It’s finally here: summer 2021. After a year of being apart, we’re ready to gather in a big way. And that means cool cocktails to toast, creative fare to dish over, chic décor to ooh and aah at, and hot music to dance to — all held together by an over-the-top, unique party theme.
Don’t worry, we’ve got 15 summer party themes that will wow your guests, along with inspirational boards and links to more photos to get you started.
1. Island Getaway
Pack your bags — you’re island-bound. Make like you’re in the tropics, and sip a cocktail served from a hollowed-out coconut or pineapple under the sway of palms — and imagine the soothing sound of the waves. We’ve got all of the tropical summer party theme inspiration you’ll need to transport your guests.
See Full Events from ISLAND GETAWAY Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Place Card Leaves & Aerial Tabletop: “You’re the Pineapple of My Eye” Wedding Shower | photographer: Roots of Life Photography
Evening Beach Dinner: Tropical Boho Chic Wedding | photographer: Mariela Care Photography
Poolside Partier: Tropical Bridal Bash | photographer: Ashley LaPrade Photography
Driftwood & Grapefruit Décor & Cocktails: Engage! Nizuc Lunch | photographers: multiple
Place Setting: Charming Tropical Wedding | photographer: EvanR Photography
2. Festive Fiesta
Add a little Latin flair to your stateside celebration with vivid colors, samba sounds, and margaritas — all the margaritas. Serve classic favorites like fresh guacamole and roasted chicken in a rich mole sauce before finishing the evening with tres leches cake or flan. Viva la vida loca and gather fiesta inspiration on PartySlate.
See Full Events from FESTIVE FIESTA Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Garden-Set Cocktail Hour: Mexican Welcome Fiesta | photographer: Modern Fotographic by Dave Noonan
Colorful Fare: Modern Mexican Girls’ Dinner | photo courtesy of: Haute Chefs LA
Place Setting & Succulent Cupcakes: Ultimate Fiesta Kids Birthday | photographer: Iron & Honey
Tequila Aqui Signage: Engage! Nizuc: Welcome Party | photographer: multiple
Colorful Florals: Elegant & Vibrant Fiesta | photographer: Caitlin Hamilton Photography
Mariachi Band: Vibrant Fiesta Backyard Wedding | photographer: EDLT Photo
3. Tented Elegance
There’s nothing more romantic than a tented summer night. Not the kind of tent that has you huddled listening for bears, but the kind of lit-from-within tented soirée that has you dancing and toasting — to your own good fortune. Add some luxe lounge areas and dreamy lighting for a elegant celebration that your guests will remember as the temperature drops.
See Full Events from TENTED ELEGANCE Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Night Tent & Greenery Chandelier: Romantic Tented Wedding | photographer: Sean Cook Wedding Photography
Tabletop Cloche: 50th Birthday & 25th Anniversary Party | photographer: Natalie Watson Photography
White Cabana Tablescape: 60th Birthday Weekend | courtesy of Kristin Banta Events
Frame Tent Lounge & Chandeliers: Summer Tent Wedding | photographer: Victor Sizemore Photography
Dreamy Table with Candlelight: Tuscan-Inspired Outdoor Wedding | photographer: The Wedding Artists Co
4. Rustic Fun
Swing your partner ‘round and ‘round — right on past the colorful hand-picked wildflowers and cozy lounge areas in the great outdoors, on over to the whiskey tasting bar. Don’t forget lanterns and campfire to light your chic rustic gathering; make that fire work do double duty as your dessert prep station for some delectable s’mores.
