Oh how I just adore summer! It’s full of easy days spent soaking up the sun, enjoying time with good friends, pool parties, vacation, and sun-kissed skin. One of my favorite things to do during this time of year is to grab some friends and host a dinner party al fresco. I think the best place for a beach bash is anywhere with a view of the water, or right on the beach if you can! While a pretty dinner party may sound complicated, this bohemian-inspired, summer soiree is very simple to put together, leaving you plenty of time to soak up the last rays of sun as you watch the sunset. Here’s your go-to handbook for hosting your own summer party!
Decorate: I love the idea of playing with color and infusing a little free-spirited, boho feel to the decor of a beach bash, so inspired by the two, I chose a color palate in shades of green, cobalt, and aqua. Instead of a traditional place setting, things got a beachy, island vibe with some woven place mats and dark wicker drink holders, and I swapped out a tablecloth for a beach blanket. When you’re going to the beach, it’s best to keep things simple and multi-purpose so you don’t have to lug a lot of things out there, so I used the fresh fruit as part of the “table decor” as well as for snacking, and interspersed a few small lanterns in soft creme to give a little light as the sun set. Individual bowls at each guest’s spot made for easy serving and guests could choose from a buffet of different finger foods, perfect for a lazy afternoon that turns into evening on the beach. Remember to bring along a small garbage bag for easy and fuss-free clean up afterwards!
Dress: Beach parties are the perfect excuse to bring out the breezy, bohemian style, and it’s such fun for your guests to participate in dressing the part! Colorful bathing suits, maxi dresses, layered up jewels, long earrings, and flowing tops paired with shorts make for comfortable and free-spirited ensembles. Summer is also a great time to try out new braided hairstyles and to rock loose, mermaid waves. For a simple DIY beach-inspired ‘do, combine a bit of sea salt with some water and spritz on semi-damp hair. Let your hair dry naturally and then touch up any ends or pieces with a curling wand. Voila!, Mermaid hair achieved.
Eat: When things heat up, the last thing you want is a heavy meal, or things that could melt in the sun. Choose your menu according to the time of day that you’re hosting your party, and always check with your guests to ensure that any special dietary needs are accounted for. Since this was an afternoon of fun by the sea, I decided that an array of different snack foods was best, accompanied by a flavorful quinoa salad. Check with your local grocery store and pick up some of the fresh fruits in season to ensure the best and sweetest taste! Strawberries, orange slices and large juicy wedges of watermelon all looked delicious and were perfect for the warm afternoon! In addition to the fruit, some delicate and crispy coconut cookies were a delightful, tropical compliment. Hydration is key in the soaring temperatures, and guests were greeted with a cold, sparkling water in flavors like Pink Grapefruit and Blueberry Lemon. I always enjoy serving fun, fizzy drinks like a sparkling flavored water or lemonade as a peppy addition to the menu! My local gourmet market had created this delicious and colorful quinoa salad, so for convenience sake, I chose to pick some up on the way to the beach, but if you’d like to create your own, it’s easy and fun to experiment with adding some freshly chopped veggies and dried fruits to your quinoa for added flavor.
As the late afternoon light slowly fades to evening’s glow and sparkles upon the water, enjoy the laughter, mingling conversation, and don’t forget to play in the waves a little! Enjoy summer’s easy, peaceful days, the company of good friends, the sound of the sea, and celebrate this beautiful season! Cheers!
(Piece first published in Lydia Mag for Summer 2014: read full article here)
Event Styling: Candice
Photography: Ashley Holstein Photography
Models: Lauren, Lawson, Olivia, Candice