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More Summer Party Fun
Even if a garden party doesn’t sound like your cup of (iced) tea, you can still get in on the seasonal hosting fun! Try one of these themes, complete with suggestions for decor, dishes, and place-holding party favors.
Beach party. Clear bowls filled with shells; a self-service “sandbar"; green glass candle holders.
Brunch party. Vases of long, skinny breadsticks; scones and muffins served on two- or three-tiered platters; vintage egg cups.
Picnic party. Red-and-white checkered tablecloth; small baskets of wildflowers; peanut butter and jelly tea sandwiches; sunglasses and sunscreen.
Summer officially begins this month, and what better way to celebrate than by hosting a garden party? Whether you’re transforming an outdoor space or creating an atmosphere indoors, give your standard dinner a summery twist for an evening that will leave your guests smiling all season long.
The frills. Edible centerpieces are a fun and functional way to decorate. Place a cake stand in the middle of your table and pile it high with grapes, artfully draping some over the edges. Dot your display with clean, neatly trimmed flowers for a lovely (and healthy!) centerpiece that can double as a snack before, during, and after dinner. Alternatively, assemble a vase of fresh herbs — choose flavors that compliment your meal so that guests can remove and add them as they choose. Place a flower on each guest’s plate, and attach place cards using ribbon in a coordinating color. Finally, sprinkle a few flowers petals over your table for a whimsical touch.
The food. Steer clear of anything heavy or creamy. Summer fare is all about fresh food prepared with a light touch. Try an arugula or mesclun salad to start — toss greens with craisins, walnuts, slices of green apple or pear, and a bright-tasting vinaigrette. Bust out the grill for your main course — chicken or white fish can be dressed with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper, and a stack of seasonal veggies (try zucchini, summer squash, corn, or bell peppers) can be easily thrown on the side. No grill? You can achieve a similar taste using a grill pan on your stove. A fresh fruit salad or sorbet rounds out your menu on a sweet, healthy note.
The favors. The theme of your dinner is “garden party”, so prepare a small planter for each of your guests to take home. Create “pots” by gluing fabric to the outsides of old soup cans and filling each one with potting soil. Buy flowers or herbs in bulk at a garden center, and transfer individual plants to your makeshift pots. Attach cards with guest names and instructions for care. Strapped for time? Pick up a few seed packets from a home or craft store and tie them together in bundles of two. You’ll achieve the do-it-yourself spirit without the farm-hand-worthy labor.
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