Guide to Summer Parties- Keep it Simple!

It’s that time of year, and today I’m discussing Summer Party tips, tricks and sharing some of my decor favorites!

My number one rule when planning a party is: Keep it Simple. This stretches across multiple areas, the decor, the bar, the menu, the invites and the clothing – because, of course you have to match your party! 

The decor

My favorite decor scores are neutral pieces that can be used for multiple parties or over multiple seasons. For example, anything white can be used winter, spring, summer or fall (all you have to do is call) and combined with colors from that season to stay current. Using red with white in summer months keeps it fresh, while mustard or burgundy will work for fall. Use green for the Christmas season, or blue for our Jewish readers out there 😉 Silver or black would be perfect with white for a NYE bash, and pastels or a deep navy work for Spring and really pop! Speaking of red, I also consider that a neutral, since it works for patriotic holidays, the Christmas and New Year season, Valentine’s Day, and my birthday, given that it is my favorite color!

Below is a photo from a recent party for Memorial Day, which showcases the white and red paper lanterns that I purchased this season and plan to recycle over and over again.

I added in a lobster pot, crab plates and some gingham napkins, since this particular party was also a clambake.

Also pictured above are my new blue placements ($1.99 each at Bed, Bath and Beyond) that were an early season purchase. I decided that my summer color would be a bright vibrant blue, and this hue has really worked with my party decor plans, as well as our everyday outdoor life!

While at BBB, I purchased a few melamine platters and bowls, right, and a coordinating chevron patterned pillow, below, to tie in the blue theme throughout the patio. These patterns offer a lot of opportunities for me to pull out the orange, green or red, as well as coordinate with the white platters, and colorful chip bowls that I already owned.

Here are the bowls now in use, filled with chips and homemade onion, tomato and cucumber salsa!

The bowls, below, are actually classified as mixing bowls on the Target site, but they are perfect for chips, dips, salsas and the smallest one is great for a dressing. This is one of the best prices I have see on a set like this as well, and they are very durable and just as bright as pictured.

Snap Tip:
*It is simple updates like these (buying decor items, serving items and functional fun pieces that serve double duty) that can really set you up for a successful party season.

The bar

The key to a simple bar is to provide a signature cocktail, standard, high quality alcohol and a few mixers, and lots of cold beer.  I made a delicious watermelon sangria, based off of this recipe, to which I added tons of fresh strawberries and used up some rosé and champagne that we had leftover from our last party. I was so excited to drink it, I didn’t get a picture. I will be making this again, so I will document the recipe and share the photos! 

We also set out vodka, rum and whiskey, with cola, diet, lemon-lime soda and club soda for mixing. We had a large cooler filled with ice, and lots of cups and straws readily available. We used a large red tub, purchased from ShopRite, for $6.99 thank you very much, also RED, filled it with ice, and dumped an absurd amount of beer inside, done and done.

The menu

As I’ve mentioned a few times already, simple is good, and so are clams and shrimp. We called it a clambake, but that was really my bf’s realm, he has an amazingly ridiculously easy recipe for clams on the grill (add clams to foil tin, add butter, cover, check on them until they open and are done, serve with bread for dipping), and I wanted to add a shrimp boil to the menu.

Happy Little Crab Plates!

Happy Little Crab Plates!

I followed the Old Bay recipe and added my own twists: I used the Old Bay seasoning as well as a shrimp boil seasoning packet that I also picked up at ShopRite, and added in onions and garlic, halved, to the pot to boil. I found “patriotic potatoes,” which were a mix of small red, white and blue potatoes, and I added in andoille and sweet sausage to the mix. Lastly, I added in some king crab legs, at my honey’s request, and they were divine. I can’t even describe how delicious the potatoes and corn were with all of that savory, salty, seafood and spicy sausage flavor (how is that for alliteration?). The shrimp were divine, and perfectly cooked, as per this recipe, and everyone loved the spicy kick from the sausage, and loved dipping everything in melted butter, though it didn’t need it!

Snap Tip:
*I morphed this version of cooking shrimp into my own shrimp cocktail recipe, removing the old bay from the equation for boiling, and peeling them myself after they have cooled. More on that in a later post.

The invites

I used Evite to send out invitations to the party, and below is the image and message that I included to all of our guests:

Come & Get ‘Em!
Please join us for good food and good times as we celebrate summer with our Memorial Day Weekend Clambake and Shrimp Boil.
Please RSVP by 5/10, It wouldn’t be a party without you there!

Simple, sweet and to the point, and also made sure that everyone knew that we were serving seafood, and to alert us of allergies. We did serve some hot dogs later on in the evening, because we are American after all 😉

The clothing 

I wore the saucy little number below to the clambake, and I was called a “little pin-up” by my bestie, so I take it I achieved my goal look- again, no photos from this part of the party, where are the photos?! But here is the romper, by MinkPink.

I purchased this beauty during the ShopBop Friends and Family sale a few months ago, and I wasn’t able to find it online now, however, I did find this one, similar, and on sale!

These are just a few of my ideas for a successful, fun and simple party, I have many more on my Pinterest PARTAY board. A little party never killed nobody right?!

Follow SnapGinger’s board PARTAY on Pinterest.


For even more ideas, maybe 20 more, check out this post by Houzz, one of my favorite home design sites!

What is your favorite party tip or trick?!

your new faves


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