SBP Guide: It’s Time to Host the Ultimate Summer Dinner Party

Tacos & Tequila


The team at SBP agrees that one of the best things about living in SoCal in the summer is the ability to host an epic outdoor soirée — any day of the week. With June gloom now on its way out, it’s the perfect time to start planning an alfresco dinner party with your peeps. Whether you choose to keep it small and simple or go all out with a party to remember, we’ve got the necessary tips and tricks to host a gathering (or two…or more!) sure to delight your guest list.

Start With the Setting 

When hosting an outdoor dinner party, the setting is just as important as the food and drinks. Create an inviting ambiance by hanging string lights across the patio or yard, scattering tiki torches or outdoor floor lamps, and placing candles in hurricanes or lanterns on tabletops.

If you don't have a sit-down dinner table that can accommodate all of your guests, set up multiple smaller tables and decorate them with linens, potted herbs, or flowers (bonus points if they’re from your garden). For extra flair, incorporate fun elements like oversized outdoor pillows or blankets for lounging on the grass.

Photo: Camille Styles

Go for a Theme

Want to take it one step further? Opt for a fun, festive theme to make your party extra memorable. For a garden party, decorate with patterned linens and wild blooms from a local florist like Pigsty or Unlikely Florist. A classic summer barbecue theme with gingham accents, pinwheels, and mason jar drinkware can create a laid back, nostalgic vibe. Or embrace the outdoors with a nature-inspired palette of greens, browns, and natural wood elements.

Photo: Goop

Let the Drinks Flow

No summer party is complete without some chilled beverages. Welcome guests with a signature drink like a Smoky Paloma aka “Desert Oasis” (David’s pick), Vesper (F. Ron’s fave), Aperol Spritz, or Classic Marg (multiply our recipe here). For self-serve convenience, set up a bar cart or drink station with all the essentials — wine and beer, cocktail mixers, garnishes, glassware, cocktail napkins, and a bucket of ice. The secret to the perfect party? Always make sure your guests have their glass full. 

Photo: Better Homes & Gardens

Keep it Light & Fresh

When planning your dinner party menu, stick with lighter fare that highlights the season's bounty of fresh produce. Cheese and charcuterie, colorful salads, and grilled proteins are all perfect options. For a truly low-key vibe, you could even set up a build-your-own taco station with lots of tasty toppings. And for an even more impressive set up, get yourself an Ooni to make delish wood-fired pizza right in your backyard.

Photo: Goop

Take out the Guesswork

Want to make it even easier on yourself? Invest in a private chef for the night, like Haute Chefs, or go the take-out route from one of your favorite restaurants (might we suggest Ospi?). And do not, we repeat, do not forget dessert. Yummy treats like ice cream sandwiches (hello cream’wich!), summer cobbler, or zesty lemon bars are all crowd-pleasers. For grab-and-go ease, set out desserts in portable packaging like small cups or paper cones.

Photo: Haute Chefs ℅ InsideHook

With good food, drinks, and company, hosting a memorable summer dinner party is a breeze with some savvy planning. Be sure to tag us in your party pics on Instagram @smithandberg

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