Thinking about throwing a Summer Solstice party? A swank Midsummer Night’s Dream in the garden? There’s not a better day for you to throw your soiree. Set your calendars, Summer Solstice 2018 officially arrives at 5:07 am (EDT) on Thursday, June 21 (in the Northern Hemisphere). You could have a (really late) Wednesday night Solstice party to be totally authentic – or you could just celebrate on the weekend before or after.
Over the centuries, the June solstice has been marked with festivals, midsummer celebrations and other observations. In the Northern hemisphere, it’s the longest day of the year. Which should give you lots of daylight hours to prep your magical outdoor summer solstice party.
But Where Do I Start?
Good question. Start with the overall ambience of the party. Think elegant, glamorous, posh. Upscale New Years Eve. But in the summer, outside, with lots of flowers and candles. Because it’s a summer solstice party after all. There are a million ideas out there for the taking. Mason jars with river rocks and candles hanging from trees. White flowers. Twinkly white lights. Champagne and imported beer. Think Martha Stewart.
If you’ve got guests who will play along, request that they all dress in white. It’s really not effective unless everyone does it. You can put the request on the invitations, but you should also point the dress code out to people individually if you really would like it to happen.
Have Your Summer Solstice Party Invitations Ready
Keep your party invitations simple and elegant. The tone of the invitation really tells the guest what to expect. Or should. Like the title of a movie (not always adhered to). Other than special requests (Please Dress in White; Please RSVP By), make the time and date clear as well as the address. It’s quite common to add a line requesting that guests notify you with any dietary restrictions well in advance. Particularly with a small dinner party. You can create custom party invitations online and send them electronically. Perfectly acceptable in this day and age. Order the invites you see above at Very Sarie.
This solstice dinner party invitation is elegant and tells the guest what to expect.
Yeah, yeah, this invite is for a Rehearsal Dinner but is easily adapted and is perfect for a solstice invitation. Because you will have those very lights in your garden. Or something close to it. Just request a custom order printable invite with your details and the “Summer Solstice Party” heading over at The Stardust Factory on Etsy. Custom invitations are no longer expensive to do – and it will give your soiree that added upmarket feel from the start.
Lighting & Decor is Really Important
When guests walk into your backyard or patio or terrace – they should be swept away by the magic. There are fairies involved – how could there not be? But don’t get too kitschy or it will end up looking like a kid’s party. The odd subtle fairy for effect. No more. It’s a solstice party, not a Tinkerbell party.
White lights and white flowers. Just for the record, if this were a daytime summer solstice party, we’d be doing it in yellows and oranges and bright sunshine colors. But it’s not. Lots and lots of white lights and flowers. You can add a highlight of color here and there but we like metallic silver for an accent – mercury glass is great for this effect. And green. As in greenery. Everything as natural as you can. Candles in mason jars. Candles hanging from the trees. Candles hanging from patio umbrellas. Source
Even bare white lights, combined with an outdoor setting and greenery, make magic. Source
We’d almost say you need those white bulb lights to host a summer solstice party. In fact, we will say it. Anything else is an imitation. And, there is nothing in this photo that you can’t do with a little imagination and not a lot of money. Source
White lights, candles, white accents. A touch of color if you must, but just a touch.
If you don’t have enough chairs – go Moroccan style for your summer solstice party. Source
Candles will always soften a table. Looks like it might be time for dessert. Source
Mason jars are so versatile. They are an inexpensive source you can use to create a natural looking candle holder, for one. Add rocks and a candle and voila. Or add fairy lights. Or you can find Mason Jar Solar Light kits in many places online.
A small sprig of thyme around your mason jar carries the greenery motif to the table and turns your DIY into a scented candle. Plus, summer solstice comes with a long history of burning herbs. Source
Sparklers are the perfect addition to your summer solstice party. Such a festive air. Source
We do want a little fairy something. After all, the theme is a Midsummer Night’s Dream. These cupcake toppers could be easily worked into a greenery centerpiece or used on the serving table. Available at Etsy.
Summer Solstice Rituals Make Memories
One solstice ritual is the crown wreath of herbs or leaves and/or flowers for guests to wear on their heads. In the old days, these wreaths were said to repel evil spirits. They can be put together with any vines and spring flowers, but if you can find St. John’s Wort, all the better. We like authenticity and if you don’t have it in your garden, many health food stores carry bundles of the marvelous plant. If you do use flower wreaths, best to also make plain greenery wreaths as an alternative choice. If you don’t want to make the wreaths fresh, you can buy floral crowns everywhere, from Urban Outfitters to Etsy. It’s a cute way to turn all your party guests into forest nymphs.
