Friendship, Let's Party!, Relationships

Make Planning a Summer Dinner Party Easy with these 5 Unique Ideas

This article was written by The Zillennial Zine’s spring editorial intern Megan Pavek. Find her on Instagram at @megan.pavek. If you would like to share an article with The Zillennial, send us an email at

Crafting the perfect dinner party is a timeless art that has experienced a resurgence in recent years. I’m reminded of a Desperate Housewives – like era, where Bree Van de Kamp spends hours preparing a large pot roast meal from scratch, topped off with a decadent dessert and table set with extraordinary detail. The traditional dinner party evokes imagery of the perfect housewife curating a lavish evening to impress acquaintances or even just the neighbors.

Confused Desperate Housewives GIF by HULU - Find & Share on GIPHY

The modern dinner party, to everyone’s delight,  is much more relaxed. Hosting is fun, and seen as a creative opportunity to dazzle friends instead of a stressful obligation. A theme is chosen, a charming aesthetic follows suit, and each guest is responsible for supplying a dish or drink to take all of the pressure off the host. It has truly become an overall communal experience- a night to enjoy each other’s company and soak up the intimate ambiance. Time to get inspired and start planning- here are five themed dinner party ideas to try this summer!

Seafood Sunday

The most popular version of the modern dinner party takes place outdoors, with every guest seated around one large table. Decide in advance whether each guest is expected to provide a dish or another option is to enjoy preparing the food together before the sitdown meal. For a more elegant vibe, think string lights, white wine, and spaghetti with clams. The more seafood and nautical decorations, the better. Shells, wildflowers, and blue candles can be used for additional decor. These bubble garland decorations from Amazon will also add a nice touch.

Italian Disco

For this themed dinner party controlling the lighting is everything, so it may work best indoors. You can purchase special light bulbs online and switch them out with your regular ones. This will help turn the space red, orange, pink or purple. The vibe is moody and romantic with of course as many disco ball decorations as possible. The sparkle will pair well with your aperol spritz, negroni, whipped ricotta, antipasto, and any other Italian favorites. Of course, after dinner dancing is required.

Afternoon Tea

This theme is for anyone lookinging for an excuse to go all out and be extravagant. From large, ornate teapots and porcelain dishes, to formal dresses and dainty gloves, you can take it as far as you want to! Depending on the crowd, you can pick and choose which elements to incorporate and lean more toward a casual garden party or stick to a traditional tea party.

The color scheme should include pastels and floral patterns. Small plates or appetizers like croissants, charcuterie, tea sandwiches, and other miniature desserts should be enjoyed with an assortment of tea or champagne. Plan to provide paper fans for your guests, and lots of enticing sweets.

Slumber Party

If you’re looking for more laid back themed dinner party ideas, this one’s for you! Emphasis on wearing your most comfy set of pajamas, and eating all of the best classic movie theater snacks. Providing popcorn is a must, along with candy, nachos, soft pretzels or other concessions. Turn your backyard into a home movie theater using a projector and screen set-up. The best part? You can likely get away with ordering pizza for dinner, or making it from scratch if you’re up for the challenge.

Summer Solstice

For your summer solstice dinner party, you’ll want to gather as many plants and flowers as possible. One fun idea is to create your own floating flower decoration and hang it above the dinner table. You can watch a tutorial and learn how to make one here. All of the food should be local and include as many fresh fruits and vegetables as possible. Wear flower crowns and swap chairs for pillows to create a more intimate atmosphere. Enjoy celebrating summer and the longest day of the year!

Are you planning to host a dinner party with friends this summer? What’s your favorite themed dinner party idea? Let us know in the comments below!

More Relationship Articles

Lifestyle Articles

Beauty Articles

Fashion Articles