The ever-rising heat is preluding the beginning of summer, which is right around the corner. This season is all about having fun and spending time outdoors. Of course, that means lots of parties. Pool parties, backyard get-togethers, barbecues, cookouts, and even quiet dinners under the stars. There are so many great summer party ideas to make the most of the season.
With summer weather and outdoor parties comes some challenges, though. Battling the bugs, creating shade from the sun, finding extra seating for guests, and lighting are all questions that can pop up when you are planning a summer party. I’ve put together 15 fun and creative summer party ideas that address these challenges, as well as some decor ideas to make it festive.
Summer Party Ideas
1 Light your party with kerosene lanterns. They create the same ambiance as candles, but won’t burn out as quickly. They also don’t require electricity, so you can put them anywhere. Set them on the table as part of your centerpiece or hang them from their handles around your patio or backyard. You can also use citronella candles to ward off mosquitoes if they are a problem.
2 Bring a bit of the beach to your party. Use brightly colored beach towels as table runners. Create a centerpiece by filling a tray with seashells, sea glass and tea lights. Use beach buckets to hold flatware.
3 Keep bugs out of your guests’ drinks by topping them with baking cups. You can also write guests’ names on the baking cup, so they can easily identify which one is theirs. Martha Stewart shares an easy tutorial along with the source for these cute blue and white baking cups.
4 Keep salads, fruits and dips chilled during your party by filling a large bowl full of ice, then nestle inside of it a smaller bowl filled with the food. You can keep food fresh and chilled this way for up to 2 hours.
5 Create a quick outdoor room or dining area. Take a large pop-up canopy and hang sheer curtain panels or fabric at each corner. Then, tie the panels back with ribbon or decorative cording. Finally, decorate this space with furniture, accessories and lighting.
6 Make a festive holder for your party flatware. Decorate empty cans with fabric scraps, colorful papers or paint, then add trims and embellishments. This is a great project to get the kids involved in planning the party. To make these cute silverware holders, check out the super simple tutorial at Sweet Paul Magazine.
7 Turn the kid’s “table” into a picnic. Put a large blanket on the lawn and let the kid’s eat picnic-style. Put all their flatware, napkins and condiments in a basket and add some pillows for extra comfort.
8 Fill oversized galvanized buckets with ice to keep bottles and cans cold. Decorate the outside of the bucket with paint or wrap with raffia and glue on seashells or other trinkets.
9 Be eco-friendly and forgo the paper plates and cups for real dishes. You can inexpensive dishes at the Dollar Store, outlet stores, thrift shops and garage sales. You can stock-up on the same dishes or mix and match patterns to make it fun. Using real dishes adds a special touch to your outdoor table.
10 Tiki torches are an excellent option for summer party lighting. Fill some tall galvanized buckets with sand and pop in a torch. You’ll be able to place them around your yard wherever you want to add some light. You can use citronella oil if you need to keep away mosquitoes. Check out the tutorial at Martha Stewart.
11 Use folding screens to define seating areas outdoors and to provide privacy. Screens can easily be created by hinging together two or three louvered bi-fold doors or shutters.
12 Drape string lights across your porch, between trees, or along a pergola for a festive ambiance and beautiful lighting. You could also purchase stands to drape them between if you want something temporary.
13 Break out the Christmas lights. Those lights that look so special in December, will look just as dazzling during your summer party. String them along the fence or deck railing, hang them from a table umbrella or put them around your porch. You can even drop them into mason jars or clear vases and use them as small lanterns. I found this Ball Smooth Side Mason Jar at Target and filled it with tiny twinkle lights similar to these.
14 Create temporary shade on a hot, sunny day with outdoor curtains, potted plants, or large umbrellas.
15 Host an outdoor movie night by projecting a movie on an empty wall in your backyard or by purchasing an inflatable movie screen. Then, set up blankets, lawn chairs, or even soft, inflatable pools for individual seating. Break out the popcorn or pizza and you’ve got a “drive-in” theater in your own backyard!
I’m so excited for summer. What is one of your favorite summer party ideas or things to do this time of year?
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