Summer doesn’t officially start until June 20, but I’m already loving spending time in the warm air with my friends and family. And it’s the perfect time for it, too!
June is National Family Month and Pride Month, which means it’s time to celebrate the people in your community, whether they live in the same home or are spread out across the world!
Whether you’re hosting a small family reunion after far too long apart, or you’re celebrating summertime with your found family, I’ve got the decorating, dining, and entertaining inspiration you need to craft a meaningful get-together.
Outdoor Dining That Seats Everyone Easily
It’s one of the best things about summer gatherings – eating outside as the sun goes down. But, asking everyone to bring their own lawn chair tends to end up in failed plans (and not exactly magical photos).
Want to try something different? Layer rugs, linens, blankets, and outdoor throw pillows on the grass (bonus points if the colors coordinate!). If you want to avoid having everyone hold their plates, go for a low-lying (and cheap) table by setting cinder blocks beneath a sheet or two of 4’ x 8’ plywood (or CDX plywood for a smoother look). Feel free to spray paint the cinder blocks to add a pop of color or use black for a more modern look.
From here, add your favorite table runners, placemats, chargers, plates, and wine glasses! My favorite summer centerpieces include sunflowers, chamomile, baby’s breath, and hurricane candle holders. However, I’ve been seeing collections of succulents as center pieces recently, and I’ll admit, I’m in love.
Décor Tip: Psst! Thinking ahead about 4th of July celebrations? You can keep things chic and patriotic without cheesy décor. Look into faded red and blue linens, a simple tablecloth, and white flowers in Mason jars.
Décor and More
If you’re a fan of a simple color palette (and if you inwardly cringe at the tacky BBQ décor in the grocery store), you’re not alone. Here’s a few of my favorite hacks for keeping things looking chic and effortless:
Cut the Packaging - Want to include your favorite chips and drinks in your evening – without their ultra-bright packaging? Put chips in single-serve brown paper bags and pour drinks into mason jars before putting them on ice. Don’t want to use a beat-up cooler? Dump ice into a wheelbarrow for a rustic look or grab a few galvanized metal tubs.
White and Clear Balloons - Instead of covering your space in bright colors that never seem to match anything, use white or clear balloons (and maybe one or two colors)! Keep them from floating away by tying them to Mason jars holding tea lights. If you have a pool, sink water-filled mason jars and give your balloons a long leash to let them hover a bit above the water.
Decorate with Light - Annnd here’s your reminder to hang up those outdoor string lights and buy some sparklers. You’re welcome!
Cater to Every Taste
Keep the preparations light – and still cater to everyone’s taste with a delicious bar-style dinner! Prep some pasta and put out warm marinara and alfredo sauce. Fill a partitioned dish with mushrooms, basil leaves, little pepperonis, sliced peppers, meatballs, peas, and pearl onions.
This also works great for dessert! Display a few stacks of sugar cookies and a tub of frosting (quick recipe: whip 1 pkg cream cheese + 6 tbsp sugar + ½ tsp vanilla – I like to triple this!). Leave out cups of cut up kiwi, strawberries, pineapple, and blueberries. Then, friends and family can pile high their own fruit pizza dessert! Prefer to combine dinner and dessert? Try breakfast-for-dinner and finally pull out that Belgian waffle maker! Stack up some delicious waffles in a basket and set out little bowls of fruit, chocolate chips, whipped cream, or even this incredible raspberry sauce!
Good, Old-Fashioned Fun
A great way to involve family members of all ages is to bring back the classic backyard games we all love! Grab supplies for a spoon and egg relay, potato sack (or pillowcase) race, beer (or water) pong, and other Minute to Win It-style games! For a personalized competition, have every guest write their name on a sticky note as they walk in and dole them out later with the instructions 1) not to look at their new identity, and 2) to place the sticky note on their forehead. A fun game of “Who Am I?” will commence!
Going for a more sophisticated vibe? Bring your bar cart outdoors, or stack wood crates facing outward to create “shelves” that hold all the essentials from liquor to mixers to glasses and straws.