Monday, June 25, 2012

Midsummer Night's Eve Surprise Birthday Dinner Party

Midsummer Night Party Last week my brother was in town from LA and we decided to throw him a belated surprise birthday dinner party. With the start of summer and bounty of produce available, we decided to throw a simple party showcasing all that is good about summer: grilling, vegetables, fresh fruits, simple entertaining, and good cocktails. See after the jump for more pictures and details of how it came together with tips for how you can recreate the look yourself...
Midsummer Night Party For the decor, I wanted a neutral pallet playing up on things like texture, such as the brown paper, and small pops of color and pattern, such as the striped straws. I covered the table with a white table cloth and then used a roll of brown framing paper to act as a runner. This also made place cards unneeded and instead I wrote everyone's name in chalk. Peonies have just started to come into season and were on only $5.99 at Trader Joe's so they seemed like a no-brainer. Also, after giving them a few days to open up, the astounded us with their size and opened so fully that we only needed three per vase. To go along with the simple summer theme, I used mason jar tied with baker's twine to corral the peonies. I mirrored the red and white stripes in the baker's twine by using the red and white striped paper straws I had left over from the holidays. Small tea-lights helped to create the ambiance. For an outdoor party though, I'd use cafe lights. Midsummer Night Party In keeping with the simple summer dinner theme, the menu is simply a paper lunch bag, cropped and handwritten with white Jelly pens I bought at Paper Source. I also found the mini-clothespins at Paper Source. Inside the "menu" bags I also put a little treat for each guest, fleur du sel caramels. I think it is always fun for guests to have a take away. The food on the menu was designed to highlight summer flavors and since we hosted the party on a week night, most of it can be made beforehand. The soup is served chilled so can be made the day before and the polenta needs to be cooked, then chilled before it can be grilled. Finally, the fish, polenta, and scallions are cooked on the grill resulting in little to no cleanup. I highly recommend the orange saffron butter is AMAZING on ANY fish.
What are your favorite tips for summer entertaining?


  1. Oh this is fabulous! I must hire you to set up my next dinner party.

  2. This looks fantastic! I love the rustic way you set the table, and that menu looks to die for!



  3. This looks like a great party! Love the neutrals & pops of color. So fun!

  4. Ok, two things. 1. I assume this is how it'll be the first time you have me over for dinner, yes? 2. Where can I get those amazing straws? I just love everything about this.
    -KAR, Blue Rooms-White Houses

  5. You are seriously such an amazing entertainer!

  6. this is a fantastic post! love how you decorated.
    xx theflossylife.com

  7. Super cute. Love the way you tied the twine around the mason jars. I need to check out Trader Joes for flowers more often. Their peonies are even cheaper than at the flower mart.

  8. I absolutely love this! I am planning my 26th birthday brunch and I'd love to have a similar style for the decor. I don't know where to get the brown paper, any suggestions?


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