Summer is here!! And, what better way to welcome the arrival of the season that gives us cotton candy at the beach, fireflies at night, al fresco dining AND the longest day of the year, than a Summer Solstice party?

We found that the key is to have it on June 21st, the first day of Summer.  This year the date falls on a Thursday, aka, “Friday Eve”, so why not hang out a bit and have some friends over for a little evening fun?

Here’s our plan for a super simple gathering to celebrate the season:

Create your guest list. Guests who live long distances or commute in lots of traffic might be challenged to make a weeknight soirée so don’t be stressed (or create stress for them) if they can’t make it. 

Send invitations.  A text or email lets everyone know this is a casual gathering. I like to let people know just a few days ahead of time for a feel of spontaneity. If you prefer, cute invitations like this from Minted or one of these from Vistaprint, can be mailed if you’re planning well ahead of time.

Plan the menu. Veggie and fruit salads are easy and seasonal. Make your own, or if you’re pressed for time, pick up a favorite from your local restaurant. A pasta salad works as a side dish. Add grilled meat or fish – whatever you and your crowd tend to like. Have some dessert to round out the meal. Think cookies, brownies, or a box of frozen treats like you used to get from the ice cream truck! Top it all off with a pitcher of sangria or other favorite beverages.

To simplify it even more, you can just serve drinks and hors d’oeuvres, or perhaps easiest, make it a potluck. Just be sure that whatever is on the menu is easy to serve, and allows your guests to help themselves so that you’re not working so hard that you miss the fun!

As much as possible, use dishes that have covers or can be wrapped for easy cleanup later.  

Don’t forget a playlist. Music is the soundtrack of life! Be sure to include classics that everyone can relate to as well as more recent songs of summer. Ours includes Beach Boys, classic Motown, as well as the latest from Bruno Mars, Calvin Harris and Dua Lipa, Liam Payne and J Balvin! Slow down the pace at the end to help signal that it’s time to go home.

Table décor. You might already have the perfect party ware but if not, no sweat. Start by keeping a stash of reusable plates for various events. Acrylic is lightweight and perfect for casual meals. Fun melamine plates have also made a comeback.  Add themed napkins, table linen, simple candles, and/or a few plants or flowers for color.

Be a kid again. Don’t forget to have fun at your own party. I always keep a few jars of bubbles on hand, perfect for outdoor play!

Goodnight! Winding down by 9 pm gives you an hour to clean up and hit the pillow with sweet dreams of the season to come.

Happy Summer!