The sun is shining, the waves are splashing, and it’s just about time for your first summer party. Make the first party of the season one to remember with an exotic outdoor oasis theme. Take a look at these tips for an amazing summer gathering.

The Guests

Keep the party to a manageable size, you want the night to feel intimate and serene. It’s hard to do with a crowd of more than 10 guests. Keep your party smaller for a more relaxing evening. Send out invitations a week or so ahead of time so your guests are able to schedule your party in their calendars.

The Décor

For a refreshing take on an outdoor party, try a more exotic theme, instead of a traditional all-American BBQ with red, white, and blue colors. Drape batik scarves or Moroccan-inspired throws over your chairs. Deep colors will look beautiful against the setting sun, and they’ll keep your guests warm once the sun goes down. Arrange citronella candles around the backyard to keep away pests, but don’t put them on the table. The scented smoke can agitate guests and cover the smell and flavor of your food. Instead, set the table with small, glowing tea lights. An large umbrella near the table is a good idea is you’re starting your party earlier in the day. It will shade your guests from the intense heat or UV rays. If you do set up an umbrella, you could string a rope of small lanterns underneath for additional soft lighting. Set your table in rich colors, like blushing reds, lush violet, sunset orange, with gold metallic accents for an exotic, far east feel that will take your guests to a different world.


The Food and Drink

Set up a small bar area with a variety of chilled beverages to keep your guests cool. Chilled sweet tea with a pinch of cardamom and ice water steeped with mint is a fun alternative to lemonade or soda. Keep a few bottles of liquor on hand for those guests who want to unwind with something a little stronger! Instead of burgers, grill up some more exotic fare. Try grilled lamb kebabs with tzatziki sauce served with rice pilaf and a fresh fattoush salad. Or maybe a Moroccan spiced chicken with smoky cumin, paprika and garlic. Serve it with a cool yogurt sauce and cous-cous loaded with tender veggies.

Take it To the Beach

Finally, nothing says summer party like a bonfire on the beach. Haul down the wood in advance and excuse yourself from your party about 10 minutes before you’d like to relocate to the beach. This way you’re ready to prep your fire and by the time your guests arrive it will be roaring and ready to go. Ask your guests to caravan down to the shore with cushions and outdoor blankets for a cozy scene. Be sure to bring the s’mores supplies!

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