6 Theme Ideas for a Summer Party + Hosting Wishlist

June 1, 2021

Summer can be a time to let loose, enjoy the sunshine, and of course, use your favorite outdoor entertaining space to host a party. But where to begin planning? These theme ideas will set you on the right track, no matter your summer aesthetic.

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When it comes to a backyard bash, I am all about figuring out a fun and simple theme first. Narrowing down the atmosphere for your summer party has plenty of benefits for you as the host. It helps you decorate, determine the level of formality, and plan a menu.

There are so many different aspects of summer to celebrate, from florals and farm-fresh produce to vacations filled with adventure and relaxing. Why not throw an outdoor summer barbecue, picnic, or potluck to honor them all!

Fruit Salad

Let’s kick things off with a bright and bold tropical fruit theme. This palette screams summer, with the highly saturated gradient. It’s also a fun theme when it comes to food, since you can feature all kinds of tropical or locally in-season produce.

72 Tropical Pineapple Table Runner Reversible Summer

Lemon Decor Lemon Serving Tray Farmhouse Lemon Decor

Tropical fruits hand-painted wooden coasters set of 4

Coconut Wooden Bowls Organic and Eco-Friendly Hand Carved

  • Tropical Table Runner: This 72-inch brightly colored runner is the perfect centerpiece for your summer table. Plus, it’s reversible, including a fun spring daisy pattern on the back to make it even more useful.
  • Lemon Serving Tray: A little slice of sunshine will brighten up your table and hold some tasty snacks. This board is great for serving dessert, like some lemon curd cookies.
  • Hand Painted Wooden Coasters: I love the idea of having these on the table to catch any drips from your cool tropical cocktails – like a raspberry lemon mojito.
  • Coconut Bowl Set: If your theme is fruit salad, you’ll need to serve an actual fruit salad, right? Why not enjoy it from one of these bowls made from actual coconut?

Coastal Calm

Looking for something a bit more serene and low-key? The cool, color palette and northern shore lighthouses combine to bring your party a relaxing and breezy feel. Serve a seafood feast, salt water taffy, or Jersey Shore-style pizza all summer long.

Personalisable Child's Classic Dark Blue Gingham Picnic

Handmade Custom Resin Serving Tray with or without Handles

Blue crab napkin holder metal art blue crab napkin holder

Maine Lighthouse Coasters Sets of 2 or 4

  • Blue Gingham Picnic Basket: Take your harvests from farmer’s market to table with this adorable basket. The classic style is great for storing silverware and napkins or grab-and-go goodies like muffins or seasonal pear bread.
  • Resin Serving Tray: Picture this stunning ocean tray as the centerpiece of your picnic table, filled with toothpick-studded sharp cheddar cheese cubes, or carrying a collection of cool beverages, like cucumber gin cocktails.
  • Metal Crab Napkin Holder: Keep your napkins from blowing away with the wind by placing them in an adorable crab-shaped holder. It’s a flawless addition to a coastal crab festival or seafood buffet.
  • Maine Lighthouse Coasters: Bring the classic east coast style to your table with these intricate painted coasters. The porous stone absorbs moisture and the cork backs keep your outdoor furniture in mint condition.


These gigantic blooms are the epitome of summer to me. I love how they lean into the sunshine, absorbing every single drop of light. A field of sunflowers is a stunning sight, so why not bring it into your own backyard.

Sunflower pitcher large beverage pitcher glass pitcher

Antique Beautiful Embroidered Sunflower and Green Leaves with

Sunflower Crochet Coasters 100% Cotton Crochet Drink

Sunflower Serving Board for Bread Cheeses and Fruit

  • Hand Painted Pitcher: Serve summer’s most refreshing beverages in this beauty. It’s ideal for lemonade or a mango-peach iced tea. The gorgeous design accents the flowers with large leaves.
  • Embroidered Table Runner: Place this lovely runner on the table first, and then fill the space with a delicious array of summer dishes. Its vintage style comes in many different shapes and sizes, so it’s a perfect fit.
  • Crochet Coaster Set: How adorable are these coasters? I love that they can be used for your summer festivities, but are cute and useful enough to give away as favors.
  • Wooden Serving Board: Cheese and charcuterie have never looked better than when arranged on this board. The design is laser engraved, so it can’t rub or wash off at all.

Hosting a summer party? Start here! These 6 themes will help your backyard bash be the best on the block.

