How to Throw a Sweet Summer Soiree

Host your own casual outdoor party complete with croquet and tea sandwiches. Get three easy DIY projects and pretty recipes, everything you need to celebrate summer in style is right here.

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Dress Up a Dessert in 8 Seconds (or Less!)

Make any dessert recipe worthy of a party with these easy ideas to dress them up. Each dessert idea can be done within 8 seconds!

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Our Latest Party Recipes

It's time to take it outside. We're sharing recipes that are best served al fresco with friends. Salute summer, from drinks to dessert, with the latest recipes from Better Homes and Gardens.

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How to Throw a Vintage Backyard Luau

Say aloha to paradise. With island-inspired decor and pineapple-kissed dishes, your backyard luau will be looking like a vintage oasis in no time. Now crank the Jimmy Buffet and get chilling!

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Summer Party: How To Set Up An Outdoor Bar

The best outdoor parties include a self-serve drink station so no one gets stuck tending bar. Here are three tips for your next event.

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Creative Outdoor Table Settings

Combine sophistication and creativity when setting your table for an outdoor party -- our place setting ideas mix different colors and add natural elements to create a fresh look on your patio table.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Use a Rock as a Place Card

      A flat black rock resting on a single hosta leaf is a fun alternative for an outdoor table place card and adds a cool touch to natural-theme table decorations.

    • Choose an Outdoor-Inspired Theme

      This earthy place setting is perfect for an outdoor party and can be put together in minutes. Set a single plate atop a solid-color place mat and add a large cabbage leaf to the center. Tie a bundle of silverware with green twine to finish the look.

    • Make a Natural Napkin Ring

      Light teal plates and bowls make a serene outdoor table setting but stand out thanks to the unusual napkin ring. Tie a brown cloth napkin with sisal twine ties and top with a dried flower pod to give each place setting naturally rustic appeal.

    • Add a Pretty Center Bowl

      A bright yellow flower in a petite pink footed dish adds a sunny outlook to this fresh outdoor table setting.

    • Combine Flowers and Silverware

      Instead of setting silverware on either side of your place settings, roll it neatly in a cloth napkin and tuck in a few flowers for a fresh and easy outdoor table look.

    • Stick with a Simple Design

      Add texture to an outdoor table place setting by incorporating burlap (here, we used it for the tablecloth and napkins). Silverware with twisted handles and patterned plates add color to the table, and a just-bloomed sunflower completes the bright, natural touch.

    • Choose a Color Theme

      Before you set your outdoor table, decide on a cohesive color theme. Here, pink is the star color in the chargers and tinted glassware, but a hint of green and white add appropriate balance to the overall look of the outdoor table setting.

    • Top Plates with Natural Elements

      Three distinct floral patterns ring the edges of the dishes in this outdoor table place setting. When mixing different designs, use a single color to unite the setting. Here, the designs are brought together with a light blue napkin. A few faux bird eggs resting in a tiny nest (available at crafts stores) add nature to your outdoor party.

    • Use Multiple Colors

      Outdoor entertaining is often more casual than indoor dinner parties, so don't be afraid to mix and match dishes to create a funky look for your place settings. Choose chargers and plates in colors that complement each other. Here, we used a brown napkin ring to tie pale yellow, blue, jade green, and burnt orange together.

      Editor's Tip: If you want to mix up the look of each place setting, change the colors of each element around.

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      Add a Small Bouquet

      An easy way to jazz up an outdoor table setting is to include a small fresh-from-the-garden bouquet (we used a single blue delphinium and a Lily of the Valley stem) in a simple vase. Here, a large blue plate with a white floral design sits atop a rich blue place mat, while a sweet blue-pattern white bowl holds the look together.

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      Next Slideshow Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Cheap Outdoor Party Ideas

      Throw an outdoor party on a budget -- we have paper decorations, easy snack ideas, and even a fun dip-dye technique that transforms dollar-store napkins into perfect party accessories.
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