While socializing, you can expand your network. Even though that might be your intent, there are certain etiquette rules that may differ from your typical networking etiquette.
1. Remember this is a social occasion and people are there to socialize and not discuss business. If someone brings up business, feel free to engage. However, some people are offended when someone brings up business when they are there to get away from business. They may politely discuss business with you if you bring it up, but may be silently annoyed that is what you are discussing.
2. Don't ask someone what they do for a living. Again, along the veins of above, they may not wish to discuss. You also run the risk of asking someone who is unemployed what they do and they are there to socialize and not think of employment. You run the risk of dulling their day because of it. It is really no one's business what someone else does for a living. Just because it is common to discuss, doesn't make it the right place for it. People want to be valued for who they are and not what they do. A social event is not the place to judge someone's value based on what they do. It is also the place to discuss other interests. If you don't know anything else to discuss besides work or business, then you need to get a life. If someone asks you, however, feel free to discuss away if you'd like. If not, you can politely say, "thank you for asking but I am here to socialize at this time and can discuss business with you at another time when it is more conducive."
3. At a social event, it is equal opportunity. If you are invited to an event, you are on equal footing with everyone else, except on the occasion when there is a guest of honor. Treat everyone as equals. You could be rubbing elbows with people of all walks of life. Get to know them as people before you are concerned about doing business with them. This is the place to bond with people. Get to know someone's interests, personality and character.
4. Go prepared with things to discuss of general interest, so there are no lulls in conversation with strangers who may be out of their comfort zone. Ask simple questions like "how do you know the host?" "Are you going on vacation this summer?" "Are you doing anything different this summer?" "What's your favorite part or activity about the summer? as these things can open conversation and reveal a lot more than you would think.
5. When you go to an event, act like the host and plan to engage people in conversation, be helpful, offer to get others drinks, etc. If you see someone by themselves, approach them or invite them into your conversation with others.
6. If you are in a group, everyone should speak at least once and the conversation should be balanced between participants to keep pleasant for all.
7. If you are seated with someone on either side, make sure you speak equally to each person.
8. Bring a gift for the host or follow up the event sending a gift, depending on the occasion.
9. Send a thank you note following the event.
10. Be a good listener and when you learn of people's needs, see how you can help. Follow up with those people after the event.
11. Go to the event with the intention of making a difference to the guests in attendance as well as the host. Be someone who contributes graciousness, good conversation and fun as well as help to hostess and guests as seen fit. All help you become someone others want to get to know better as well as invite back.
12. Arrive and leave in a timely fashion. If an event is running over, don't assume the host is happy about it and not just being polite allowing it to go on. Ask, if they mind continuing to stay even if seems obvious. Your consideration will be appreciated.
Enjoy the summer. Socialize as you can and capitalize on meeting new people you wouldn't otherwise as well as enhancing the relationships with those you already know by bringing them to a new level of understanding and enjoyment.