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Hosting An Easy Summer Dinner Party


Despite what you think of me, I am much more of a party goer than a party thrower. I get stressed out hosting a party for a couple reasons:

1. Throwing a beautiful, delicious, and well-appointed party is really expensive and time consuming. It just is. Doing a 1/2 assed job doesn’t sound satisfying so I tend to just not.

2. Expectations of me in this realm are high and I honestly am WAY too lazy and busy to do anything beyond flowers, candles, ready-made apps (or chili), punch, and music (I need a nap just thinking about it). I can pull this together so it looks great, but I get stressed out with the idea of inviting people I don’t know super well over as they might be expecting me to KILL IT. My best friends have seen me and my house at its worst; everybody else makes me nervous.

So, I tasked Andrea and Amanda to concept/shoot and style an entertaining story based on me, the lazy party girl. They pulled together the following peach and green summer party, with supplies that are easy to find and easier to style (all of which are linked below).

Let’s start with the flowers:

Easy Summer Dinner Party Lazy Girl Host Advice from a 20 Something Emily Henderson 4

Flower arrangements can get stupidly expensive, but flowers, branches, or plants are key to livening up a flat surface – so you kinda need them. Instead of spending $50+, let’s go the cheaper route: greenery. You can typically get “filler” greenery at the florist for super cheap (or even free in some cases). Even better, you can literally find some really pretty leafy greens right outside. Go for branches and wildflowers, and picking from your own property is a good idea but LORD KNOWS I have snagged many an illegal branch.


I love the simplicity in what Andrea and Amanda did. They used water glasses, bold greenery, and layered them perfectly.

Easy Summer Dinner Party Lazy Girl Host Advice from a 20 Something Emily Henderson 3


Start with a quick and easy runner for your centerpiece. Just overlap some of the larger leaves on top of one another to create a tropical look. Then grab any and all vases, jars, or drinking glasses and add the greenery to give the centerpiece some height.

Next the dish-ware:


They used cafe au lait bowls, simple white plates that most of you probably have, and some woven chargers that act as placemats. What follows is so sweet:


I’m not sure why I haven’t done this before – the graphic/flat leaf as a decorative layer on a plate – but I LOVE it. And that, my friends is super easy. You just clip and place.


They added more color to create a summery feel with these peach glasses from World Market, and the napkins and bowls from Anthropologie.

Easy Summer Dinner Party Lazy Girl Host Advice from a 20 Something Emily Henderson 1


As for dinnerware and flatware, they grabbed this gold flatware (I own 12 sets of these myself) and these plates from Target. I love how they add some natural texture to the look, and these chargers/placemats are only $35.96 for a set of four at World Market.


Easy Summer Dinner Party Lazy Girl Host Advice from a 20 Something Emily Henderson 2

There you have it – a green and peach summer tablescape for the lazy party thrower. I love how much impact that greenery has for how little it can cost. Combine it with a super on-trend and happy color, like that peach, and what you get is a simple happiness for not a lot of work – aka my goal in life.

Easy Summer Dinner Party Lazy Girl Host Advice from a 20 Something Emily Henderson Mood Board Anthropologie

1. Set of 4 Rattan Chargers | 2. Latte Bowls | 3. Melamine Dinner Plate | 4. Linen Market Napkin | 5. Set of 4 Carats Dof Glasses | 6. 5 Piece Izon Gold Flatware Set | 7. Franklin Dining Table | 8. Tarno Folding Chair

Thanks so much to Andrea and Amanda for pulling this together and expect a few more from these talented ladies.

Creative Direction & Photography by: Andrea Posadas
Styling & Story by: Amanda Holstein

Want more entertaining posts? Check these out: My Favorite Hostess Gifts,  My Pastel Easter Brunch, Charlie’s Sip & See, A Portable Feast.

Fin Mark


Never miss a single post and get a little something extra on Saturdays.

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Love this! The styling could be used in a low-key wedding too! One question though…why are the forks on the right side of the plate? Aren’t forks traditionally on the left side, and spoons and knives on the right? Or is it just because it’s a mirrored image or something?


Good question


Omg thought the same thing! Gorgeous though!!


Yeah, it is most definitely set wrong. Where I live, I would be judged more on that faux pas than anything else.


Love the greenery idea!! Why haven’t I ever thought of that??


Could we add the menu? And playlist?
Love this!

I was thinking the same! I was expecting/hoping to see a sample party menu after this *gorgeous* tablescape. Can’t host an “easy summer dinner party” without food! 😀

OH, I love the idea of using the large leafs as a table runner of sorts. Breaks up the tablescape and also adds a lot of visual interest!


