How to Plan a Perfect Summer Party

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Summer is the perfect time to gather with friends, share good food, and have your guests linger long into the evening. You want to set a pretty table and create a welcoming atmosphere, but without spending weeks preparing for the big night. Follow these steps for a stylish summer party made simple.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Things You'll Need

  • Solid tablecloth fabric
  • Printed fabric for cloth napkins
  • Greenery and vases for centerpieces
  • Candlesticks with colored candles
  • Plates of choice
  • Colored glassware
  • Scrapbook paper for place cards

Step 1: Choose a Color Scheme

Creating a pretty and stylish summer table is simple. Start by choosing a color scheme. You don't want everything to match, but having some direction helps when picking out items.

The season itself can inspire the color scheme, such as nature-inspired hues like ocean blues and grassy greens. One item may also inspire the rest of the party -- like a beautiful fabric, such as these napkins.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Once you have your color palette, begin gathering your items!

Step 2: Use a Variety of Shades Within Your Color Palette

For a sophisticated look, don't rely on one shade of blue and one shade of green. Use varying shades of both for a collected look.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

For example, here, you see baby blues all the way to royal blues and mint greens all the way to dark teal. The result is that the overall table has more dimension and visual appeal.

Step 3: Use Fabric for Table Linens

It can be really hard to find beautiful and unique table linens at a reasonable price. Instead of searching for just the right table cloth and napkins for days on end, head to your local fabric store where the options are endless.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Don't have time or know how to sew? No problem! Use pinking shears to cut your table cloth and napkins to size. The cut left behind keeps the edges from fraying and you have beautiful table linens in record time!

Step 4: Bring The Inside Out

Summer design tips often include the saying, "Bring the Outside In." Well, for outdoor summer entertaining, bring the inside out! Get outside for your summer gathering -- a back porch, patio, or even just out in the grass will do the trick. There is something magical about entertaining out in nature. Create a welcoming environment by bringing decor items from inside your home out to your event.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Make the party feel extra special and comfortable by bringing out some nice chairs to surround your outdoor table.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Take your summer party to the next level by creating a simple lounge area. Throw down a rug (whether you're on a porch or grass), toss out some floor pillows and a side table or two for drinks.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Step 5: Use Greenery Instead of Flowers

No summer party is complete without greenery. Opting for an all-green palette for your centerpieces in lieu of flowers lends to the casual feel of summer. Plus, it goes with any color scheme!

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Grocery store Eucalyptus sprigs create the perfect summer centerpiece, but clippings from your yard work just as well! Group them in several vases for a pretty yet casual statement.

Step 6: Create Simple, Stylish Place Cards

Place cards make your guests feel welcome, but you do not want to spend all day making intricate name tags! Instead, choose a thick scrapbook paper that fits your color scheme. Cut a 4-inch square and fold it in half. Write each person's name in gold paint pen.

(Image: Lindsay Jackman)

Now the table is set, the lounge is ready, and all that's left for you to do is enjoy your guests!

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