[INSPIRATION] Summer Dinner Party Playlist Suggestions

No good gathering is complete without a soundtrack. So in our second-to-last Summer Dinner Party Inspiration post, we're tackling music.  (And if you haven't already, check out decormenu, and dessert inspo here.)

Music for your party doesn't have to be complicated or fancy -- a simple iPod playlist will do. And with devices like Sonos and Amazon's Echo, there are plenty of ways for you to seamlessly integrate music into your dinner party setting (whether you're celebrating inside or outside). 

For a Summer dinner party I'd suggest great background music that will not be too disruptive or interrupt conversation. Music that is interesting and a little out of the ordinary could be nice since it could be a talking point if you're ever in need of a conversation starter. If you're having more of a themed dinner (say, a Hawaiian dinner party), go with theme-appropriate music.

Summer Dinner Party Playlist Suggestions | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

Below are my suggestions for a good non-themed dinner party playlist:

-any of the Café del Mar albums -- Café del Mar music reminds me of what you hear at beautiful hotels and restaurants across Europe. Channel that energy into you dinner party and you're set. 

-bossa nova -- I think bossa nova is a perfect fit for a Summer dinner party. It's relaxed and beautiful music that will complement a laid-back dinner party perfectly. 

-a compilation of John Legend & Norah Jones songs -- Both soulful singers, a playlist featuring these two artists (plus a few others of similar quality) would be beautiful.

-anything by Vitamin String Quartet -- This group plays instrumental versions of famous songs as well as current pop hits. It's fabulous background music and sometimes guests like to play "name that tune" and guess which song is playing. 

Those are just a few of my musical choices for a fun Summer dinner party. What are your favorite picks? Let us know in the comments! 

 


[INSPIRATION] Summer Dinner Party Desserts

This week we're continuing our series on Summer dinner party inspiration. Summer is officially here and we can't wait to celebrate! 

I love hosting dinner parties and having friends and family over for no special occasion and Summer is always a good time to host a gathering. Everyone is always in such a good mood when the weather is warm and entertaining can be laid-back and easy.

Developing a delicious Summer menu for my gatherings is usually easy...until I arrive at the last course -- dessert! Summer desserts are difficult for me. I usually don't want to turn on the oven and slave over it for hours like I might in the colder Winter months. But I still want something satisfying and sugary to offer my guests. (I also don't usually buy pre-made desserts, so opting for a store-bought solution is not often in the cards.)

Summer Dinner Party Inspiration | LIG Events - Wedding and Event Planners in Washington, DC

So, here are my choices for satisfying Summer desserts. Ye, some of them require the use of an oven, but I promise they're not intensive or painstaking recipes!

 

Blueberry Tart

I love eating berries during the Summer. And while I usually don't love fruit in desserts, there's something about fruit in Summer desserts that is both refreshing and satisfying. 

The recipe for this tart is simple, and the finished product is beautifully rustic and delicious. A winning combination for a Summer dinner party!

Photo by Con Poulos for  Real Simple

Photo by Con Poulos for Real Simple

Chocolate Mousse Pie

If you're in the mood for chocolate (and let's be real, who isn't?), then this no-bake mousse pie is a great option. It's one of my husband's favorite desserts so it does make appearances on our table from time to time. 

While I usually shy away from chocolate-heavy desserts during the Summer, if I'm having a large crowd or guests who I know really love chocolate, I will definitely make one of these pies.
(Side note: this is a PRIME example of why home-made is better than store-made. You really taste the difference in this pie!)

Photo via  Fine Cooking

Photo via Fine Cooking

Rhubarb Crisp

Thanks to my CSA box (Spiral Path Farm for the win!), I discovered the wonders of rhubarb this year. I feel as if rhubarb is that vegetable that people pretend to know something about but no one is really sure exactly what it is. In fact, after making this crisp a couple of weeks ago, I'm still not exactly sure what else this red celery looking plant would be good for, but at least we can say it makes a delicious dessert!

My rhubarb crisp turned out delicious (I used the recipe linked below). The tart and sweet flavors really brightened our palates and provided a wonderful ending to our grilled summer meal. I suggest you try it sometime. You might just be surprised by the power of rhubarb.
(One side note: I recommend cutting your rhubarb pieces smaller than Martha suggests so that they blend in with the other ingredients better.)

Photo via  Martha Stewart

Photo via Martha Stewart

Sheet Pan S'mores

One could argue that every Summer gathering must include s'mores. And I probably would not disagree with that statement. 

I love this take on the classic gooey campfire dessert. It's Italian meringue topping kicks things up a notch and its bar-like construction makes this version less messy and (dare I say it) easily consumed with the help of a fork. Perfect for a dinner party if you ask me!

Photo by Iain Bagwell via  Cooking Light

Photo by Iain Bagwell via Cooking Light

 

What do you think of these desserts? Are you already craving all of them like I am? Let me know in the comments!


[INSPIRATION] Summer Dinner Party Menu

When you think of a good dinner party, you probably automatically think of what the meal will entail. One of the main elements of a good dinner party, if not the main one, is the food. After all, good food and good friends are a winning combination!

On Tuesday we showed you some great dinner party decor elements and today we're sharing some of my favorite dinner party recipes. All of these recipes are great for Summer -- they are light and fresh, perfect for an al fresco dinner.

Summer Dinner Party Menu Inspiration | LIG Events - Washington, DC Wedding and Event Planners

Spanish Tortilla

Photo via  Bon Appétit

Photo via Bon Appétit

My mother married a Spaniard when I was in my teens and that's when I was introduced to this delicious dish. After my mother (a fabulous cook!) mastered her tortilla-making skills, she taught me how to make them and it has stuck with me.

A Spanish tortilla is basically a potato and onion frittata. It's really quite easy to make (the flip is the most difficult part), and it's a GREAT menu item for a variety of at-home occasions. What I really love about this dish is that it can be served hot or at room temperature. I actually prefer it room temperature which is how it is served at the bars and restaurants in Spain that I've visited.  

It's a great dish to set out and let people help themselves as they like -- and it's light and fluffy but still filling. Also, it's vegetarian! And you can always make it ahead, which is an indispensable quality when you are planning and cooking your own menu! Have I given you enough reasons to make it yet?

 

Farro Salad with Cucumbers, Tomatoes & Basil

I discovered farro last Summer thanks to this recipe. Farro a great grain -- I can't get enough of the chewy texture and subtle nutty flavor. This salad uses simple Summer produce and is both light and refreshing. It's the perfect complement to grilled protein and great served either chilled or at room temperature.

 

Grilled Steak

Photo by Steve Giralt via  Food Network

Photo by Steve Giralt via Food Network

Yes, grilled steak is expected at a Summer dinner party. But sometimes there's nothing wrong with providing your guests something that's expected if it's really good. And grilled steak is really good. A classic Summer dish that you can't go wrong with -- and it's easy to prepare!

 

Corn & Green Bean Salad

In my opinion, you can't have a Summer meal without incorporating corn. It's one of my favorite Summer staples (although I like to eat it year-round!). This crunchy salad is a perfect representation of the season and the dressing is top-notch. It's also simple to make, which is great because who wants to slave over a hot stove all day?!

 

What do you think of our Summer dinner party recipe ideas? Let us know in the comments!
And remember to come back next week when we share our favorite Summer dinner party desserts.