Get summer party ideas for backyard bbq’s, cookouts, theme parties, potlucks, and more. We’ve compiled recipes, tips, and ideas for outdoor tablescapes and party décor, plus awesome ideas for 4th of July parties too. Find everything in our guide here.
Summer Entertaining Ideas & Recipes
It’s time to start planning outdoor summer parties. Whether you’re looking for tips for backyard cookouts, sit down dinners, or casual cocktail parties, you’ll find it here plus all the recipes to pull them together.
Invite family and friends to join you for fun in the sun because I’ve compiled everything you need for a great gathering. So go ahead and send out those invitations and start planning with my summer party guide.
Best Summer Party Tips
To help you get started you can check out my top picks for summer grilling. And if a group party is on the agenda, here’s everything you need to know to host a potluck party.
I’ve also put together the best backyard BBQ ideas to help you pull it all together with less effort. You can even get the kids involved by setting up a Lemonade Stand. Get ready to browse some fun ideas for summer entertaining!
Summer Party Themes
Everyone loves a theme party don’t they? It gives you a solid direction to follow when planning. Here are some themes that you and your guests will love.
- This summer cocktail party puts a spin on the classic style you’re used to.
- Host a wine tasting with diy sandwich bar for a unique spin on a tasting party.
- Have a hot dog roast over an open fire, for the kids or the entire family.
- Set up the ultimate hot dog bar for a fantastic food buffet.
- These tropical themed party ideas are a reader favorite! Don’t miss this for luau or island themes.
- Host a peach theme garden party to celebrate summer or a special occasion. Includes FREE printable signs.
- What’s more summery than a Wimbledon themed brunch? Host indoors or out, but make sure to add plenty of tennis paraphernalia.
- Welcome the summer with a backyard BBQ & free printables.
- Set up a fun dessert station with a build your own shortcakes bar & free Printables
- Everyone knows entertaining with appetizers & sangria al fresco is a proven winner!
- See how to host a Ladies Night In set up in your back yard for summer.
- Nothing says summer in the South quite like a shrimp boil! Get these shrimp boil dinner party ideas & menu.
- Host a casual cookout with easy condiment recipes to top your hot dogs.
- This Havana Nights theme party is awesome with cigars, mojitos, and fun décor.
Summer Dinner Party Menu Ideas & Table Settings
Never get stumped by the question, “what should I serve” again! I’ve done all the thinking for you already. Here are some tried and true dinner party and menu plans to follow.
- This green dinner party has a tranquil and relaxing vibe.
- Host a dinner party with iced tea bar for a fun interactive soiree.
- Anyone can host a laid back dinner party with these 6 easy steps, including a simple but delicious menu.
- You’re friends won’t want to leave this dinner party with mini cheese boards. It’s just so gorgeous and inviting!
- Set up a lovely table and menu by following these ideas for a garden party soiree.
- This sunset supper party is the perfect way to enjoy great food and company at dusk.
- This al fresco dinner party menu is a no-fail choice for hosts.
- Host a last minute summer cookout.
- This red, white, and aqua blue summer dinner party can also work for a July 4th celebration.
- This al fresco dinner party has neutral colors but lots of great details.
- Set a rustic nature inspired tabletop for a guys birthday or for casual entertaining.
- This light & rustic dinner party menu will take you all the way into fall with it’s fresh flavors.
Best Grilling Recipes for BBQ Entertaining
When the party is outside there’s no better way to cook than on the grill. Here are some entrée recipes that span several flavor profiles. Just pick your favorite!
- Start with the most delicious bacon-wrapped chicken bites for a grilled appetizer. I guarantee your guests will love them.
- The best juicy burgers I’ve ever had. You won’t believe how they’re made!
- This bbq brushed plank grilled salmon is great for dinner parties or family supper.
- These Asian-style burgers are simple and flavorful made with ground beef, chicken or turkey.
- Italian sun dried tomato burgers pack a lot of flavor with a bit of an Italian twist.
- Go Greek with these delicious Greek burgers with tzatziki sauce.
