Our guide to DIY-ing the perfect summer dinner party

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The sun is shining, you’ve finally got that time off work you’ve been waiting all year for, far flung friends are back in town for the festive season – isn’t it time for a party? You’re a very fancy grown up though, so it’ll be the chicest summer supper. Here’s our hot tips to DIY your next soiree to the next level.

Put together your guest list

The most important step! A great rule of thumb is 50% people you know really well, and 50% people you’d like to know even better. The festive season is a great opportunity to mix newer friends with old friends who are back in town. If you really want to mix it up, give people a plus one to bring a ~mystery guest~! Just make sure you find out everyone’s dietary requirements, and maybe double check how many chairs you actually own, just in case.

Hit up the farmers market for the freshest produce

We’ve already rounded up some of our favourite farmer’s markets, so Saturdays are perfect for your next get-together. You want to have a general idea of what your menu will involve and how it will work with everyone’s dietary requirements – but you also gotta keep on your toes, baby! What if you’re counting on eggplants for your grandmother’s baba ghanoush and when you get there, the eggplants are just a bit, y’know, lacklustre? But those pumpkins look amazing! Let the seasons and what looks great at the market guide you. While you’re there, you can pick up a bunch of flowers or two to jazz up your table.
For the pantry staples you need to stock up on, why not make life easy and have those bits delivered? Tick it off the list! Once everything is delivered, prep as much as you can ahead of time – washing lettuce, de-stemming herbs, marinading meats, filling up ice trays. The goal is to actually hang out with your friends, not spend all night in the kitchen.

Photo of Subi Farmers Market 

Head to the deli for a bang-up cheese board

There’s so many great gourmet delis around, you can take your pick no matter your neighbourhood. We love Black Pig Deli & Co in Inglewood, Smoult’s Larder in Maylands, Re Store in Leederville and Northbridge, Little Sister in Freo and the Black Truffle in North Freo. All of these guys will hook you up with all your cheese and charcuterie needs, and most of them can put a whole grazing platter together for you as well if you really want to put your feet up!

Photo from Black Pig Deli & Co in Inglewood

Drop into the bottle shop

If your guest list is the most important thing, surely drinks come up a close second? Drop into one of our favourite boutique bottle shops for a drop of something special. Obviously your friends aren’t monsters, so they’ll definitely bring something… but just in case. This is also a great opportunity to get a bit of a theme going. Mexican? Tecates and margaritas! Italian? Aperol and a noice Campanian Greco! The world is your oyster!

Photo of Wise Child Wine Store in North Fremantle

Figure out your decor

I’m sure everyone would be happy if you served them beans on toast on a frisbee, but if you’ve got this far, why not complete the whole vibe? Decor is another great way to tie in your theme: is your menu a bit South American? Maybe bring in a few more plants from the garden for a tropical feel. Italian? Raid your neighbour’s lemon tree and rosemary bush and arrange them artfully along your table with some old tomato cans. If you’re feeling super strapped for time, consider utilising a local floral delivery service, like the Little Posy Co. or the Flower Run – but do it the morning of the day before your party to make sure they don’t arrive at the same time as your guests!

Photo from Flower Run

Head to your favourite fabric store for a few metres of a beautiful linen or cotton to make into a raw-edged table cloth, with an extra metre to make matching napkins. Fray the edges for that raw ’n rustic look. Browse your local op shops for platters, vases, water jugs, candle votives, napkin rings and any other trinkets that will complete your table’s aesthetic. If you’re running low on glassware or even chairs, you can pick up some more second hand, too. Mix n match is totally part of your style! I’d recommend not doing this the day of, but rather stopping in whenever an op shop catches your eye in the weeks preceding your party.

If you want to be really extra, hit up the Butcher Shop or Jackson’s for supplies to try your hand at calligraphy for some DIY table settings or a menu! How fancy! If you really, REALLY want to be extra, you can utilise a service like Side Serve, who hire out entire curated (super dreamy) tableware sets. Sure, that’s a bit less DIY and a bit more bougie – but sometimes a special event is worth outsourcing!

If all this sounds like too much of a headache, remember you can always order in pizza. Or check out some of our favourite picks for a raucous dinner with mates.


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