How to Plan the Perfect Summer Party

people next to a pool

Summer is here and it’s time to party. Yet, do you know how to plan the perfect summer party? Not everyone is born to be a host or hostess, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. We have a few tips for you so you can plan the perfect summer party.

Choose the Menu

Planning the food should be done at least two weeks before the party. Incorporate seasonal ingredients as much as you can. Visit your local farmer’s market to see what the options are.

food on table outside

You need to figure out what food your guests like and if there are any food allergies that limit you. If you are hosting a backyard get together, something that is more informal choose the classics — ribs, hotdogs, and hamburgers. If you are hosting something more intimate, which is more formal, choose a nice cut of meat — steak, filet mignon, etc.

Once you have an idea of what is in season, along with any food restrictions, it’s time to choose the dishes. Pick dishes that are easily made in advance, such as a day or two before. Have a couple of dishes that are made last minute, but try to limit that to two at the most.

Find a Theme

A theme is a good way to tell your guests what to expect. The theme can be anything from simple to extravagant. Along with your theme, choose a color palette. Once you have your theme and color palette, you can start choosing the tablecloth, plates, cups, and decorations. Use reusable shopping bags to put all your party supplies in one area. That way, when it is time to set up, everything is all in one spot and you won’t have to search through the whole house.

When you are thinking of a theme, think about if your party is family-friendly, or adult-only. Will you include alcoholic drinks or keep it limited to non-alcoholic drinks? With that in mind, here are some fun themes you can adapt for your backyard party:

  • Tropical Party
  • Simple Elegance
  • Fiesta
  • Garden Tea Party
  • Day at the Beach
  • Pirate Party
  • TV Show Game Night
  • Period Movie Party

Serve Themed Drinks

Drinks are essential during the summer, so make sure they are refreshing. Make your own flavored ice or create a flavored lemonade. Make infused water part of your decor, add oranges, cucumbers, or berries to the water and let it set overnight.

Choose cocktails that are refreshing and that go with your theme. For example, a red and white cosmo is perfect for the Fourth of July. A mojito or lageritas are great fiesta drinks. If you want to go really casual, serve beers, sodas, and water in a galvanized bucket. That way, guests can help themselves and you can mingle the night away.

Add Games

Summer backyard games are the best! Set up different areas in your yard for various games. You could have a cornhold area in one spot, then a volleyball or badminton net in another spot. Lawn bowling is another good game guests love and it doesn’t take up too much space.

If you are unsure what other games to offer, tell your guests to bring their favorite outdoor game. Once your guest arrives, set up their game in your backyard so everyone can enjoy it. Just remember to give it back to them at the end of the night.

people next to a pool

Conversation Areas

People love to stand around, drink, eat, and talk. Set up areas that allow guests to mingle comfortably. The area can be tall tables with appetizers in the middle, or chairs with drink holders placed around a small fire pit.

Mood Music

Sure, everyone will be talking, laughing, and having fun, but you need to add music. Music adds ambiance to any backyard barbeque. Are you having an informal get together with friends? Choose the latest pop hits. Are you having an intimate gathering with coworkers? Choose smooth, mellow jazz.

Light Up the Area

Dusk comes eventually, so you need the soft glow of lighting. Choose lanterns or twinkle lights to line the area. When it comes to game areas, choose citronella tiki torches to help keep the bugs away. Solar lamps are also a good option because they charge by themselves during the day, and light up automatically at night.

Make Your Own 

Make your own bars are a hit with everyone, from kids to adults. It doesn’t have to be anything complicated. A pudding bar is something everyone will love. Have different flavors of pudding set up along with different toppings. You might find some fun combinations. Burger bars are another great option. If you’re going to cook burgers anyway, why not set up a burger bar? Guests can choose how they want their burger cooked, toppings, and anything else they want to add.

Goodie Bags

Everyone loves goodie bags. You can put party favors in them, left over food, or trophies from tournaments that you play. Use brown kraft paper bags and decorate them with the theme of the party.


One of the best parts of planning a party is making the invitations. Create them out of brown kraft paper bags if you have extra left over from making the goodie bags. Make sure to put the date of your party on there so everyone remembers the day and time to arrive.

The Perfect Summer Party

Plan a theme, a delicious menu, and satisfying drinks. Put out games so people can have fun, talk, and drink.  Use brown kraft paper bags to create goodie bags to put in leftovers or party favors for your guests. If you have paper bags left, they are perfect to repurpose for invitations. When you are ready to clean up, put your extra plates, napkins, and cups in reusable shopping bags for next time.