So, we’ve talked about the menu and the to-do list for your Summer Soiree, but what we haven’t discussed are those finishing touches that can make your theme really pop. Here are a few of my favorite store-bought and DIY #SummerSoireeJustHaves to add some creative whimsy to your upcoming summer get-togethers!


All Tied Up With Gingham – To me, nothing says summer BBQ quite like a red and white gingham pattern. And, my favorite gingham medium of the moment is ribbon. You can tie it around mason jars and vases, use it as napkin rings or even make pretty bow ties for plain folding chairs…and, you’re not limited to red-only. There’s green, yellow, purple and blue too!

Water Balloon Chillers – Instead of boring old ice in a bucket, why not freeze up some water balloons as more colorful beverage chillers? These add a lot of color without a lot of work! And, if you’re worried some guests might see these as an opportunity for mischief, colored ice cubes (food coloring) are another less risky option.

Pool Party:

Hula Skirts, Leis and Pink Flamingos – You know that grass skirt and lei you wore a few years ago on Halloween? Drape it along the front of your main buffet table for an instant island effect. You could even serve guacamole in that coconut bra too (I’d recommend cleaning it out first)! Pink flamingos are also widely available at big box stores and online – and, while I wouldn’t recommend as permanent lawn ornaments, they make for fantastic photo ops with guests.

DIY Drink Float – Get to the summer section of your local grocery store or pharmacy and pick up a few Styrofoam coolers and pool noodles. Cut the noodles so that they can be strung together, tightly hugging the outside of the cooler. Fill with ice and the cans and bottles of your choosing! Perfect for adults-only and kids parties!

Bridal Shower:

Bottles and Corks – If you and your friends love the vino (like me and mine), it’s pretty easy (and fun!) to pull this theme off. Start collecting corks and repurpose them as décor for the shower – from easy place card holders to a cork sculpture of the bride’s and groom’s first initials, the internet is rife with ideas! Your most beautiful wine bottles can be used as vases for big, beautiful long-stemmed roses too…as if you needed another great excuse to pop some bottles, right?

Wedding Dress Vase – This centerpiece is perfect for the aforementioned wine bottle vases or for mix and match bud vases sourced from your home or thrift store. Just buy a few yards of tulle and some pretty ribbon and cut and tie them to resemble a wedding dress flowing off of the lower two-thirds of the vase. So easy and absolutely adorable!

Baby Shower:

Crib “Gift Table” – There are two ways to go about this. There’s the vintage/sourced crib from a family member or thrift shop that is not exactly baby safe and serves ONLY as a gift table. You can paint and decorate this crib to your heart’s content. …OR … If the mom-to-be registered for a crib and you or someone you know has already purchased it, what a lovely gesture to assemble and present it to her at the party! The assembly is a gift unto itself, really. Just make sure you’ve got a way to easily transport the assembled piece directly to her home!

Floating Candles In Baby Food Jars – If you’re a mom, you can probably source the jars yourself in no time…or you can buy tiny mason jars online or at the grocery store quite inexpensively. This is such an easy and adorable décor idea and can even be used for a gender reveal on the day of with a quick drop of red (pink) or blue food coloring in the water. If your shower is outside, fill the jars with water and citronella bug off oil to keep the critters at bay!


DIY Canopy Lounge – I don’t know what it is, but something about an elegant canopy over comfy seating makes any event feel exclusive – and this is true for adults and kids alike. Talk about the perfect place for any guest of honor. To make this canopy “lounge,” all you need is an inexpensive, run-of-the-mill mosquito net draped over a taut run of rope (ie: clothesline) and staked into the ground. Add some big floor pillows and a blanket and string a few bistro lights overhead and you’re all set! FYI, in case of rain: draping a “tent” over a couch or a chair is an easy way to bring the outdoors inside.

Water Balloon Piñata – Another great idea for water balloons…if you dare! All you need is a cheap plastic bat and the guts to swing it! …don’t forget to supply the beach towels for afterwards!

Hopefully this has sparked some creativity as you plan your next summer event! Do you have any fun outdoor party décor ideas? Share them using the hashtag #SummerSoireeJustHaves and I’ll be sure to share my favorites!


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