The Ultimate Summer Party Guide

Whether the occasion calls for a laid-back lunch or a romantic dinner, one of these outdoor entertaining ideas is sure to please everyone. With these ideas, you'll host a soirée that no one will forget!
Plus: Get more summer party ideas!

Sunset Fish Fry
With blues and greens reminiscent of a rambling river, plus camp-inspired accessories (metal plates, classic lanterns), this tablescape is sure to reel guests right in.

The Table
For the centerpiece, an old fishing creel, brimming with dill and Queen Anne's lace, finds new use as a planter, and a vintage store display gets reborn as a menu holder. An camp blanket doubles as an unexpectedly lovely summertime tablecloth.Once the sun goes down, fire up these iconic lanterns to inspire a few after-dinner ghost stories.

The Invitation
Guests will angle to RSVP when they receive this balsa-wood card nestled in a fly-fishing tin.

The Place Setting and Party Favor
Metal dishware plays up the rustic vibe, as does a laminated fishing map-turned-placemat. Plus, this painted trout-shaped box holds a handful of Swedish fish candy for a cheeky treat.

The Menu More summer recipes!
Romantic Woodland Supper Conjure up a lush scene that feels fairy-tale enchanted-yet not too formal-with glowing candlelight, untamed greenery, and a flora-and-fauna motif.

The Table Foliage snipped from the garden- plus a few white blossoms-gives the floral arrangement its loose, lush look. A white matelassé bedspread makes an elegant stand-in for a table cloth. Color comes from green napkins-draped at the edge of the table rather than sitting primly next to each plate. Instead of pricey store-bought lanterns, repurposed glass kitchen jars work as candleholders.

Need more inexpensive decorating ideas? 50 Finds Under $50!

The Invitation Little touches like ribbon and a tube mailer add up to a truly special delivery.

The Place Setting and Party Favor The fanciful theme really takes flight thanks to plates and menu cards adorned with winged creatures. Fern fronds serve as natural placemats. For the favor, a small box of chocolates becomes even sweeter when wrapped in pretty paper and topped off with a flea-market brooch.

The Menu
French Country Fête Timeless striped linens, rattan accents, and citrusy colors evoke a midday meal in the Provence Country side.

The Table A basket piled high with fruit works as both an easy-to-achieve focal point and a refreshing dessert. For linens, traditional Basque runners, turned width-wise, create a casual play on placemats. Lamp-shaded votive holders bring interior panache outside with a sense of humor. Terra-cotta pots supply an earthy spot for pillar candles.

The Invitation Push the envelope-aside, that is, and opt for a box mailer. A rattan-trim card promises a sophisticated but laid-back night.
Feeling crafty? Check out these easy paper craft projects.

The Place Setting and Party Favor Pairing vividly patterned salad dishes with witty ceramic takes on the plain white paper plate. Say merci to your guests with a pyramid-shaped gift box (the perfect size for bonbons) and a gracious tag.

The Menu

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.