Outdoor Dining: A Pink and Yellow Birthday Party

Our My Great Outdoors event may have ended at the close of June, but outdoor entertaining is still in full swing. Last weekend I used our little back deck to its fullest and threw an outdoor fête for my sister. We had a perfect summer evening for it; I really couldn't have asked for more beautiful weather! Here's a peek at the pink and yellow party, with a few ideas for drinks and food for your own outdoor summer parties. Here's a peek at this party, which happened to include some guests who were semi-vegetarian, lactose-intolerant, gluten-free, and allergic to chicken and dairy!

• 1 It seems to me that a really elegant, delicious party is a gift that we should all give and receive. I wanted to make this beautiful and special — a really special birthday!
• 2 The peony invites, from a pattern by e.m. papers.
• 3 Arranging flowers. Whole Foods had a great deal on late-season peonies. (Tip: Always negotiate flower prices, even at chain stores like WF. If the flowers are looking close to finishing, the florist may give you a generous deal, as she did for me.)
• 4 Flowers all lined up in Mason jars from my basement.
• 5 The famous (infamous, by now?) Martha Stewart tissue pom-poms. I used a kit, but now that I've made them once I'll do them from scratch in the future. They are so easy.

• 6 Birthday cake! I used the Ina Garten lemon cake recipe yet again, and attempted the Martha Stewart ruffle cake look.
• 7 Raspberry meringues and lemon bars. (From Mom's kitchen! Thanks Mom!)
• 8 Placecards. I wanted the placecards to stay lemon juice-free, so I used toothpicks to hold them in the lemons.
• 9 The table, with poms overhead.
• 10 Pink and yellow!

• 11 The drinks included a quick mix of Prosecco and peach juice with mint (thanks Trader Joe's!) and TJ's strawberry lemonade with fizzy water, plus bottles of cold water.
• 12 I also added a few melon slices to the Prosecco cooler.
• 13 The menu: Zucchini and squash fritters (with GF tapioca flour), baby roast potatoes with oregano and lemon, smashed chickpea salad with artichokes and tomatoes, dill chicken salad in phyllo cups, and a mix of melon.
• 14 I also made small ramekins of smoked salmon blended with dill and Tofutti to serve to my chicken-free, lactose-free guests.
• 15 Wine glasses for fizzy drinks; Duralex tumblers for water.

• 16 I put these really tall 14" candle tapers on the cake. Dramatic!
• 17 Red jam in between the layers.
• 18 Lemon verbena tisane to close the meal.
• 19 Enjoying the outdoors, late in the party.
• 20 Bug bite salve from KIOSK. A very important element if you want to have an outside party at night!

Related: One Weekend, Two Dinner Parties

(Images: Faith Durand)