Spring is in the air and summer is right around the corner! Longer days, summer dresses, breezy weekends with good friends call for summer dinner parties. Summer dinner party ideas can be an elaborate party or a simple potluck get-together with your closet friends. No matter how you throw your summer dinner party, get ready to enjoy the longer days, warm nights, and good company.
1: Potluck-Don’t be fooled that potluck means a subpar party. Potluck summer dinner parties take a bit of pressure off the host and allow everyone to bring their favorite signature dish to show off and share. You can do a themed potluck by picking a category of food think-Italian, Mexican, “All-American”, Parisian, Tapas or just allow everyone to bring whatever they wish. Summer dinner party ideas involving potlucks are fun for everyone as you never know what dish someone will bring, you might find a new favorite to add to your repertoire!
2: Wine Paired Meal-Wine paired meals are fun, interactive and one of the summer dinner party ideas that can go in many different directions. You can either plan a full meal and pair wine with each course-think champagne for the appetizer course, white wine to go with a salad, and a red wine that pairs with your main course, followed by a dessert wine to go along with a dessert of your choice. Or you can assign different people to bring a course and pair it with wine. If it is a bigger summer dinner party then you can have multiple people bring different dishes and wine to share with everyone.
3: Outdoor Game Night-Summer dinner party ideas don’t just have to be food-focused. For this, you can make game night if the group is outgoing, interactive charades or a murder mystery night would be great. You can even do a poker night or outdoor Olympics if you are really looking to step up your summer dinner party ideas. The Spruce has other great ideas for an adult game night that might be exactly what you are looking for.
4: Outdoor Movie Nights-Summer dinner party ideas can also involve something else for your guests. If it is a girl’s party, pick your favorite romantic comedy and have everyone bring their favorite dish to share. Or if you have young kids you can put on a kids movie and complete the party by ordering pizza for everyone or getting a food truck to come to your neighborhood.
All you need is a projector and a screen, blow-up screens are fun and easy to set up, or you can easily throw it up on a white backdrop (side of the house, fence, garage, or a white sheet). Check when the sun sets ahead of time to make sure that the movie will be starting after it gets dark so everyone can enjoy it.
5: Neighborhood Dinner Succession-This is one of those great summer dinner party ideas if you have a close-knit group of neighbors that you enjoy spending time with. You need at least 3 households but can make it as big or intimate as you want. Ideally, you want to start with an hors d’oeuvres house and leave it up to the host to come up with the menu they want to serve and either signature cocktail, wine-paired selections, or their favorite beer to share.
The main course can be two households combined to take the pressure of the host’s house (main, sides, and salad options here). The final house is dessert and if you are short on homes, you can circle back to the first house and make it a simple dessert of local baked goods and some dessert wine. Throw in an espresso martini if you want the party to last a little bit longer.
6: Sushi-making Dinner Party-Summer dinner party ideas don’t have to be just a planned meal with everyone gathered around a table. Sushi making can be fun, educational, and a time to learn something new. Just make sure that either everyone coming is a sushi fan, or have additional ingredients on hand for those that are not raw fish fans. You don’t have to just use raw fish to make sushi rolls, you can make vegetarian ones, use cooked fish or even have fun making candy sushi rolls.
7: Guacamole Contest-A fun way to throw a little friendly competition in your summer dinner party ideas is to have a guacamole contest. Have each couple, family, or pair up friends to bring everything they need to make their version of the best possible guacamole and then have a “neutral” party be the blind taste tester. It is best to taste using cucumbers instead of chips as the salt in the chips can change the true flavor of the guacamole. Make it a complete party but have everyone bring a potluck dish to share and margaritas upon arriving!
8: Host a Garden Party-When you are thinking about summer dinner party ideas, a true garden party is probably what you are picturing. Market lights strung above a long table that is set with the perfect semi-matching table decor, warm air, twinkling stars above. Surrounded by good food, plenty of wine, and even better friends. The best garden parties are not formal or super matchy, instead think of it as an eclectic blending of all of your favorite serving platters, glassware, and dishes to share.
No two dining sets should match when set next to each other (lean on others for added place settings). Cut flowers from your own garden or buy seasonal ones in the store. Don’t go for the premade bouquets, instead pick the individual flowers and make up your own arrangements, using random vases, glasses, old wine bottles, and mason jars. Dining al la fresco with a menu filled with cold dishes, using farm-fresh ingredients, icy beverages, and good conversation is the perfect summer dinner party.
Read More: 6 Captivating DIY Garden Party Ideas
9: Ice Cream Sundae Bar-Summer dinner party ideas don’t have to actually include dinner. For an all-around favorite of the summer dinner party idea, focus on the good stuff-dessert! The best part about this summer dinner party is no cooking is involved. You can easily go all out for your ice cream sundae bar Personal Creations has the best tips and suggestions for all of the toppings you need and want. Just make sure you don’t take the ice cream out till right before your guests are about to start enjoying, no one likes runny ice cream!
10: Cocktails & Appetizers-Summer dinner party ideas involving the basics of cocktails and appetizers can be a lot of fun with less pressure on the host. Whether you decide to do it all yourself or have everyone bring something to share. As the host, you can provide a signature cocktail for the group and a well-displayed charcuterie platter with some dessert to share. Have everyone else bring their favorite beverage to share and an appetizer to show off, because at the end of the day sometimes the best “meals” don’t involve the main course.
Summer dinner party ideas can be as formal or casual as you want. However the more free-flowing, casual, and less formal is the better way to go. When thinking about summer dinner party ideas, don’t just think about the party you want to throw, but think about the party you want to go to. If you wouldn’t want to attend the party you think planning would be great, then others might feel the same way.
WANT TO READ MORE?
Check out these 10 Easy Make-Ahead Summer Desserts for Parties everyone will enjoy.
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