- These teriyaki chicken skewers make a delicious entrée or appetizer for a grilling party.
Best Summer Side Dishes
So many side dishes, so little time. Summer side dish recipes are always my favorite part of the meal. Pick one or more of these recipes to serve at your party.
- Get my favorite tried & true southern classic potato salad and start serving it at your own parties.
- This easy pesto pasta salad is what I reach for when I’m short on time but want to add a lot of flavor.
- This basil infused summer corn salad packs a lot of delicious flavor.
- Of course grilled corn is a favorite go-to summer side dish, especially with my Parmesan butter on top.
- My classic pasta salad is another favorite for cookouts and barbecues.
- Try this broccoli salad that has a little bit of savory and a little bit of sweet.
- Use fresh garden vegetables to make this creamy, crunchy cucumber salad with bacon.
- Make this Mediterranean chickpea salad for a hearty flavorful side.
- You can make this Thai noodles with shrimp recipe for an entrée or a side dish.
- Our sweet & spicy baked beans never fail as a side for burgers or hot dogs.
- Serve up some savory baked beans with ground beef as a main dish or side.
- This watermelon basil salad is a fantastic starter or side dish. Nothing says “summer” like watermelon!
- Add a light and nutritional punch with this marinated green bean salad.
- This pasta salad with broccoli and peanuts if full of delicious Thai flavor.
- Asian style peanut noodle salad has been making the rounds for years! And the bowl always comes back clean!
Best Desserts for Summer Parties
- Red, white & Blue Trifle to celebrate the July 4th holiday.
- Strawberry Angel Food Dessert is red and white and delicious all over!
- This Four Layer Orange Cake is light and refreshing, and makes a pretty centerpiece to your dessert table.
- These glazed lemon bars recipe never fails. Everyone love them!
- Make lemon & lime tartlets for a delightful party dessert. They’re small for individual portions and they have cheesecake filling on a cookie crust.
- When you want something easy to pick up and eat, these lemon tartlets bite size desserts are delicious!
- This blackberry custard pie is perfect for those summer berries.
- Set up an Ice cream bar to make your own ice cream sandwiches & floats.
- Make this rich & creamy easy ice cream to serve with pie, to make cookie & ice cream sandwiches, or to eat on its own.
- Speaking of ice cream and pie, combine the two into this amazing Biscoff cookie butter ice cream pie. It’s SOOO good!
Refreshing Summer Cocktails
Get the party started with a delicious cold cocktail or set up a self-serve flavored lemonade bar. You can’t lose when you serve one of these recipes.
- A sparkling peach margarita
- Tasty blackberry moonshine cocktail recipe
- Delicious light mezcal margarita recipe
- Best sparkling mojito recipe ever!
- This summer blue cocktail is perfect for the 4th of July party.
- Make a pitcher full of pomegranate peach lemonade to serve everyone in the family.
- Yummy blackberry lemonade iced tea.
- Adults like lemonade too. When it’s a bourbon ginger lemonade cocktail that is!
Decorate your outdoor living space
One of the first things to do when you host a party outside is to set up the space for entertaining. Get inspired by any of these outdoor living areas that are all set for hosting guests.
- Create a neutral, nature inspired space with this black & tan patio decor with greenery
- My favorite patio decor with subtle color and a casual, inviting feel.
- Use flowers & plant to create cozy outdoor entertaining space.
- Have a drink to enjoy this small deck decorating
Easy DIY’s for a summer party
When you want to add a little extra detail try one of these ideas. There are ideas using balloons for a very festive celebration. There’s also a fun favor idea, and a way to protect drinks from pesky bugs.
- Welcome guest with this outdoor party decor using balloons, for special celebrations.
- These s’mores kit favors are fantastic for summer entertaining!
- These red, white & blue balloon decorations are easy and festive for Memorial Day, Independence Day, or Labor Day parties.
- Check out 4 ways to top your drink to keep out the bugs.
I hope you love these summer party ideas and themes and will use them all season long.