A crown wreath made from Bay leaves for your summer solstice party. Some people just aren’t the flower crown type. Source
A nice gesture is to have a table of different floral crowns for the guests to choose from as the arrive. But only if they paid attention to the invitation and dressed in white (just kidding).
Fresh is always best if you can manage it. Especially for a summer solstice party. But, on the other hand, some of the artificial floral crowns are very nice and they can also double as a take-home party favor. Source
Bonfires are de rigueur for summer solstice celebrations. Throw fresh herbs on the fire to create a heady scent and to ward off evil spirits – and don’t forget your wish. Write down something you either wish to draw to your life or banish from your life. Throw the paper in the fire with the herbs (St. John’s Wort is a good choice here, too). If you can’t create a bonfire in your area or don’t have the space, consider a steel fire pit bonfire or even a tabletop feature with flame. And throw a little kitchen spice into it with your wish. It’s the ritual that counts. And that’s what people remember.
Solstice Party Menus for Devotees
Once again, keep it elegant and simple. Light and fruity, even. The big thing is, you do want to enjoy the party yourself. You don’t want to be running back and forth. So things you can prepare in advance (or have catered, LOL) are a good idea. We went with the traditional Scandinavian menu ideas below – but as long as whatever you serve is simple and elegant, you are golden.
Gravadlax is a great choice – Scandinavian countries celebrate the solstice with style. The Summer Solstice is actually a national holiday in Sweden, so we’ve looked to this Nordic country for inspiration. This melt-in-your-mouth salmon is cured in the traditional Scandinavian way with sea salt, dill and pepper. And the best part is, you prep it the day before. Served on toasted rye bread or crackers. Source
Scandinavian Shrimp Salad is another elegant make-ahead. You’ll find dill figures considerably in Swedish food.
A typical summer solstice meal will include cheeses, pickled herring and boiled new potatoes with mint.
A selection of cold beer is traditional with the Scandinavian summer solstice meal.
Another impressive option is the Swedish Sandwich Cake.
The quintessential dessert for a Scandinavian summer solstice party involves strawberries and cream. Simple, and stylish, when you serve them in shooter glasses.
If you really want to go crazy, and feel guilty because dinner was so easy to throw together, you could order a cake like this.
Champagne and imported beer is all you need for alcoholic beverages. The beer is particularly appropriate for the main meal. And the champagne is lovely before dinner, and then again with dessert. And how they have served it here is an adorable twist. Champagne split bottles with colorful straws – no glasses. It has appeal. It’s the small touches like this that can turn a great summer solstice party into an unforgettable event.
And do supply something non-alcoholic that turns heads, like lavender lemonade. And always have plenty of bottled water, both regular and carbonated.
Sparkling lavender lemonade is the perfect non-alcoholic addition to your party beverage offerings. People will be intrigued by the novelty but even more importantly, the flavor is simply grand. Get the recipe here.
Great Soundtrack Ideas
Basically, search your music library for anything with the word SUN or SUMMER in it. Because that’s what your summer solstice party is celebrating – the sun’s longest appearance all year. Keep the volume low – it’s background. People need to be able to hear each other over the music. They’ll recognize the tunes in the backs of their minds – nobody forgets their summers. Here are a few tracks to get you started.
Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles
Garden Party by Ricky Nelson
Summer In The City by Lovin’ Spoonful
In the Summertime by Mungo Jerry
Summer Breeze by Seals and Croft
Under the Boardwalk by The Drifters
Groovin‘ by the Rascals
Summer of ’69 by Bryan Adams
Summer Fires by Ninebarrow (written about the Solstice)
The Boys of Summer by Don Henley
Summertime by Ella Fitzgerald
Summer Nights by Olivia Newton John & John Travolta
Walking on Sunshine by Katrina and the Waves
You get the picture. Alternatively (and they really don’t mix, it’s one or the other) you can put together a playlist of New Age spiritual instrumental background music (Enya and the like). Depends on your party – and your temperament. Source
Party Favors: Final Touches for the Solstice
Floral Confetti Pop up Petals could not be a more perfect table favor for a summer solstice party. Dried rose, lilac and hydrangea petals disintegrate in water (so don’t try using them in the fountain).
Bottles of Fairy Dust make a delightful parting gift for your summer solstice soiree.
Miniature fairy garden plants make a great party favor for the summer solstice. They’re real plants – Sedums. You need to water them and everything. If you want, you can glue a small magnet on one side so your guests can keep them on their fridge. But you don’t have to make them, they’re available on Etsy.
Every good party needs a memorable take-home trinket or treat. We love Surprize Balls from Tops Malibu. It’s the unraveling that’s so much fun as you peel back layer after layer to find all the prizes hidden inside. You might present this party favor with dessert, so the unraveling fun happens en-mass at the dinner table.
With just a little pre-planning, you can make this Summer Solstice party an event that will be long remembered.