When my husband and I moved into a ground floor apartment last summer, it was the first time in seven years we had outdoor space to call our own. The back porch, crumbly and peeling as it was, was exclusively ours, and the communal backyard unused by our upstairs neighbors.
Given this, we did something we'd been dreaming about doing forever: we got a grill. And when life hands you a porch, a grill, and a fierce love of pizza (as I have), there's really only one thing left to do: throw an outdoor pizza party on a beautiful summer day.
The Party Idea: Sunshine, Pizza, and Beer
Unless you live somewhere with unfailingly good weather all the time (here's looking at you, Palo Alto), it's always a little risky planning an outdoor party, however small and informal. I had originally invited friends over for a porch party in mid-June, only to have plans waylaid by a fierce summer storm. I rescheduled to early July and crossed my fingers for a beautiful day. July 5th dawned mild and sunny. It was in the mid 70s and slightly breezy. Perfection. In other words, come on over, guys!
We wanted our friends to chill out while we grilled pizza on our Weber grill, so we stocked up on a few different kinds of beers and I made a very snackable chip dip. Because grilled pizza is pretty great on its own, we kept the rest of the menu simple with just a chopped salad and an easy fruit and cream cake. If that doesn't sound like a lot, let me assure you there was plenty of food to go around!
The Party Look: Casual and Summery
On one side of my porch is a seating area; on the other a table. The porch walls are a muddy blue, so to enliven the dining area (while still playing off the blue) I set the table with bright yellow placemats, inky blue napkins, and a cheery mix of wildflowers. I really love these colors together.
I'm a bonafide black thumb, but since I had managed to keep a few hanging flower planters alive on my porch, I considered them primary party decor on the seating side. Why mess with nature? It knows what it's doing.
As far as decorating goes, that was really the extent of it. The food did the rest! Summer food is so vibrant — there's no need to dress a table too much when you've got corn, tomatoes, avocado, and salad greens in the mix, a pink strawberry soda that swirls ombré in the bottle, and a five-color summer fruit cake so beautiful and colorful it's almost decoration itself.
Coming up later this week we've got a recipe for Grilled White Pizza with Avocado (my favorite pizza we made!), a few tips for making pizza on the grill, and the full party reveal!
(Image credits: Kristin Teig)