Interested in hosting a stylish soiree this summer? Intimate parties are our favorite type of celebration and are such a fun way to enjoy a relaxed evening with your closest friends. What’s the secret to hosting an unforgettable summer soiree? It always comes down to creating the ultimate guest experience, and sprinkling in a few fun details.
We’re sharing our top five design tips and styling secrets, to help you plan a beautiful (and stress-free) summer soiree.
Step One: Decide on a Theme
Choose a theme for your party, based on the occasion you’re celebrating (or the excuse you’re using to get together). Is it a daytime event, or evening gathering? Do you want to keep things casual, or use it as an excuse to dress up? Some of our favorite themes include Wine Parties, Casual Brunch, and Game Night. You can also schedule your party around an event you can enjoy together – Kentucky Derby and Oscar Viewing Party are fun themes!
Step Two: Set the Menu
Throwing a party shouldn’t mean you have to make everything yourself, and much less from scratch. Design a menu that fits your theme and includes a few light bites and sweets for your guests. Keep things light and easy, so that guests can mingle easily without the need for formal seating and this will also keep the energy levels high! Stock your bar with one or two fun mixers, and pre-mix a signature drink that goes with your theme, so that guests can serve themselves while mingling.
Step Three: Decorate
We love using disposable partyware that is chic and pretty, but the best are found online. Give yourself a week (or longer) to get things on time, and make sure you check online for rush order fees and shipping costs when shopping around.
Use fresh flowers throughout your space to make things just a little bit more special. We love having flowers in the entry way, dessert table and bar area – and don’t forget the guest bathroom! Single blooms are easy to set up, and you can vary the flowers for drama. Carnations and roses in bud vases (or grouped together in similar hues) and fuller blooms like peonies and hydrangeas can be so much more dramatic – on their own or in small clusters.
Step 4: Set the Mood
Once you’ve set the menu and shopped for decor, add a few touches to set the mood for your party. We love complementing the decor with candles, where it makes sense – bathroom, kitchen, living area for a nice clean look throughout your home, and setting up a playlist to welcome guests. Favorite genres to browse include ‘dinner lounge’, ‘Brazilian lounge’ and for something a bit more interesting try looking up ‘hip-hop bbq’ or ‘hipster dinner party’.
Plan to have everything set up one hour before the official start time of your party. It’s always nice to leave time to get ready before your guests arrive so that you can relax and enjoy the party with them too.
Set out your food and drink throughout various different areas of your space to encourage flow and mingle. Make sure to have different stacks of plates, napkins, cutlery, and cups out in multiples so guests never have to scramble for a plate or napkin during your party. Guests love to be welcomed with a signature drink, and the best is one that can be served in a pitcher or served in advance and set on a tray for each guest.
Step 5: Thank you
Don’t forget to show your gratitude to your guests. Send out thank you notes – handwritten is best – with a few snapshots of the evening as a memento from the event. Elevate your experience by actually sending them home with a sweet treat. These can be packaged prettily in small boxes or tied with ribbons to coordinate with your decor theme.
We hope you’ve enjoyed our tips and advice. We have even more information in our eBook – Hosting a Stylish Soiree – coming soon! – including an easy recipe for a refreshing cocktail and how to create a foolproof cheese board for your gathering. Sign up now for our newsletter and be the first to know when it is available!