//, Eat & Drink, Styled by Jenn/Colorful & Eclectic Summer Dinner Party {+ Free Printables}

Colorful & Eclectic Summer Dinner Party {+ Free Printables}

Quick Jump To » Comments

eclectic dinner party with a yoga frog and mini tassel garland

As far as my typical weeknights go, last night pretty much took the {fresh-fruit-topped-boston-cream} cake.

I invited a few girlfriends over for dinner as part of a collaboration with Pier 1. There was yummy food, sparkling sangria, the glow of twinkle lights… and a giant gold Yoga Frog covered in butterflies. ;) But before I further explain that, a quick side note:

Even though the initial plan for this dinner party started quite a while back, life has been extra stressful this month, so this ended up being a 100%-done-on-the-day-of, comedic whirlwind to pull together. This included (amongst other things) “speed cleaning” the party prep mess by shoving stuff into every nearby drawer and cabinet while the doorbell rang, and designing the menus and place cards on my laptop from the chair of a hair salon with my head covered in foils. It was a long overdue appointment that I was unable to move, so I multi-tasked instead. There was also a decent amount of toddler/kid bribing via my (mostly futile) attempts to gain a few extra minutes of setting up in peace. Long story short, juggling a lot of responsibilities in life can often can get overwhelming – but, after a healthy dose of chatting, laughing, and general silliness last night at the party, I was once again reminded that:

Sometimes being overwhelmed by life makes “friend dates” and outside-the-box moments all the more appreciated – and necessary! Read on for a peek at how everything turned out…

eclectic dinner party table setting and crafty paper lanterns

One of my very favorite things about throwing parties is the opportunity to surprise guests with unexpected details. This is pretty much where the aforementioned Yoga Frog comes in… I don’t do yoga or collect frogs, but for some reason I was totally drawn to this peaceful little guy on my shopping trip to Pier 1. I wanted this backyard dinner party to be fun and eclectic and exude “good vibes only”… so with a mini tissue tassel garland and a handful of colorful butterflies, he became the perfectly quirky mascot for the party. You can download the good vibes sign below, too! ;)

Here are some of my other favorite party details to look out for:
– The most beautiful, glossy indigo blue and aqua melamine dinnerware
– Colorful Baked Feta (appetizer) topped with tomatoes and olives + rich & creamy Parmesan Risotto
– DIY burlap “placemats”+ paper lanterns embellished with tissue tassels & ribbon
– White Wine Sangria Sparkler served in acrylic wine glasses
– “Cell Phone Siesta” station (hint, hint!), decked out with mini “cushions” and butterflies

outdoor party pedestal drinks table

While there’s a lot to love about social media, what I don’t love is looking around a table and seeing everyone glued to their phone, which is a habit so many of us have adopted (yours truly included). This adorable Swingasan® Phone Holder + a playful sign felt like a cute, non-scoldy way to help keep screen time at a minimum. Also pictured above: San Martin Chairs in yellow & ocean + Amelia Table.

summer dinner party appetizer, food and drink ideas

Get the recipes for the above here: Baked Feta | Mediterranean Salad | White Wine Sangria Sparkler

I was instantly smitten with these intricate Bohemian Mercury Hanging Lanterns. We don’t have a patio trellis, so they just sat pretty as a centerpiece instead. ;) Couldn’t resist the mini version of the yoga frog either. I made a little silhouette banner for it to hold:

moroccan lantern table centerpieces and homemade peach sangria for a summer dinner party

Cheers! {Gold craft balls + skewers = sparkly stir sticks, and twine adds a touch of rustic flair to acrylic wine glasses.}

moroccan dinner party appetizers

Some of the best things in life are simple… like refreshing cucumber-lemon water, for example!

cucumber lemon water as a fresh drink for a summer dinner party

I also love making guests at small parties feel extra-special with a personalized something or other:

bohemian style place cards

Here’s a peek at the main meal… boy am I lucky that Sonny loves to cook! ;)  I designed tall & skinny menus so that they wouldn’t cover up too much of the fabulous melamine dinnerware. The colors were inspired by the vibrant Global Print Napkins.

dinner party menu

More recipe links: Parmesan Risotto and Roasted Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter

good vibes only sign for a dinner party

Pulling out old party tricks is a good time-saver too! You might remember these glitter dipped lemons & gold elephants from here.

grilled pork chops and roasted asparagus make the perfect summer dinner party main course

The sparkly jeweled mercury candle holders look even prettier all lit up!

moroccan style candle votives for dinner party soft lighting

A couple more fun uses for the little printable paper banners:
1) to embellish drink trays, as shown above
2) add straws for an easy DIY cake topper, as seen below…

fresh fruit boston cream pie for a summer dinner party dessert

I totally took the easy route with dessert and don’t regret it one bit. This fresh-fruit-topped Boston Cream Cake from my grocery store bakery was super yummy, colorful, and inexpensive. Definitely a sweet finish. ;)


Download the Free Printables:
Small Banners
4×6″ Signs (Good Vibes Only Sign & Cell Siesta)
Place Cards

printable cell phone party sign

printable good vibes only sign


Pier 1 Find what speaks to you.

Disclosure: Compensation was provided by Pier 1 via Mode Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Pier 1. Thank you for supporting the companies that make it possible for us to keep the creative content coming!




By |2018-09-07T08:44:26+00:00June 26th, 2014|Celebrations, Eat & Drink, Styled by Jenn|

About the Author:

Jennifer Sbranti is the founder of Hostess with the Mostess®, a creative living and party planning resource established in 2006. She lives in Northern California with her husband, Sonny, and daughters Macy (8) and Rylie (6). Sbranti’s work has been featured in media outlets such as Good Morning America, The Today Show, Real Simple, People, InStyle Weddings, and Extra! TV. She has designed creative content and unique live events for several well-respected brands, including Mattel, Coca-Cola, The Hershey Company, Toys”R”Us, Pottery Barn Kids, and Starbucks.


  1. Tori June 26, 2014 at 8:15 pm

    Jen — this looks like it turned out to be a perfect night! And that frog? LOVE.

    • jenn s. June 30, 2014 at 11:18 am

      Thanks, Tori! Glad you love the frog too ;)

  2. Cassandra Key June 27, 2014 at 1:06 am

    Totally good vibes going on here ✌

  3. Chris @ Celebrations At Home June 27, 2014 at 2:33 pm

    Jen, I always love seeing what you create, and especially love how you keep it real and down to Earth. Cheers to a fun night with the girls!

    • jenn s. June 30, 2014 at 11:19 am

      Thanks, Chris! WE need one of these one day ;)

  4. @bythepartygirl June 30, 2014 at 5:55 am

    check out this colourful and eclectic backyard dinner party! thanks Hostess with the Mostess! https://www.hwtm.com/2014/06/colorful-eclectic-backyard-summer-dinner-party/ #eventplanning

Comments are closed.