This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party

9 Creative Dinner Party Themes To Try This Summer

This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party

It’s no secret that I love entertaining! There is just something so wonderful about inviting friends into your home and eating delicious food together.

Don’t you agree?! While I adore a good party almost anytime of year I especially love the low-key, relaxed vibes that summer naturally brings.

Since we’ve been working hard to get our yard summer ready, I’ve been dreaming up some fun ideas for outdoor get togethers and a themed dinner party is definitely on my must do list!

I’ve gathered 9 seriously dreamy Dinner Party Themes that would be oh so perfect for summer entertaining.

Click the link or the photo for more photos and inspiration for each theme.

Around the World

How fun would it be to host an ‘Around The World’ Dinner Party where each guest was assigned a different country.

Each guest would have to where garb from that country, bring food from that country and maybe share some fun facts!

You could even have each guest/couple share a famous song from the country they are assigned!

Crawfish Boil

Since moving to ‘the south’, I’ve come to LOVE a good Crawfish Boil.

What is a Crawfish Boil you ask? It’s a ‘picnic’ style dinner spread out on a long table covered in newspaper.

Occasionally sides are served, but a standard boil includes: crawfish, andouille sausage, onions, potatoes and corn. I adore additional lemons and LOTS of melted butter.

I love that they are low-key, outside, served on newspaper of all things and can be eaten fresh off the grill! They are the perfect summer dinner party!

A Summer Soiree

Oh man….is there anything better than a fresh meal out on the patio?! We to call those ‘Summer Soirees’ and we often add lights, music and yard games.

We play games until it’s too dark to play anymore and then we often sit around and gab the night away.

Greek Outdoor Dinner Party

Our family LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Greek food! We have a great little Greek diner near us and order take-out quite frequently.

I love the idea of hosting a Greek-themed dinner party, outside on a warm summer night. Two Peas & Her Pod has some great recipe ideas for a Greek-themed party or you could always just pick up some take-out!

Either way is perfect, but don’t forget the baklava!

Bohemian Backyard Dinner Party

Bohemian Party Themes are still all the rage across the blogosphere. I don’t see this trend going away anytime soon.

The key to throwing a killer Bohemian-themed party is FLOWERS! Lots and lots of fresh flowers combined with vintage and modern table decor.

I love scouring Goodwill for old dishes to place on the table. The best part! they don’t even have to match. The funkier the better!

And don’t forget textures! Blankets…rugs….throws. All look fantastic on a Bohemian party.

Italian Themed Dinner Party (with Bruschetta Bar)

Our family doesn’t do a ton of Italian food, but I love the idea of trying new themes!

It would be fun to host an Italian Themed Dinner Party with a full bruschetta bar.

You could serve LOTS of different pasta dishes or even make your own Italian pizzas as? a group!

Or you could make your own pasta!! I’ve always wanted to try that!

Breakfast for Dinner Waffle Bar Party

Is there anything better than breakfast for dinner?! Nope!

How fun would it be to invite your friends over for a full on waffle bar? Jammies could or could not be included.

To make hosting even easier, have each guest bring their favorite toppings or syrup.

Grilled Pizza Bar Party

A few years ago we started making homemade pizza. BEST. DECISION. EVER! It’s one of our favorite things to do as a family.

Every few Sundays or so, we host a DIY Pizza Party!

We invite all our friends over and make pizzas together.

We typically make the dough and sauce ahead of time and then lay out oodles and oodles of toppings for our guests to customize their own pizzas. It’s always a blast and the pizza making always provide the perfect group activity!

Make Your Own Taco Bar

Did someone say Taco Tuesday?!

Taco bars are one of my most FAVORITE party food. They are easy to prepare, serve and are ALWAYS a crowd pleaser.

And the bet thing, you don’t even have to be throwing a Mexican-themed party to serve tacos. Tacos are perfect today, Tuesday and always!

Love this? Pin it for later!

Looking for more Dinner Party ideas? Be sure to check out this Fondue Party.?Need ideas to spruce up your patio and get it ready for summer entertaining? Get inspired with this Green, White and Black Patio!


Ottoman Serving Tray

Pedestal Plate with a Dome

Round Wooden Cake with Black Base

Porcelain Fluted Bowl Sets 

White Bowl Sets

White Serving Platter

Black Stainless Steel Silverware

Ice Cream Dessert Bowls Glassware

Wine Barrel Serving Tray

Dinner Partysummer partysummer party ideas


How to Host the Ultimate End-of-Summer Bash

This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party
Kelly Stuart

Yep, it's almost time to swap that glass of rosé for a mug of hot chocolate. We know it's hard to say goodbye to the long sunlit days and warm, balmy evenings of summer, but just think about the cozy nights ahead of us.

