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Planning a Summer Dinner Party {Step 1: Get Inspired!}

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Rustic Melamine Dinnerware

When it comes to parties, we feature a lot of “after” photos here at HWTM, but not a ton of “before” or “right smack in the middle of it” shots. And truth be told, posting more behind-the-scenes shots is something I’ve always wanted to do, but in reality I’m always so busy running from one thing to the next, just trying to get to the things that absolutely must. get. done. (i.e. client deadlines, keeping the kids alive & well, etc.), that the just-for-fun stuff I want to post hardly ever seems to happen.

That’s why I’m extra excited about this new Summer Dinner Party mini blog series project with Pier 1 and Spotify though. I’m required to share a little about the inspiration and planning process of a dinner party I’ll be hosting soon – before it’s actually hosted – so suddenly the behind the scenes stuff has become one of those things that must. get. done. Yay! ;) So off we go…

Brainstorming & Getting Inspired

Whenever I’m planning a party of any kind, inspiration & brainstorming are the first pieces of the puzzle, and I usually turn to hand sketches, digital mockups of ideas, and inspiration boards during this phase, as shown here.

The overarching guideline for this particular project is that it needs to feature elements from Pier 1’s Outdoor department. As strange as it sounds, a project can almost be more overwhelming when the guideline is so broad… it’s a great thing to have creative freedom, but this can also make it harder to focus or to even figure out where to start sometimes. So the solution was to browse my local Pier 1 and do pretty much exactly what they recommend: “find what speaks to you”. And that’s really what inspiration is about anyways, right?

The surprising thing is sometimes what catches your eye. I’m not particularly into yoga or frogs myself, yet I still found myself instantly drawn to a Yoga Frog Birdfeeder and thinking that it would be absolutely magical with a wire garland of mini tissue tassels! Here’s my digital mockup:

Yoga Frog Birdfeeder with Party Garland

Of course he will also need a framed “Keep Calm and Party On” sign sitting next to him for the finishing touch. I hope this idea works out in real life… stay tuned!

{Outdoor-Friendly} Dinnerware

I also fell in love with the new Carmelo Melamine Dinnerware (see image #1, at top), which seriously looks like glazed Italian stoneware… it’s quite possibly the most wonderfully deceiving melamine ever. And just like that, the star of the dinner table was discovered. For a little bohemian flair, I chose these festive Global Print Napkins to pair with the dinnerware.

Mood Lighting

Another key element to any good party? Mood lighting! There are so many beautiful and interesting lanterns to choose from at Pier 1 right now… below is what I picked up for this party. Now to figure out where to hang the lanterns! We don’t have a trellis in our backyard, but I do have my eye on a specific sturdy-looking tree branch… ;)

Pretty Outdoor Lanterns for a Summer Party


Dinner Party Playlist

Music is also key to any great party…. nothing like a background of “crickets” to dampen a festive mood! Of course, for a dinner party you want to stick with feel-good music that still allows for conversation. With that in mind, here’s the Summer Dinner Party playlist I created for this get-together. Just click Play to listen!


And that’s a wrap for Post #1 of this mini blog series. I still have additional shopping to do, a menu to plan, and paper details to design, so stay tuned to see how things are coming together!

P.S. If you have any suggestions for songs, food, drinks, etc that would go well with this look (or with the yoga frog) please share! :)


Pier 1 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 enable us to keep the creative content coming!


  1. @BitznGiggles May 21, 2014 at 11:34 am

    Planning the Perfect Summer Dinner Party via Hostess With the Mostess https://www.hwtm.com/2014/05/festive-summer-dinner-party-phase-1-planning/
    #party #summer #partyplanning #food #partytips

  2. […] I mentioned a couple weeks ago, I’ll be hosting a little backyard dinner party this summer in […]

  3. […] though the initial plan for this dinner party started quite a while back, the party itself ended up being a 100%-done-on-the-day-of, comedic […]

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