tables
    • You’ll need at least one table or other flat surface to lay everything out on.  We like to have separate tables for the beverages and ice cream to keep traffic at a minimum.   
beverages including water and soda

You can download the full list of everything we always make sure to get ready.

Of course the most important aspect of the ice cream social is socializing, so you’ll need to let potential guests know about it. 

We prefer to use customizable pdfs for all our invitations.  They provide the option of having printed copies as well as being able to send them as an image in an email or attached to a text message.  They also are usually reasonably priced and end up looking very professional. 

A search along the lines of “ice cream social invitation pdf” on Etsy brings back a ton of ice cream themed designs with cute slogans like “Here’s the Scoop” and “Let’s Chill”.  Just make sure they are for an instant download template where you can edit the wording yourself.  Some utilize Templett, which allows you to do even further customizations.

It’s usually a good idea to request that guests RSVP so you have a rough idea of the supplies you’ll need.  However you also probably want to plan for a few extra guests just in case.

Download our Guest List Tracker spreadsheet to help you keep your invites and responses in order.  Don’t have access to Excel?  You can use our printable version instead.

To organize all of the to do items and give you a timeline, we’ve put together a downloadable planning checklist too.

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