Mother Nature has already ushered summer in with a smile and a wink and it’s our duty to bid welcome to the season. These hot and steamy months present us with the perfect opportunity to move the party from our homes out into our gardens and backyards. I’m going to share five ideas for decadent summer theme parties with you, but there are endless possibilities beyond these. If you have the money and the imagination there’s not a single flashy gathering that’s off limits.
Save black and white parties for the winter — neon clothes are definitely in this summer. There’s no reason for you to not expand the theme of impossibly bright fashion to your decorations. Put out radiant paper lanterns, fix up incandescent table settings and hand out resplendent party favors. The neon will seem even brighter if you balance it against darker colors. For drinks, serve cocktails made with Midori, Blue Curacao and other liqueurs that feature blazing colors. The party should sparkle like the sun even after the moon comes out, so there’s no such thing as too bright. Once the sun does go down, hang some black lights in strategic locations to get things really glowing.
The masquerade ball might seem like a tired formula, but few people actually go all out and push the theme to its limits. Masks can be extremely fancy, dresses and suits can be extremely fine and decorations can be extremely lavish. Add a slight Victorian or Renaissance flavor to your masquerade party with a few key period-inspired (or period-authentic!) decorations. To make the experience complete, hire a string quarter or even an orchestra! Make sure your musicians and caterers dress the part as well—one exposed face ruins it for everyone.
This one has the potential to be really fun and there are a lot of different routes you can take with it. A more American style theme might include some nods to the Kentucky Derby, but a more British version of the theme might include completely different clothing and decorations. It’s easy to tailor cocktails to either version of this party, with Southern drinks like the Mint Julep and the Old Fashioned for the American theme and traditional British cocktails like the Shandy and Pimm’s No. 1 Cup. For a real treat, rent a horse with a handler—these horses are usually subject to government regulations, so they’ll be safe, friendly and fun.
Instead of the usual beach or swimwear themed party, why not go for a more traditional nautical theme? Wear lots of white and navy instead of beach wear. This gives the opportunity for hats, glasses and a lot of playful clothing combinations. Serve fresh seafood in appetizer form and wash it down with some light rum based cocktails. Decorate with anchors, ship’s wheels, life preservers and other boat-based objects. For party favors, spyglasses and eye patches will be a sure hit.
Garden Tea Party
The key to throwing a unique garden tea party is making sure that you focus on the garden itself. Go all out on the flowers and the way you arrange them. Hire a landscaping contractor and see what you can get installed into your garden for the party. Once your gorgeous outdoor locale is set up, dress up in white hats, white gloves and fancy dresses. Whichever tea you serve is completely up to you, but make sure each table setting has its own teapot and a selection of teas. The food possibilities are nearly endless, but keep it to finger foods that will not make any messes or stain any dresses.
The summer is just beginning, so you should have more than enough time to try any number of these party ideas. I’m always looking for new and interesting party concepts so I can put my own spin on them and share them with you.
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