See Full Events from RUSTIC FUN Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Whiskey Bar: Farm Wedding | photographer: SWITZERFILM
Barn Celebration & Lanterns: Rustic Orange Wedding | photographer: Simone-photography
Place Setting: Rustic Barn Wedding | photographer: Robert Evans Studios
“Games & Cocktails” Signage: Boho Vineyard Wedding | photographer: Jenn Emerling Weddings
S’mores: Rustic Modern Outdoor Wedding | photographer: Timwill photography
Florals: Western Birthday Celebration | photographer: Jennifer Crenshaw Photography
5. Stylish Nautical
Fox-Uncle-Nan: use your signal flags to let your guests know it’s time to have some nautical F-U-N. Ropes aren’t just for anchoring to a dock; they also make for stylish décor, along with colorful oars and boat-style lanterns. Keep your party afloat with classic cocktails like Moscow Mules served in copper mugs or some Dark n’ Stormy’s.
See Full Events from STYLISH NAUTICAL Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Rope Lanterns & Table Décor: Nautical Corporate Event | photographer: Erika Dufour
Place Setting: Nautical Baby Shower | photographer: Gloria Mesa Photography
Bar with Flags: Fresh Nautical Dinner Party | photo courtesy of: Platinum Events
Cake: Nautical Nuptials | photographer: Jason Kaczorowski Photography
Custom Drink Stirrers: Classic Nautical Newport Wedding | photographer: Armor & Martell
Captain Quarters Bar: Nautical-Themed Corporate Event | photo courtesy of: Chicago Casino Suppliers
Hot pink décor pairs with fun flamingo details for a summer party theme your guests will love. Keep it flamingo-friendly with pink lemonade and grapefruit cocktails, fuchsia linen, dreamy bubblegum-pink balloons, and custom themed cupcakes. Find a planner and décor team for your perfect “Flamingle” on PartySlate.
See Full Events from FLAMINGLE Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Grapefruit Cocktails: Vizcaya Blush Pink Wedding | photo courtesy of: Guerdy Design
Floral Flamingo: Tropical Flamingo Wedding | photographer: Jessica Bordner Photography
Cupcakes & Invitation: Palm Beach Chic Birthday | photographer: Shannon Olesak, Charleston, SC
Pink Tablescape: Pink Dreams Bat Mitzvah Celebration | photographer: Wazzan Photography
Balloons: Luxe Pink-Themed Bat Mitzvah Party | photographer: Jan Birch Photography
7. Coastal Celebration
This is the elegant beach party you’ve always wanted to attend. It’s Charleston-chic paired with luxe Hamptons-style, sporting an elevated island vibe for a dreamy dinner that’ll have you toasting coconut cocktails. Light your coastal celebration with unique Edison torches or string lights and seat guests with natural oyster or leaf place cards.
See Full Events from COASTAL CELEBRATION Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Floral Garland Table & Coconuts & Place Setting: Intimate Tropical Wedding | photographer: Sylvia Guardia
Beach Table & Wood Menu: Intimate Beach Wedding | photographer: That First Moment
Beach Scene & Edison Torches: Mayan Ceremony Dinner Party | photographer: Modern Fotographic by Dave Noonan
8. Citrus Summer
Nature has gifted us will all of the color and flavor we need for a fabulous fête. Citrus, with its sunrise hues, offers the bright promise of a wonderful new day — and party. Wow your guests with lemon and lime-infused sips and greenery décor accented by fresh oranges and pink grapefruit. Then give them a tart send-off with lemon-merengue pie or citrus macarons.
See Full Events from CITRUS SUMMER Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Menu & Macarons: Sweet Citrus Wedding | photographer: Amy & Jordan Photography
Place Setting: Bridal Shower Picnic | photo courtesy of: Sharp Occasions
Colorful Fare: Outdoor Birthday Celebration | photographer: Kalinin Photography
Citrus Tree Tablescape: Lunch in Capri | photographer: Kent Drake Photography
Cocktail: Darling Tented Wedding | photographer: Jose Villa Photography
9. Classic Camp
What says summer more than “camp”? Swap out the musty cabins and mosquitos for cozy personal tents, elegant wood serving trays, canoes floating florals, and ice-cold cocktails in metal mugs. Add a few lanterns, hammocks, and an outdoor movie showing of a classic like “Moonrise Kingdom” or “Indian Summer,” and your guests will never want to leave.
