When my friend Alatheia who recently launched her blog Art of Being Female reached out to me asking if I’d help her style and design a party for her dinner club group I was on board in a second. The story behind their ritual and the symbolism of their friendship really stood out to me. Plus, when she said she wanted to do a Summer Solstice dinner party on the beach, well, I was sold. Here is a little bit more from our host Alatheia on her dinner club ritual and why this night was so important to her…
“I really wanted to celebrate the 6 year anniversary of our dinner club in a special way. Not only was it clear to me that a special dinner on the beach was in order, but also that there was only one person to help me live out my Pinterest dreams and that would be my talented friend, Jacquelyn of Beijos Events.
“Dinner Club” was born out of a desire to spend less time out at restaurants and more time honing our entertaining and cooking skills as young couples. We rotate homes and whoever is hosting takes care of everything from music to decor, tablesetting, food, drinks, dessert and interesting conversation starters.
I wanted to host a special dinner on the sand to welcome in the start of our favorite season. We live a block from the boardwalk and walking distance from each other. We have spent many summers on this exact beach over the last six years dating, surfing, getting engaged and married, being pregnant, nursing babies, laughing and laughing.
My aesthetic for the party was very neutral as I like most things. I told Jacquelyn I wanted to have a clean color palette even down to the florals which I wanted white with greens. We added pops of metallic flair from the rose gold speaker and flatware to the silver flecks in the moroccan wedding blankets. Jacquelyn nailed it as did all the vendors involved. I think my dinner club will agree that the night was magical and one to remember.”
I felt so honored that Alatheia asked me to help out. Selfishly though, I have always wanted to style a table like this, the beach is such a special place to me so my mind ran away with so many ideas. Knowing Alatheia and her style I knew to keep it simple, classic and pretty with details, all things I know she cares about, along with myself.
Designing this table and putting this dinner together was so fun, but also really easy, anyone can do it! There are a few key things to making sure your dinner party goes off without a hitch, and I’m happy to share them with you! Also, you can shop items for your own dinner at the bottom of the post!
Let’s start with the tips to a successful Summer Solstice Dinner Party…
In this crazy world of technology things tend to become so last minute and impersonal. Sending an invite in the mail is a perfect way to let your guests know that you are thoughtful and paying attention to detail. It sets the tone for the whole evening and who doesn’t like to get something pretty in the mail?
I even like to use a stamp that goes along with the theme. I’ll head to my local post office and see what they have to offer and either choose something that goes along with my color scheme or theme. If I think enough ahead of time I’ll order pretty stamps off of Etsy or personalize them on Stamps.com. Paying attention to little details like that are what will really knock your guests socks off. Speaking of invites, Courtney at Poppy Jack Shop sure made a pretty one for us here!
For a Summer Solstice on the beach theme I wanted to keep things casual but also pretty. The scenery itself is amazing, so the other details could be simple. The tabletop items were pretty basic, white plates with bronze flatware, clear floral glassware and cream napkins. Some of those items may already be in your inventory at home! Adding little details like place cards and menus are always a great idea and pretty up your table immediately.
Courtney from Poppy Jack Shop created all of our pretty pieces but you can easily recreate something similar at home. One of my favorite napkin tricks is tying the napkins in a knot rather than the plain fold… It makes it a bit more interesting. You simply fold the napkin in half to create a triangle and take either long end and tie in a knot. I’ll usually fluff it a bit after to make sure it looks good, but this is a tie I use often because I like the non fussy look it achieves. These napkins are form The Little Market.
I can’t say it enough, florals just make everything prettier. Although it’s an investment, adding fresh flower arrangements to any event are key. If you can have a florist that’s great, these beauties by MV Florals are what made the table so pretty. We went with greenery and creams with a touch of blush to add a little bit of color. I love the way they look on the beach with the sand.
If you can’t invest in a florist you can go to your local market for florals. Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods have a great selection. And if you can’t invest in florals, simple greens or even fruits can beautify a table easily. We used bud vases for this table that I placed on wooden boards on top of the table to add some layers, which adds a little more detail.
Music makes every party more fun, and having your guests enter with it playing is key. For this outdoor soiree we used Stelle Audio’s amazing portable pillar speaker. The sound was amazing and our hostess with the mostest had a playlist she had already planned in advance. It had the perfect balance of dinner music with a beachy flair that we loved! You can see it here.
Choosing what to serve your guests can make or break your dinner party… Let’s be honest, if you go out to eat the ambience and service can be amazing but if the food is just so so, you probably won’t go back. With that being said you want to think of your guests, make sure you know of any allergies or dislikes in your group.
What I loved about this party was our idea for the long charcuterie board! We basically had it run the length of the table and it was an easy way for our guests to interact while enjoying some really tasty treats. It was honestly one of the highlights of the party and I’m so grateful Colette’s Catering made my vision come to life! Plus, Alatheia’s husband participated by making the board (gotta get the husband’s in there somehow!)
Also, I’m a huge advocate of having more than what you think you need when it comes to having food and wine, you never ever want to run out of anything like that. For this party we had a variety of delicious wines from One Hope, I especially love their rosé. So make sure when you buy for your party to get a few more bottles just in case, plus, who doesn’t like to have extra wine around?!
Things that you normally don’t think of like lighting, candles, and just an all together pretty set up make the evening so much better. For an outdoor party especially, you have to think about lighting. This party was planned to take place at sunset and we knew we had to have lighting, you can’t leave your guests in the dark, literally! So Alatheia invested in battery operated string lights and battery operated candles, perfect to have for those chilly beach winds and to create a pretty atmosphere.
Another investment is in your rentals. For this gathering we wanted to have a low to the ground table, something not everyone has in their home inventory. I reached out to my friends at Adore Folklore who had all of my needs answered with a bunch of pretty rentals. Using a specialty rental company is a bit more expensive than a basic rental company but well worth the investment. They have pieces that are unique and original and create the perfect ambience you desire.
No matter where you hold your party, whether it’s on the beach, at the park or even in your own home, your guests need to come first. Thinking of them and making sure they are comfortable should be your most important thought. Since this party was outdoors we made sure to have blankets in case it got too cold.
We also wanted the look of the low to the ground table, but didn’t want our guests to suffer from it. So we were sure to have several pillows and poufs for them to use and sit on. You can use pretty pillows or blankets from your home, we got ours from Boho Pillow and The Little Market.
Thank you to all of the amazing vendors mentioned below for making this a reality!