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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Mexican-Theme Summer Party

Throw the season's most flavorful fiesta with these easy cookout recipes and ideas for a Mexican-theme summer party. With our planning tips (hint: do a little at a time!) you'll be ready to host this easy summer party right after work at the end of the week.

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    Everything in this slideshow

    • Start Here for a Fabulous Fiesta

      From bold and colorful decor accents to delicious twists on authentic Mexican dishes, you can easily plan, prep, and throw a Mexican-theme summer party in one week or less. Nab our decorating tips, recipes, and party timeline for a no-fuss backyard soiree.

    • Party Decor: Tin Luminarias

      Light up the festivities with tin luminarias. Check thrift shops and garage sales for tin candleholders with elaborate designs, then place a tealight candle inside. The glow from the candles will add an intimate feel to your outdoor party.

    • Party Decor: Burlap Chair Covers

      Easily dress up plain patio chairs with large burlap sacks. Some burlap coffee sacks indicate where they're from; most coffee is shipped from Latin American countries (which will match the party theme). Ask your local coffee shop if they have any leftover bags from their most recent shipment (that's what we used here) or head to a crafts store to get materials to make your own. 

    • Party Decor: Hanging Flowers

      Add festive color to your Mexican fiesta with easy-to-make tissue-paper flowers. Make a few in different colors and sizes, and hang them with thin wire from an overhead patio structure or your backyard fence

    • Party Recipe: Mexican Margaritas

      Get the party started with a pitcher (or two!) of these flavorful margaritas. Whether you opt to make regular or watermelon margaritas (we have recipes for both), they're sure to be a party hit.

      Planning Tip: Prep the margaritas the day before in a pitcher and refrigerate. On the day of the party, rub each glass rim with a lime wedge and dip in salt.

    • Party Recipe: Chunky Guacamole

      It wouldn't be a Mexican-theme party without guacamole. Our version keeps it simple and chunky with chopped tomatoes, garlic, and lime juice. Pick out very ripe avocados to take most of the work out of mashing.

      Planning Tip: Gather the guacamole ingredients just before the party starts so you can prepare the guacamole in front of guests, restaurant-style.

    • Party Recipe: Tomatillo-Watermelon Salad

      Tomatillos, a Mexican cooking staple, shine in this flavorful fruit-and-vegetable salad. Cubed watermelon gives the dish a sweet flavor, while feta cheese adds a bit of tang.

      Planning Tip: Prep the sweet and spicy dressing on Tuesday and refrigerate until the party. Make the salad on Friday, since it only takes 35 minutes total.

    • Party Recipe: Grilled Drunken Shrimp and Scallop Skewers

      Fire up the grill for these delicious seafood skewers, bathed in an irresistible tequila-lime marinade. Half of the marinade dresses up a side slaw of jicama, avocado, and cilantro for a party-ready main dish that's bursting with flavor.

      Planning Tip: Make the marinade and prepare the slaw on Wednesday; cover and refrigerate seperately. The day of the party, prep the shrimp and scallops; soak in the marinade. Just before the guests arrive, thread the seafood onto the skewers and refrigerate until grilling time.

    • Party Recipe: Ribeye Steak and Corn on the Cob

      Throw some steaks and corn on the grill for a different main-course party option. Of course, we made sure to amp up the Mexican flavors in both recipes. The steak is rubbed with ancho chile powder and cocoa powder (trust us, the combo is fantastic), and the corn is topped with a deliciously spicy chile and lime butter.

      Planning Tip: The day before the party, prepare the butter mixture for the corn and refrigerate. Remove husks and silks from corn; cut each cob into three pieces. Place in a resealable plastic bag; seal and refrigerate. Apply the chile-cocoa rub to the steaks; refrigerate uncovered. The day of the party, bring the steaks to room temperature and fire up the grill!

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      Party Recipe: Fruity Sangria Pops

      There's nothing better than cool sangria on a hot summer day. So we took it a step further and made frozen pops from the popular Spanish drink. Fresh strawberries, kiwifruit, green grapes, and mango are part of our fruity mix, which serves as a delicious surprise when you eat the pop.

      Planning Tip: Because the pops need to be frozen at least 24 hours in advance, save yourself the stress and prep them on Monday, so they'll be ready to take out when the party starts at the end of the week.

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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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