Vintage Tropics

Get those vacation vibes without worrying about packing or flying. This retro color palette and laid back atmosphere is perfect for an open-house style party with steel drum beat and flowing rum cocktails.

Summer Table Runner Tropical Home Decor Summer Home Decor

Surfboard serving tray surfers style fun summer beach house

Toucan Tropical Coaster Set of 2 Tropical Decor Toucan

Palm Leaf Tumbler Banana Leaf Bachelorette Party Gift Palm

  • Stamp Table Runner: This runner captures the feeling of sending and receiving vacation postcards. Plus the fun featured locations can be a great conversation starter. Where have you visited?
  • Surfboard Serving Tray: A simple surfing shaped cheese or charcuterie board will bring those tropical vibes to your table. Fruits like mango and kiwi will bring a little extra sweetness to your array.
  • Toucan Coasters: I can’t resist an animal, and these toucans are super cute. Plus it’s easy to clean any drips off this colorful and original artwork.
  • Banana Leaf Tumblers: Keep cocktails, like sweet and spicy palomas, cold on the hottest summer days. And for even more fun, personalize these with guests’ names and they can double as both place cards and favors.

Turn Your Summer Party into Brunch

Check out the free eBook, A Brilliant Brunch Party, available only to Slumber & Scones subscribers as part of the resource library. You can also snag the Summer addition, which includes expanded ideas and full brunch menus for these six themes!


Can’t you just taste the sweet, pink juice and feel it dripping down your chin? Biting into a slice of watermelon is just so quintessentially summer. Capture that classic barbecue feel with melons on – and in – everything.

Watermelon Slices Cloth Lunch Napkins Watermelon Decor

Hand painted Watermelon wine glasses Beach wine glasses Beach

Watermelon Placemats Reversible Set 4 or 6 Pink Daisy

Watermelon coasters summer coasters coaster set

  • Cloth Napkins: The best thing about these napkins, other the the fresh and fun watermelon design, of course, is that they are reusable! That makes them essential for all your summer gatherings.
  • Hand Painted Glasses: I’m not the world’s biggest watermelon fan, but in juices and cocktails, I am here for it. These glasses are best used to hold a delicious watermelon daiquiri on the rocks.
  • Reversible Placemats: I love a good reversible table linen! These have the bright melons on one side for summer, and the other features a springy pink floral pattern. So you can use these for half the year.
  • Resin Coasters: Each of these adorable slices is perfect for holding your glass, and bringing a little more fun to the table. They are translucent and glittery, for some extra summery shine.

Nautical Americana

In the US, summer is filled with excuses for grilling and fireworks, bookended by two patriotic holidays. Break out the red, white, and blue, and keep it classy with an upscale nautical motif.

Vintage look Large Outdoor Waterproof Picnic Camping Blanket

Nautical Trivet Woven Turks Head Hotplate Traditional Red

Nautical Napkin Holder and Small Wood Tray with Set of

Atriotic Star Heavyweight and Durable Melamine 11.25 Inch

  • Vintage Look Picnic Blanket: What better way to watch the fireworks than from the comforts of a festive blanket. This one is waterproof and sandproof, so pack a picnic and make it a party.
  • Woven Trivet: This simple design will protect your tabletops from hot plates of burgers and dogs fresh off the grill. Plus it’s simple enough to use during other times of the year.
  • Wooden Tray and Napkin Holder: Anchors away with this fun print! This tray is great for serving drinks or snacks, like some corn fritters with bourbon-maple sauce.
  • Melamine Star Tray: Up your cheese and crackers game with this cute star-shaped tray. It comes in red and white as well, so why not build up a whole collection!

Are you already planning a summer soiree in your head? Me too, six of them, actually. Let me know which of these ideas for a summer party you’re going to try out first for your own outdoor festivities.


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5 thoughts on “6 Theme Ideas for a Summer Party + Hosting Wishlist

  1. I can’t decide if the first tropical or the sunflower theme is my favorite! Both so cute! I love the coastal and nautical too, but alas I live in Colorado! We are definitely land locked!

  2. I am so ready to have some fun parties! Unfortunately we don’t have much of an outdoor area. We’ve talked about looking into a new house in the next few years and I mentioned I wanted a backyard for parties haha. I love the fruits and the tropical vintage vibes here!

  3. I love hosting, although it’s usually lowkey and without a theme. I can’t wait to buy a house to have more space for hosting. The coastal calm theme is my favorite. Maine is at the top of my bucket list, and it’s giving me all the Maine vibes!

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