Instead of lamenting the end of your favorite season, why not throw one last hurrah and celebrate a season to remember? Rebecca Hessel Cohen of LoveShackFancy decided to do just that.

Along with Violet Gaynor and Kelly Stuart of The Glow, Anne Keane of Goop, and Nadine Abramcyk of Tenoverten, they invited a who's who of women to join them in their festivities.

So on a beautiful evening in Bridgehampton, New York, they threw a stylish end-of-summer bash in Cohen's new dining shed with 25 inspiring moms—a girls' night in the orchards.

“We wanted to create a space where you felt immersed in the beauty of the surroundings,” she told MyDomaine. “An intimate space where you gather with wine, food, dresses, and dancing.” To do this, they transformed Cohen's old shack into a magical entertaining space.

Think fresh, local food, fresh florals, and a fairy-tale setting in the thick of nature.

“We made the evening about the environment and the experience,” adds Cohen. “It's was about creating a visual and culinary experience and being immersed in gorgeous surroundings with beautiful food and music.” There's only one word to describe that: magical. Ahead, Cohen shares her tips for hosting a stylish dinner party of your own.

Carl Timpone/BFA

Cohen was “inspired by the meadow, the apple orchard, and mixed flowers from the garden” for the tablescape theme. She worked closely with Missi Flowers to bring that wild and whimsical sensibility to the table, mixing in her own vintage china, glassware, and dishes collected from various antique shows over the years.

Carl Timpone/BFA

They used vintage lace from an antique market in the center of the table with a gorgeous garland runner of mixed wildflowers for that fairy-tale vibe.

Astier de VillatteSimple Plates$65

Shop Carl Timpone/BFA

In keeping with the garden theme, Cohen made custom tables from reclaimed vintage white wood she found. “We made three separate tables and combined them to make one long one,” she says. “We mixed vintage iron chairs with a distressed wooden bench that is a part of our personal collection.”

Carl Timpone/BFA

For this party, Cohen worked closely with chef Megan Huylo to create a delicious menu with fresh ingredients from her Bhumi Farms.

“She gave descriptions of all the plates she created during the dinner, which made it personal and interesting,” says Cohen. “The food was impeccable. We ate every last bite.

The chef also became a part of the evening, which feels very nice to the guests and the hosts.”

Match PewterAria Salad Set$230

Shop Kelly Stuart

The tablescapes looked something childhood fairy tale—perfectly imperfect.

Carl Timpone/BFA

If you want to make sure your dinner party is an experience that's unique and special, Cohen says you should create a space that feels fresh, new, and personal. We love the use of local wild berries as decoration on the dinner plates.

Williams SonomaEncore White Wine Glasses, Set of 4$40

Shop Kelly Stuart

The dining shed was decorated with vintage furniture and crystal vases brimming with local wildflowers.

Carl Timpone/BFA

Each element of the room was considered yet undone for that homely, familiar feeling.

WaterfordFlared Vase$225

Shop Carl Timpone/BFA

Cohen wanted to make each guest feel “gorgeous and at home. In this case, we dressed them all in our favorite pieces from the new collection,” says Cohen. “And we created a space that was informal but inspiring. I never do anything stuffy or formal, it should always be beautiful but still relaxed.”

Carl Timpone/BFA

The garden was filled with vintage planters spilling with fresh flowers this cool wheelbarrow.

TargetDecorative Metal Wheel Barrow$51

Shop Kelly Stuart

Cohen created this dining shed from an old, little shack and transformed it into a magical entertaining space. “It's located right where I was married seven years ago, in between the gardens and the apple orchards,” she says.

Carl Timpone/BFA

The golden light of the evening added an extra touch of magic and charm to the garden party.

LoveShackFancyBeth Dress$365

Shop Carl Timpone/BFA

When planning the seating for a dinner party, Cohen prefers to mix in friends who know each other with ones who may inspire them so it diversifies the conversation. “Always walk around the table to make sure your guests are having fun and seem to be enjoying themselves,” she advises.

Kelly Stuart

Add a string of fairy lights above the dining table to ensure that warm glow stays around long after the sunsets.

