Inside: Outdoor dinner party ideas to make summer nights magical.

Summer is coming up, and you know what that means: outdoor parties! There is no better way to get some quality time with the people you love while also spending some time outdoors. After being stuck indoors all winter, I find myself jumping with excitement at the idea of all of the parties I will be throwing.

One of my absolute favorite types of outdoor parties are of the dinner variety! There is just something about eating outdoors that really connects me with nature, and makes being with my friends and family just that much more exciting and special.

I thought I’d feed into my excitement by brainstorming some outdoor dinner party ideas.

If you are interested in throwing one of your own, then keep reading. I’ve compiled a list of the best ideas you can find, as well as walk you through the process of throwing it from start to finish. 

Backyard Dinner Party Ideas

How to Throw An Outdoor Dinner Party

First things first, we’ll start with the basics. 

Step One: Choose a theme. This can seem like the hardest part, but it is also the most fun! There are so many awesome themes to choose from. You can always have a classic dinner, but having a theme makes it feel all the more special. Not only to you but to the people around you. I’ve included a list of the best dinner party ideas below to help you in decide.

Step Two: Send Out Invites. After you’ve chosen a theme, pick a date. Make sure to give people time to add it to their schedules. As a rule of thumb, plan it anywhere from 3 weeks to a month away. This also gives you time to get all of the preparations needed. You can send out invites either electronically or if you wanna go a little more classic, physically.

Step Three: Choosing the menu. This is going to be based on your theme. For example, if you have a beach party, serve shrimp and other kinds of sea food. Down below I’ve made sure to include a few menu ideas to get those creative juices flowing.

Pro Tip: Make sure to not get food that will be temperature sensitive unless hosting the party from your backyard.

For example, if you are going to have the party at the beach like mentioned above, perhaps don’t serve ice cream. You’d have to haul it all the way to the beach and wait until dinner is over to serve it, all the while hoping it is still cold enough in the cooler. Save yourself the stress.

Step Four: Gather Supplies. Besides the food, you have quite a few other things to buy in order to throw the best dinner party possible. I’ve included a list of must have supplies below.

Step Five: Party it up! After you’ve done all of this, then you are basically ready. All there is left is to set everything up and get cooking. Remember to have fun with it.


Now, depending on your theme you may not need all of these, but they are here for suggestions.

Table & Seating

  • Chairs or Cushions
  • Table or Picnic Blanket
  • Plates
  • Cups
  • Eating Utensils
  • Place Mats


  • Menu Supplies
  • Cold Drinks
  • Napkins


  • Blankets
  • Extra Jackets
  • Seating Cards
  • Fairy Lights
  • Candles
  • Outdoor Heater
  • Music

You can use all the steps above to create a little checklist for yourself. This will help to ensure that you don’t forget anything important. Now, onto the exciting part: Picking a theme!

Take a look at the list below for inspiration. You can use these at face value or you can add your own little quirks and changes to make them unique to you. On the ones that needed some more explaining, I added some info.

But for the most part, they are all straightforward Ideas.

Park Party Ideas for Summer

Outdoor Dinner Party Ideas

1. Classy Beach Party – Food, Friends, and Good Times.

2. Tiki Beach Party – Punch, tiki torches, and perhaps have all of your guests show up in a Hawaiian shirt. 

3. Park Picnic

4. Tea Party

5. Snack Themed- This is where all of the food is snack-sized!

6. Dinner Games – Bring as many cards and board games as you can and have a night of outdoor games!

7. Trivia Dinner

8. The Great Outdoors – Have nature-themed decorations and foods

9. Masquerade Dinner – Everyone shows up in their fanciest attire and masquerade masks.

10. Fairy Themed 

Outdoor Dinner Party

Backyard Dinner Party Ideas

11. Bonfire Dinner

12. Dinner & A Movie – For this one, you’ll need an outdoor projector. Set up your own outdoor movie theater and spend the evening watching movies with your guests.

13. Classy Elegant Spread – I love the juxtaposition of elegant attire and the outdoors. Only include the fanciest of food and have everyone dress elegantly.

14. Roaring 20s 

15. Fiesta

16. Bohemian Dinner

17. Classic BBQ

18. End of Summer Party

19. Rustic Dinner

20. Disco Night

21. Bring your own Cocktails

22. Bald Themed

Simple Outdoor Dinner Parties

23. Campfire Themed

24. Pizza Party

25. Chili Cookout

26. Fun Sized Dinner

27. BYOP – Bring your own pasta. This one is perfect to help save some money on food expenses. 

28. Breakfast for Dinner

29. Rainbow Themed

30. Seafood Boil

31. Soup Potluck

32. Group Date

33. Classic Dinner

34. Takeout Potluck

35. Picnic Themed

Menu Ideas for summer

Outdoor Dinner Party Menu Ideas


36. Deviled Eggs

37. Veggie & Hummus Plate

38. Salami & Cheese Skewers

39. Charcuterie Board 

40. Bruschetta

Main Course

41. Chicken Kabobs, Lime Rice, Corn Salad

42. London Broil, Garden Salad, Rolls

43. Lasagna, Salad

44. Seafood Boil

45. Burgers with Fries


46. Ice Cream Sunday

47. Pie A La Mode

48. Chocolate Cake

Outdoor Must-Haves

49. Fairy Lights

50. Comfy Seats

51. Place Mats

52. Heating

53. Music

More Party Ideas You’ll Love

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  • HOW TO PLAY THE CHANDELIER DRINKING GAME – Everyone loves a good drinking game. They’re a wonderful way to have some laughs and an epic good time. They can take any party up a notch in the easiest way. There are so many amazing drinking games out there, but not quite like the chandelier game. Curious as to what that is? Then you should feed that curiosity. Click here to read this article that outlines exactly what this game is and step-by-step instructions on how to play it. You will not be sorry, I promise! Unless of course, you drink a bit too much while playing.