How to throw the perfect summer soirée

A collage of pictures from a summer dinner party.

Sun-drenched days stretching into evenings, lush greenery and florals, and an abundance of fresh, local, in-season ingredients can only mean one thing: it’s time for something more than just a party. It’s time for a summer soirée. 

But what makes a perfect summer soirée? Well, for a start, great company, incredible wine and surroundings that enhance the entire experience. We’ve paired up with Avaline, a female-founded line of organically farmed wines, to create the ultimate guide to hosting an easy, enjoyable summer dinner party. So sit back, relax (preferably with a glass of wine) and take notes!

Keep your guest list intimate + choose an invitation that sets the tone

Curating a guest list is like planning a menu—the right balance is essential. While we love the excitement of a huge, Gatsby-style bash, an intimate group of friends leads to richer conversations and a more relaxed atmosphere. Not to mention, it’s far easier for the host to plan! Even for a smaller soirée, sending out an Evite invitation makes planning easier (cheers to free RSVP tracking and text delivery, amirite?) and it doubles as a way to set the vibe for your dinner party. For example:

Wine Night: Fun and fabulous, a party that starts off with canapés and might end in karaoke, and you know some of those photos are going in the Close Friends circle only.

On the left, an invitation. On the right, wine bottles and glasses on a table.

Fresh Fronds: A little dreamy, definitely appropriate for day, evening or night, excellent for a beach or poolside soirée, and refined yet relaxed. 

On the left, a hand passes a wine bottle to someone. On the right, an invitation.

Up Close & Personal: The kind of get-together where people dress up a little, the cheese selection is impeccable, and the conversation flows as smoothly as the wine.

On the left, an invitation. On the right, an outdoor coffee table with a candle, bread, and wine bottles.

Wine Napkin Doodles: Ultra casual, a board game might make an appearance, tons of reminiscing will occur, and the bottles will be empty by the end.

An invitation with a dinner table in the background behind it.

Pick wines that complement your meal (+ apps) perfectly

Two hands clinking their wine glasses over a charcuterie baord.

Once you’ve decided on the tone of your summer soirée, sent out your invitations, and decided which foods to serve, it’s time to select your wine. Appetizers to main course to dessert to post-dessert, wine is present and can be both the accompaniment and star. We partnered with Avaline for many reasons—their wine is organically farmed, free of unwanted additives, transparently produced, and female-founded by two friends, Cameron Diaz and Katherine Power. We also love that their line offers approachable blends alongside single grape varieties, so no matter where you fall on the sommelier scale, you can select and serve with confidence. Some of their faves to consider serving throughout your soirée:

Avaline Sauvignon Blanc: Made with 100% organic Sauvignon Blanc grapes. 

Tastes like: A crisp French white with notes of ripe citrus and rose petals.

Avaline Red: Made with 100% organic French grapes—a blend of Grenache and Syrah.

Tastes like: Light to medium bodied with hints of cherry and the perfect touch of spice. 

Avaline White: Made with 100% organic Spanish grapes—a blend of Xarel-lo, Macabeo and

Malvasía. Tastes like: Dry, with a touch of citrus and a crisp, fresh finish. 

Avaline Rosé: Made with 100% organic French grapes—a blend of Grenache, Cinsault, Caladoc, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Tastes like: Light and fresh, with notes of melon and zest. 

Create a beautiful-but-chill atmosphere 

An outreached hand holding a glass of red wine next to a pepperoni pizza.

When you’re surrounded by great friends and excellent wine, you don’t need to go OTT with everything else! Keep things simple and chill when it comes to the menu, tablescape and music:

The menu: pizza and pasta. Pizza is always a crowd-pleaser and all it takes to bring it to the table is placing a quick order at your yummiest local pizzeria. And a light pasta dish is pure perfection in the summer (especially when it includes fresh, in-season ingredients). 

The tablescape & dinnerware: You can never go wrong with neutral dinnerware, simple glassware and wooden serveware. It’s timeless, summery and oh-so-easy to reuse for future parties. A few tall glass vases or ceramic bud vases filled with colorful fresh-cut flowers from the garden (or market!) and some clear candlestick holders with twisted white tapers are all you need to complete the table.

The music: Opt for classic tunes, a little international flair and tons of good vibes. Don’t have time to curate a playlist? We’ve got you covered with our Summer Soirée playlist.

Looking for more #summersoiree inspo? Check out Avaline’s guide to hosting one and Evite’s top dinner party themes to know and love.

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