ChicagoWire Chair Company Ice Cream Parlor Chairs$450

Shop Carl Timpone/BFA

We couldn't finish this gorgeous gallery without including Cohen's top five entertaining tips:

1. Never use any rentals. I incorporate all from my home, mostly antique, to make it personal and intimate and an extension of my house and my vision.

2. Invite people you and admire—an interesting mix of old and new friends who share the same enthusiasm.

3. Have plenty of wine. There is never enough.

4. Lighting is key. The worst thing is to have lights that are too bright, so if anything, the dimmer the better.
5. Always have someone taking photographs for memories from the night.

Kelly Stuart

How will you be celebrating the end of summer? Share it with us below.


End of Summer Dinner Party + A Giveaway

This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party

Although I’m VERY ready for fall, I always feel I should cherish the last days of summer… soaking in the warm sunshine, spending time outside, banishing shoes to go barefoot on the lawn, eating outside as often as possible, and lighting the citronella candles a few last times. Since transforming our carport (which I now lovingly refer to as the veranda), I decided to host one last summer soirée. I invited a few friends over for an evening dinner party and served up the last batch of summer margaritas. It was a good night that convinced me I will indeed miss these warm summer sunsets, good company, and sharing food around our outdoor dining table. Click through to see the setup and enter a fun giveaway- that way you can also host one more summer party before the crisp, cool air sets in!

If there’s one thing I love to do for my friends- it’s to gather everyone ’round for food & drinks. I feel there’s something really special about going through the effort to create a beautiful tablescape, tasty food, and delicious cocktails for the people you care about. It’s such a thoughtful gesture!

In my friend group, this is sort of where I excel.

I’m not the person my pals go to for business advice (that’s Lea), I’m not the one they ask for tough love or relationship advice (that’s Brooke), or the super smart intellectual one who shares advice on how to professionally word something (that’s Angela), or the friend who can direct you to the coolest local spots and secret places (that’s Krissy)… I’m the one who gives the aesthetic advice and puts in the effort to make people feel welcome and special in a space. Is that superficial? Maybe, but I’m comfortable in that spot- that’s what I’m good at. I giving my friends a chance to escape from the everyday and experience a beautiful vignette I put together especially for them. I think that’s why dinner parties and entertaining makes me so happy- it’s my contribution and I enjoy the process so much!

This tablescape unfolded organically after these linen striped napkins from Sevensmith arrived in the mail (scroll to the bottom and enter to win a set of your own).

The blue and white linen really set the tone for my end-of-summer dinner party. They’re not too fussy, perfectly casual, and feel seasonally appropriate for late in the season.

It was the light blue color from the napkins that inspired the entire palette.

As much as I love styling and setting up the space, I always keep the food pretty low key and quick, so I’m not spending hours in the kitchen alone.

It’s much less stressful and gives me an opportunity to catch up with my pals! My friends can always bet on an easy charcuterie board using items from Trader Joe’s (see that tutorial here), and other delicious summer staples.

Typically, Emmett will throw something on the grill and I’ll bring out appetizers while we wait- this time it was spanakopita triangles that taste even better than they look!

I arranged them on this black marble serving board, also from Sevensmith and up for grabs in the giveaway. I can’t get enough of the gorgeous veining in the marble. I’ve been leaving the serving board out, styled in my kitchen because it’s so pretty.

These snacks are always a big hit! What’s not to about a good spinach and feta cheese combo?

Despite my best training efforts, Johnny Cash continued to beg for a bite… if I’m being honest, I caved and let him have a tiny piece. Ha! Annnnd THAT is exactly why he begs. It’s a viscous cycle that stems from his cuteness and my lack of willpower. Give us a break, it’s been a tough month without our biggest dog.

The cocktail request was a pitcher of my “famous” margaritas. I swear my friends love that recipe and it’s the easiest! It felt very fitting for a farewell summer dinner… although I’m pretty sure if I made margaritas year round, they wouldn’t turn them down. They’ve kind of become the taste of summer over the past couple years.

Evenings in Salt Lake City cool off pretty quickly once the sun goes down and I’m hoping the bugs won’t be around too much longer, but the citronella candles once again did their job in keeping them at bay. I’m also a sucker for candlelight ambiance- especially outside. They’re a must for outdoor entertaining!

