Planning to entertain as a couple this summer but need a few fresh ideas? Here are some summer dinner party themes sure to be a hit with your friends.
On August 5th, get your Canada Day decorations out of storage and throw a patriotic party to watch the Summer Olympics opening ceremonies. Light the Olympic torch — or really big candle — and hand out gold medals for your guests to wear. Serve Canadian beef or salmon on platters of varying heights (just like the medal podiums). Toast with Canadian beer. Or honour the host country and try making a caipirinha, Brazil’s national cocktail.
Dress code: red and white.
Playlist: national anthems from around the world.
Go camping at home! Invite a few of your favourite couples friends over for a night of cooking over an open fire. (If your backyard doesn’t have a fire pit, consider booking one at a local park or beach.) Sit on lawn chairs or blanket-covered logs or hay bales. Keep things simple with a hotdog-and-s’mores menu, or use a campfire grill or foil packets and serve up corn on the cob, fish, and roasted veggies. Find some campfire-cooking secrets here.
Got a sweet tooth and questionable cooking skills? Skip the main and go straight to dessert. What’s better than a sundae party? Create a toppings bar — let everyone bring a favourite topping or two — provide a couple flavours of good quality ice cream, and indulge! (Also provide root beer for the float-lovers.)
Just because you didn’t get an invite to Diddy’s party in the Hamptons doesn’t mean you can’t throw your own. Decorate with white, and serve an all-white menu. Martha Stewart has some sure-to-impress recipes here. (Not into white? Throw a pink party. Or a green party. Pick a colour and go all out.)
Dress code: Hamptons-chic. And white.
Host a grownup pool party at dusk. (No sunburn risk!) Light clusters of candles and tiki torches, hang brightly coloured garlands or paper lanterns, and lounge on outdoor pillows by the pool. Use beach towels as tablecloths. (Provide extras if guests decide to take a dip.) Offer cocktails with little umbrellas in them.
Serve chips and guacamole, grilled shrimp and/or chicken on skewers, fresh fruit and bruschetta.
It’s hot out. Serve cold food. Impress guests with homemade sushi — for a super-memorable night, bring in a sushi chef to teach everyone how to make it — or keep things simple and order in from your favourite sushi restaurant. Be sure to have chopsticks and any appropriate condiments or extras on hand, like Sriracha and pickled ginger.
Don’t forget the sake or plum wine.
A Midsummer Night’s Dream
Get out the candles and twinkly lights, decorate with branches, moss and flowers, and create a magical night for your guests. Design your menu around local, seasonal ingredients. Martha — we’re on a first-name basis by now — suggests serving a buffet of dainty hors d’oeuvres, cocktails garnished with edible flower petals, and a dessert topped with meringue mushrooms.
Dress code: Floral crowns optional (but recommended).