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Cheers to Summer: 12 Fun Party Ideas

by Kevin O'Gara

Summertime is the perfect time to play host, and there are so many ways to celebrate the season both indoors and out. Whether you’re hosting a large dinner party or just cooking something special with your family or friends, some of these recipes, parties, and DIY projects might kickstart your brain into entertaining mode. From a popsicle picnic to a midsummer night dinner, summertime is all about enjoying the fresh food and the slower pace that the season often brings. I love the idea of trying out different themes for dinner parties or small get-togethers, and now is the perfect time to create new traditions or celebrate old ones with a special event.

My favorite summer tradition may be having laid-back picnics, but I’ve always wanted to create a floral-inspired event, and the paper plates and DIY flower tutorial in the slideshow are definitely inspiring me! Do you have any favorite entertaining memories? — Kevin

1/12
With simple white plates and vintage silverware, all the attention turns to the table's decor. The table linens steal the spotlight with their colorful embroidery in this dinner party, which features a fresh local fish recipe and a low-lying arrangement so all the guests can easily be seen.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
2/12
In the peak of summer, strawberry sorbet is the perfect dessert -- not only is it cold, but it features a delicious summer berry. This recipe, straight from a food journalist in Rome, includes dry white wine for a refreshing tang in the flavor.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
3/12
This book party from event designer David Stark takes books to a whimsical new level with playful vignettes and literary-inspired installations. The result is a magical setting which also prompts guests to consider their own story.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
4/12
If there's one thing I think every party should have, it's ambient lighting. Luckily, there are many super easy and inexpensive ways to bring this to your party, like these DIY paper lanterns with cut-outs. Hang them above the crowd (use battery-operated tea lights) or place them on tables to set the perfect mood.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
5/12
Depending where you live, it may be hard to find fresh blooms in the midsummer heat. These stunning, long-lasting and oversized versions will bring a fresh floral feeling with just a bit of DIY skill. Find the tutorial from Ruche right this way.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
6/12
Although we've technically passed midsummer's night, you can still celebrate the Swedish tradition with this California-based couple's take on the dinner. They served paella, gazpacho, and some kimchi grilled cheese sandwiches that sound delicious!
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
7/12
Using paper plates for your party doesn't mean you have to compromise on style! These fun examples show the range of the great patterns available, and might inspire their very own party theme themselves...
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
8/12
With offices in Charleston and New York, Tara Guerard is known for her contemporary take on Southern entertaining. These shrimp sandwiches and Lowcountry lemonade look like the perfect treats for gracious hosting in the summer heat.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
9/12
Hosting a picnic is one of the easiest ways to enjoy warm afternoons or evenings with a casual, easy-going setting. This set-up from Bash, Please is lush and elegant, with a Provencal theme that is sure to inspire!
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
10/12
If you're not up for hosting a full-blown meal, celebrating the summer with friends and family can be as simple as enjoying popsicles and outdoor activities like bubbles and badminton, as this summer picnic entails.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
11/12
This old-fashioned birthday party from D*S Brand Director Caitlin Kelch brings together vintage inspiration and lots of sweets for a memorable event! Mixing patterns and props under a broad theme can give your party a story that welcomes guests and invites conversation.
Cheers to Summer: 12 Party Ideas on Design*Sponge
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Finally, as a Georgia-native I had to include a peach recipe because they are staples of our summer diets! These peaches and cream popsicles from cookbook author Christine Chitnis take a light and healthy approach to the combination, using yogurt and honey.

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