This is 100% a personal confession (not a critique of the post which is beautiful): I would feel SUPER self-conscious throwing a dinner party this aesthetically pleasing. It’s silly because I know that setting a nice table is a way of making your guests feel special, but I feel like some of my guests would be secretly rolling their eyes at it… like, maybe as if I had set a table more for a Pinterest photo shoot and less for a fun night with friends. Is that just me?? Again, NOT a critique of the post itself and not even really commentary on my circle of friends. It’s more just a personal insecurity. Anyone? Am I crazy?


I had the same thought. I am guessing its regional and sort of class related. I live in the midwest and this would be very over the top for a dinner party with my friends. The only events in my circles with this level of decor are weddings. But I could see if you live in LA or NY, or if you run in more socially upper class circles that this is what a dinner party looks like, but that is just my guess!

I would be really curious what others think.

LA Lady

Book Club is where I get to bring out all my fancy dishware. The ladies appropriately ooo and aah, plus there are no kids! Every other party is buffet, with paper plates and napkins and plastic utensils. Even with a buffet, you can get away with fancy serveware!


Good point. I DO get tired of the buffet lines and paper plates.


I’m in So Cal, Orange County, not LA, but my cousins and I (who do live in LA) would totally do this and it wouldn’t seem over the top–but then we’re all kind of artsy and one of cousins is a florist so she hooks up the centerpieces. Normally at family parties we deck out the table and hang up decorations like paper lanterns, but use paper plates and plastic cutlery for ease of clean up 🙂


I live in Miami and this type of plant material is right outside of almost everyone’s front door. Because of this, this kind of “tablescape” is just everyday decor in my home, and most of my friends homes. I might add a few special flowers when I’m actually entertaining but this is what my kitchen table, bathroom vanity and patio tables always look like. 🙂


Hm, interesting. You could be on to something. I live in Portland, so it’s not like we’re above the trends, but I think maybe we just don’t want to look like we’re trying too hard?


I think this would work beautifully for a celebration dinner, or a small bridal shower / baby shower, birthday dinner, etc.!


So true. Definitely depends on the occasion.


Ha-ha! Not crazy! I feel self conscious about such things too…I think just bc of Pinterest in general! One time, I had a good idea on my own and someone said, “ooooh! Did you find that in Pinterest?”. I hadn’t. And not that I think Pinterest is bad…but that anything I do COULD be considered a pin copy makes me not want to do anything (for parties. For home and crafts I don’t feel this way). That’s probably weird. But, alas, that’s my brain. I’m also Midwest where the only important party component is the BBQ beanie weenies and cheesy potatoes. (much to my east coast husband’s chagrin)


Yeah, we’re Downunder and no way would anyone do this for a dinner party. It’s almost too OTT even for a wedding 🙂 We do ‘beautiful’ here too, but in a much more minimalistic, casual way!


With all due respect Milky, I am also from ‘Down Under’ and want to respond to your comment in fear that Emily’s readers may believe what you say is true. Australia is a huge and very diverse country and to suggest that ‘no way anyone would do this for a dinner party’ is untrue. To suggest that this is OTT for an Australian wedding is just embarrassing. Most of the weddings I have been to and seen photos of go to far more effort to dress their tables than this.
You’re very entitled to your own opinions, of course, and we all read the comments to hear a diversity of views, but please do not speak on behalf of the whole country.


I didn’t say I was in Australia 🙂


This is so pretty!!! I love the greenery on the place settings – so cute!


I don’t go gah gah over many table setting on blogs, but WOW! It’s not only beautiful, but fairly simply. I love how you could use items you already have on hand. Thanks!!


so pretty!


THe latte bowls look a lovely soft pink, but the Anthropologie ones are listed as coral and are darker and not as sweet…?

Hi, Jane. Look down below the initial picture on the Anthro site. There you can buy six latte bowls of the same color, and the Vibrant Peach color looks like what they used in this post. I hope that helps!

Sorry, you can buy four bowls at a time, not six!

I find astrology fascinating and have always had an interest in it..

Margrethe Berg

Just a small question: why are the knives placed on the left side of the plate? Are all the guests lefthanded? Or is there a different way to place cutlery in the States than in Europe (I am from Norway)?

Very nice post, I certainly like this website, keep on it

Very good brief and this post helped me a lot. Say thank you I searching for your facts. Continuous it..


Hello! This is a design website! Of course Emily would have beautiful everything for her lazy summer dinner party! Are you not familiar with her work???

It’s not something I might think to do necessarily for a gathering of my nearest and dearest, but that’s entirely the point 🙂 And that’s why I love her blog.

I am a serious flower lover, but this post is turning me into greens. Lovely idea.

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