If you the way this tablescape unfolded, you can shop the entire space below- including the dishes and accessories! Just click on each item below to be redirected, or use the sources at the bottom of the image…

01: pendant light // 02: patterned throw pillow // 03: white mini planter // 04: outdoor dining table // 05: outdoor rug // 06: rattan chair // 07: chair pad // 08: wood baroque chargers // 09: candle votives // 10: aqua dinner plates // 11: margarita glasses // 12: table runner // 13: striped linen napkins // 14: charcuterie board // 15: black & brass flatware // 16: outdoor side table // 17: fern matches // 18: black marble serving board // 19: // 20: sheer curtains // 21: tension rod // 22: black outdoor pillow // 23: potting station

My final touch in creating a cohesive look was the addition of greenery. There’s something about succulents and fresh green flowers that scream summer. If we’re hanging onto what’s left of the season, I knew I couldn’t skimp in the floral department (see the proof in my kitchen sink here).


Enter to win a set of the blue striped linen napkins and the black marble serving board from Sevensmith below, that way you can replicate the look! Here’s how to enter:

Good luck!!

I’ll randomly select a winner in a week, which will give you time to have one last summer soirée! In the meantime, I’d love your thoughts on this tablescape and our veranda area. I’m still loving it just as much as I did when we finished the space back in May. I’d also be interested to hear your favorite foods for entertaining… any tried and true recipes I should know about?

*This giveaway is sponsored by sevensmith. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that allow us to create unique content while featuring products we actually use & enjoy! 

Founder & Creative Director


End-of-Summer Celebration

This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party

Throw an end-of-the-season party for all your friends and reminisce with our tasty recipes.

Photographer: Jennifer Davick, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Late summer means peaches! Don't miss the opportunity to use these juicy fruits to add sweet seasonal flavor to white sangria.



Photographer: Howard L. Puckett, Writer: Rachel Bertone

A Southern favorite, this refreshing twist on classic iced tea will leave guests begging for more.

  • Recipe: Mint Julep Iced Tea

Photo: Jennifer Davick, Writer: Rachel Bertone

This light-and-fruity concoction blends ripe raspberries and fresh lemonade to create the perfect drink to cap off summer.

  • Recipe: Raspberry-Lemonade Spritzer


Photo: Becky Luigart-Stayner , Writer: Rachel Bertone

Photographer: Jennifer Davick, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Make the most straight-from-the-market avocados with this chunky dip that’s not too spicy, but still packed with plenty of flavor.

  • Recipe: Avocado-Black Bean Salsa

Photographer: Jean Allsopp, Writer: Rachel Bertone



Photographer: Becky Luigart-Stayner, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Round out salmon season with these delicious, filling burgers. Fresh dill and Dijon mustard add a flavorful kick.

  • Recipe: Fresh Salmon Burgers

Photographer: Randy Mayor, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Put a spin on the traditional cookout staple with this crab cake-turned-burger. Spicy arugula and a tangy dill-caper dressing combine for the perfect bite on a toasted bun.

  • Recipe:Crab Cake Sliders with Dill-Caper Cream

Photographer: Melanie Acevedo, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Pay homage to the season's bounty with these luscious vegetable kebabs. Easy to make ahead of time, they make a smart choice for a large get-together.

  • Recipe: Grilled Veggie Kebabs


Photographer: Wyatt Counts, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Embrace the transition into fall with this sweet-tart treat. Hearty oats give the cookies a chewy texture that’s nicely complemented by cranberries.

  • Recipe: Cranberry-Oatmeal Cookies

Photographer: Fran Gealer, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Nothing says the beginning of fall these gooey, sweet indulgences. Substitute grilled bananas instead of marshmallows for an island twist on the classic campfire favorite.

  • Recipe: Grilled Banana S'mores

Photographer: Howard L. Puckett, Writer: Rachel Bertone

Please your crowd with this moist, decadent cake topped with cola-infused icing. Is there a better way to end summer? We don't think so!

  • Recipe: Chocolate Coca-Cola Cake



Tips for Throwing The Perfect End of Summer Get-Together

This Is How You Throw an End-of-Summer Dinner Party

This summer has been a hot one, especially in Atlanta. And one of my favorite treats when it’s super hot out is ice cream. Who doesn’t love ice cream, right?

So, I partnered with Nestlé to host an end of summer get-together for friends, featuring two of my fave Nestlé brands, Häagen-Dazs and Edy’s – complete with cocktails, tacos, and (of course) plenty of ice cream.

And I’m sharing all the photos from the party today, along with my tips for putting it all together.

