Whether you think of it as the first day of summer or the longest day of the year; summer solstice is a time of reflection and new beginnings. What better reason to gather your loved ones and celebrate mother nature? An outdoor party with bright colors and happy friends is a perfect way to welcome the new season. Bring on the sun!
Create a cozy and relaxed atmosphere by bringing things like carpets, pillows, and poufs outside. This works particularly well on a deck and will add pattern, color and liveliness the occasion. String rope lights and place candles throughout to add warmth. Create a pretty table centerpiece by recycling your old glass bottles and turning them into vases; group them randomly on the table or hang them from a tree branches.
Warm days call for frosty beverages! Lemonade, cucumber water, summer cocktails, white wine and chilled beer are staples for outdoor gatherings. Up your personalization game by having a sunny signature drink at your bash. Concoct a signature drink with summer flavors or borrow mine. The Solstice Sunshine contains lemonade, vodka, peach schnapps and club soda to taste then float lemon and peach slices on top. Display the name on a cute sign and go old school with a mason jar-inspired drink dispenser.
Welcome in the summertime by dusting off the grill. Base your menu on how much time you have and how many people you’re expecting. If you’re inviting a crowd and have time to spare, go hearty and big with something like a grilled leg of lamb or BBQ ribs. If you’re pressed for time, go with drumsticks or herbed-rubbed chicken breasts; both can be marinated overnight and finished off on the grill. If you’re a fan of lighter fare, take in-season veggies, display them on pretty platters and let your guests skewer and BBQ their favorites.
What better way to end the day than with a sweet treat full of summertime juciness? With summer bounty in full swing, there are so many fresh and fruity options. My favorite choices are a summery fruit cobbler (peaches, plums, blueberries; whatever looks delicious at the farmer’s market), or a classic strawberry shortcake. These desserts aren’t the same during colder months, so this is the perfect opportunity to offer them. Remember to have plenty of whipped cream available.
Many European countries celebrate summer solstice in a big way. In Sweden, it’s customary for people of all ages to make wreaths of flowers. In Spain and Finland, it’s common to have a bonfire. If you don’t live near a beach, a backyard fire in a fire pit is a great way to honor the occasion and keep the party going long after the sun has gone down; roasting marshmallows or lingering over a glass of wine. When the night starts to wind down, lend everyone a throw blanket to cuddle with.
Keep that magical feeling going by sending each of your friends home with a little treat to remember the evening. A mason jar filled with wildflowers and tied with a brightly colored ribbon or a baby succulent in a vintage teacup are a charming solstice takeaway.