16 Easy Summer Party Ideas

Gather inspiration for a casual outdoor gathering from one of our easy summer party ideas. From dinner on the deck to a festive taco buffet, your options are endless for a no-fuss summer party.

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11 Fun Ideas for Decorating a Cake with Candy

Make a birthday cake or other special day cake oh-so-adorable with candies! Cookbook author and stylist Libbie Summers shares 11 super-simple ways that cinnamon candies, jellybeans, maltballs, and other sweet favorites can make you look like a professional cake decorator in minutes.

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Coconut Cream Island Punch, The Cutest 5-Ingredient Cocktail Ever!

Make our DIY party cocktail -- that includes just a few tasty ingredients -- for an adults-only drink everyone can agree on. Cut-up star fruit provides a gorgeous base inside your drink pitcher.

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Sugar-Coated Ice Cream Social

I scream, you scream … You know the drill. Host a sugar-coated ice cream social the kiddos will love -- with cereal necklaces, paper crowns, candy truffles, and a whimsical ice cream truck. Go on and get celebrating!

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Pitcher Cocktail Recipes

Where there's a pitcher, there's a party. Whether you're brunching, dinner partying, or hosting a (very) happy hour, these fun pitcher cocktail recipes are sure to hit the spot. Find icy margaritas, fruity sangria cocktails, spiked punch, and more!

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Garden Party Ideas

Spring and summer are the seasons to refresh, renew, and celebrate. Toast the season in style with our sweet garden party ideas -- from elegant place settings to party favors that grow.

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    • Spring Bulbs Table Settings

      Spring blooms, like the potted hyacinths shown here, inspired the tablescape for this simple outdoor garden party. Guests can take the pots home post-party and plant the bulbs when they're done flowering.

      Download the FREE party-planning kit + seed packet party favors.
    • Spring Flower Centerpiece

      Create a sumptuous centerpiece with airy ferns and soft spring blooms. A rustic piece of pottery makes an elegant vessel.

    • Seed Packet Party Favors

      Send your guests home with the promise of freshly grown flowers. These cute seed packets are easy to make -- and they make great party favors, too! We chose zinnia seeds, which are simple to grow.

      Get the seed packet pattern.
    • Springtime Celebration

      There's no better way to celebrate spring than with a fern-inspired fete. A couple super-simple projects plus a delicious thyme-infused cocktail and spring has sprung!

      Download The FREE Party Kit
    • Pretty Cheese Appetizers

      Colorful, edible flowers, such as nasturiums and cornflowers, transform purchased cheese wheels into elegant party food. You can find edible flowers in your grocery store or online at melissas.com.

    • Choose Nature-Inspired Dinnerware

      Set your table by mixing fresh blues and greens with natural tones and textures. Delicate blue-and-white china plates with a floral pattern create gorgeous contrast against the wide wooden chargers. Blue-tinged clear glasses keep the look light and fresh while adding a hint of color.

    • Spring-Fresh Fruits as Appetizers

      Pair juicy figs and yellow grapes with crisp crackers for your garden feast. We love how deep purple figs complement the golden grapes on the platter.

    • Natural Bulb Decorations

      Sphagnum moss forms an earthy but stunning nest for colorful bulbs on the table. Let guests take the bulbs home when the party's over.

    • Fern Table Setting

      Keep your spring party light and airy with linen table coverings and clear glass containers. The glass vessels create a modern look that shows off the flowers and plants. Each is made with a bit of dirt and pretty ferns underneath a glass cloche. Fill the spaces between the cloches with roses floating in water.

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      Fern and Quote Place Setting

      Forgo standard place cards in favor of quotes or sayings about the season. Pair the note with a sprig of fern at each place setting.

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      Apple-Lime Coolers

      Apple-Lime Coolers hit the spot for a spring-fresh libation. To make homemade swizzle sticks, cut leaf shapes (get the patterns, below) from decorative paper and hot-glue to bamboo appetizer sticks.

      Apple-Lime Coolers: In a large pitcher, mix 3/4 cup lime juice (6 limes); simple syrup (recipe, below); 1-1/2 cup rum; 1 to 2 green apples, cored and thinly sliced; and 1 to 2 limes, thinly sliced. Add ice. Stir. Serve in glasses topped with chilled club soda. Serves 8.

      Simple Syrup: Bring 2 cups water and 2 cups sugar to a boil. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes, and let cool. Makes about 3 cups.

      Get our free pattern for the swizzle sticks.
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      Paper Wall Medallions

      Create gorgeous pleated paper medallions that look like big blooms. Arrange different-size medallions into a collage. For additional decoration, wrap books in the springy papers.

      To make the paper medallions:

      1. Cut a strip of decorative paper; the wider the strip, the larger the medallion will be. (Our strips range from about 2-3/4 to 5 inches wide and about 20 inches long.)
      2. Score the strip every 1/4 to 1/2 inch. Use scissors and punches -- decorative or regular -- to trim one of the long edges, which will become the outside edge of the medallion. (We varied the designs: scallops, points, and fringe with holes punched in the fringe.)
      3. Accordion-fold the scored lines.
      4. Glue the short ends together, forming a tube. (For best results, use fast-drying paper glue, such as Zip Dry.) Gently flatten the tube to form the medallion, gluing in the center to secure.
      5. Embellish the center of the medallion with a paper circle. Use a circle punch, or cut circles with scissors using a drinking glass, cookie cutter, or other round object as a template.
      6. Punch a small hole in the top of the medallion. Thread string, ribbon, or fishing line through to hang. Or, for a collage, hot-glue balsa wood strips to the backs to connect several medallions.
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      Fern Centerpiece Display

      Ruffled bird's nest fern fronds from the florist compose an unexpected bouquet. Single plant fronds of any type work just as well when bunched together to fill out the container and stand upright. Ferns are a good way to stretch your budget, and they last much longer than flowers.

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      Plant Party Favors

      Before guests get going, get them growing. A potted seedling -- a fern, an herb, or a sunflower -- makes a fun little growing-season favor. A lollipop stick bearing a message finishes the gift.

      Get our free pattern for the plant markers.
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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.
      Begin Slideshow »

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