Because no matter what you’re celebrating this summer…a birthday, a promotion, or maybe just an average Saturday – there’s most definitely an ice cream for that!

Creating a Cool Atmosphere

To create a cool, casual vibe, skip the typical table and bring the indoors out. Grab rugs and pillows from inside the house and bring them outdoors to create a comfy, cozy seating area for guests to gather. If you have any floor poufs inside, be sure to grab those too. They make great seats for guests to sit around a low table.

Speaking of low tables…I actually made this one in under 10 minutes, using scrap wood I already had.

Just grab 3 pieces that are of similar length (you can cut them down to size really quickly too if you’re handy with power tools) and add three wood braces spanning the 3 pieces of wood – in the center and on each end.

Nail them into place, flip it over, and you have yourself a tabletop. The process is really similar to the way I made my DIY workspace tables at the studio, only on a smaller scale, without the wood glue or putty, and using nails instead of screws.

To give the tabletop a teeny bit of height, I tossed a couple of wood crates underneath to act as the ‘legs’, which you can see peeking out in some of the photos. It’s so, so easy and guests will love the casual vibe that a low table this one provides.


Next up is the menu! I kept the menu super light with a salad and fresh tacos, so we could really have some fun with decadent ice cream desserts and ice cold treats at the end. It’s all about balance, right?

So what was on the desert menu?! I recreated all three of the ice cream recipes from the summertime sweet treats post, which included donut sundaes, homemade matcha cones for scoops of ice cream, and peaches and cream soda floats.

Then to finish things out, I made simple summer affogatos using cold brew coffee instead of hot coffee, a heaping scoop of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla and a homemade chocolate waffle cone wedge. It was the best last minute addition.

Coffee and vanilla ice cream are the perfect pair.

Iced Coffee Affogatos Recipe (makes 1 serving)

  • heaping scoop of Häagen-Dazs Vanilla ice cream
  • 4-6 ounces of cold brew coffee (I Blue Bottle or Chameleon Cold-Brew)
  • chocolate waffle cone wedge for garnish*

*The chocolate waffle cone wedges are made from scratch and super easy. I used the same recipe as the homemade matcha waffle cones, but replace the matcha powder with 4 teaspoons of cocoa powder. And then I cut them into wedges instead of forming them into cones once they’re baked.

To make cold brew affogatos at home, scoop ice cream into a small glass, pour cold brew coffee over the top, and add a homemade chocolate waffle cone wedge. That’s it!

Ice Cream Essentials

For a casual get together mine, having a few summer staples on hand is key. And in this case, my main summer staple was ice cream….and lots of it. So, if you’re only stocking up one ONE ice cream for the masses, my number one recommendation would be Häagen-Dazs Vanilla.

It’s made with just five simple ingredients, but is still super creamy. And aside from being delicious, it’s super versatile – you can serve it on its own, add toppings to bring in other flavors, and top pretty much any other dessert item with it too ( donuts, pie, cake, etc).

It also works great as an addition for drinks – I used it for the affogatos and the soda floats.

Beyond a creamy / yummy vanilla, my next recommendation would be to go with a non-dairy option so that all guests feel included. My non-dairy pick is Häagen-Dazs Non-Dairy Chocolate Salted Fudge Truffle. It tastes amazing – there are chunks of fudge truffle and sweet salted fudge swirls mixed in. So, even guests without dairy restrictions will love it, I promise. I buy it pretty regularly.

And then for additional flavors, you can’t go wrong with Häagen-Dazs Caramel Cone and Edy’s Slow Churned Mint Chocolate Chip. Mint chocolate chip was my favorite when I was a kid and I always think about my childhood when I eat it. Does anyone else have fond memories that get triggered by foods?

As for toppings to keep on hand, I just stick with the basics – hot fudge, caramel sauce, and sprinkles. But when I have time to make little waffle cone wedges, the chocolate ones I served with the affogatos, or homemade cones for ice cream scoops, the matcha cones, I’ll make ’em to have on hand.

Photography Amelia Lawrence

Planning your own summer celebration? Stock up and save on Nestlé ice cream products when you click here for $2 off the purchase of any 3 participating Nestlé ice cream products.

That’s a wrap on my end of summer get-together. What are your tips for easy entertaining at home? And more importantly… What’s your favorite ice cream flavor to keep around for parties and everyday celebrations?

This post is sponsored by Nestlé. All opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that help keep Paper and Stitch running.