11 Ideas for an Elegant Outdoor Party

Master hostesses and novices can unite around these easy outdoor party ideas. With inspired crafts, like DIY invitations and tablecloths, and simple recipes, you can spend less time fretting and more time socializing in the sun.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • #1: Serve Small Bites

    Keep your guests full well into the evening with a medley of sweet and savory tartlets. Small bites are perfect for warmer weather, as you can take out only what you need, and replenish from the fridge if necessary. Stock up on cute trays for easy transportation from kitchen to yard.

  • #2: Make Picnic-Inspired Party Invitations

    Handmade invitations set the tone for a thoughtful, beautiful day. Weave paper (get help here) to bring to mind woven picnic baskets.

  • #3: Make Cookie Party Favors

    Guests with a sweet tooth can pack a few lemon thyme cookies to go. Our "berry stained" muslin satchels are almost as cute as the cookies, and they'll seal your status as the ultimate hostess.

  • #4: Go Berry Picking

    Before the festivities begin at home, have the group meet at a berry patch. Most patches let you wander and pick freely, so it's the perfect leisurely activity for adults and kids. A head's up that berry patches most often charge per pound of berries.

  • Lemon Thyme-Peach Lemonade

    If summer has a quintessential drink, it's lemonade. For a chic but easy spin on the classic party drink, add sprigs of lemon thyme and juicy peach nectar. Set up a jug with glasses on the buffet, so guests can refill as necessary.

  • #6: Decorate with Candles

    Homemade copper lanterns offer a sophisticated vibe at a lean cost. The secret? Copper tape from a home store looks just like the real stuff. Choose blush-color flowers to echo the colors in your flower arrangements.

  • #7: Create a Simple Buffet

    Whether you make everything from scratch or pick up chips and dip from the store, a pretty buffet arrangement can make any party spread look good. Start with our pretty dyed tablecloth. (Get the how-to HERE.) Then, think variety: multiple shapes, colors, and heights of dishes.

  • Set Up an Appetizer Display

    Here are a few inspiring (and easy!) ideas for setting up a gorgeous appetizer display at your outdoor party.

  • #8: Enhance Your Party Trays

    Make a simple wooden tray look smashing with woven copper strips. Pick up the strips at a craft store or georgiacopper.com, then follow our how-to for fabulous results.

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    #9: Decorate with Flowers

    Summer party decorations are waiting in your garden. Here, we used a mix of roses, apple blossoms, and blackberry stems, but you can use whatever flowers are in season.

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    #10: Set Up Stations

    No matter your party activity, make sure you have extra supplies for each guest. For berry picking, we gathered baskets, sun hats, and muck-ready boots for guests to borrow.

    Other Ideas: Set out sunscreen, cup koozies, or lawn games like boccie or croquet. Extra sunglasses for forgetful guests would certainly be appreciated.

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    #11: Rent a Tent

    Don't let wiley summer weather ruin your outdoor affair. Rent a tent for the day to add shade and sophistication.

    For more fabulous outdoor party ideas, download our free party kit HERE!

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    So-Easy Party Tips!

    Here are three easy tips for making your summer soiree the party of the season.

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