See Full Events from CLASSIC CAMP Inspo Board: (mid-left image, clockwise)
Cocktails: Camping-Themed Venue Showcase | photographers: Briana Marie Photography & Colson Griffith Photography
Conical Tent & Succulents: Camp Kilroy Corporate Summer Party | photo courtesy of: We Crush Events
Moose Décor & Bar Sign: Rustic Camp-Themed Bar Mitzvah | photographer: André Maier Photography
Canoe Floating Florals: Sweetest Spring Wedding | photographer: Judy Pak Photography
Circle of Personal Tents: Mason’s Fish Camp Birthday Party | photographer: Andreas & Nico
10. Luxe Lakeside
Summer nights were meant to be spent lakeside — but make it luxe. Combine lighting to dreamy effect: glittering string lights, rattan lanterns swaying in the breeze, and too many candles to count. Don’t forget summer-fresh fare and cocktails bright with citrus (and coordinated oar stirrers, of course).
See Full Events from LUXE LAKESIDE Inspo Board: (mid-left image, clockwise)
Florals & Pampas Grass: Stunning & Aspirational Wedding Dinner | photographer: Anée Atelier
Lounge Area: Bright Lakeside Wedding, New York | photographer: Taylor Abeel Photography
King’s Table with Lanterns: Romantic Lantern-Lit Wedding, Illinois | photographer: Jacqui Cole Photography
Colorful Boats: Fall-Hued Lakeshore Bar Mitzvah, New York | photographer: Afrik Armando
Cocktails with Oar Stirrers: Charming Welcome Dinner, Georgia | photographer: Brian Leahy Photography
Tent with Rattan Lighting: Boho Chic Outdoor Wedding, Vermont | photographer: Hannah Weddings
Table Setting: Fresh & Colorful Rehearsal Dinner | photographer: Lauren Fair Photography
11. Rosé All Day
Rosé is a party in a bottle. Run with that fancy-yet-boozy theme with pastel lawn games, chic pink spots for lounging, and petite desserts that can either be eaten with a pinky delicately raised or tossed back in a single gulp (depending on how many rosés you’ve had). Gather blush inspiration for your summer party theme on PartySlate.
See Full Events from ROSÉ ALL DAY Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Servers & Pink Jenga Game: Veuve Clicot Polo Classic | photographer: Getty Images
Floral-Filled Tablescape: Rosé-Inspired Birthday Party | photographer: Carrie McGuire Photography
Ice Bucket-Vibe Birthday Cake & Neon Sign: Rosé All Day Birthday Party | photo courtesy of: Elite OC Productions
“Summer Water” Bar: Summer Rosé Soirée | photographer: Corey Baker Photography
12. Red, White & Blue BBQ
It doesn’t need to be July 4th to celebrate summer in patriotic style. Red is a campfire on a warm summer night, white are those gooey marshmallows you’re about to toast, and blue is that cloudless summer sky. Make it an elegant affair with china filled with berries, or make it a backyard BBQ with eats from your favorite caterer.
See Full Events from RED, WHITE & BLUE BBQ Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Circus-Style Tent: 4th of July Celebration | photo courtesy of: Art of Eating Catering
Place Setting & Layered Cocktails & Bottles: Style Me Pretty’s 4th of July Party | photographer: Steve Steinhardt Photography
Watermelon Dish: Summer Off-the-Menu Club Summer BBQ | photo courtesy of: The FareTrade
Sno-Cones: Fourth of July Soirée | photographer: Brittany Bekas Photography
Flag Cookies: Patriotic-Themed 75th Birthday | photo courtesy of: Hollywood POP Gallery
13. Seafood Soirée
To bib or not to bib, that is the question. One thing is for sure, a seafood-themed party makes for delicious fare, and a crackin’ good time. Host a lobster boil or a crab roast; and gather salty summer sea inspiration like lemons as place cards, bouys as décor, and camper trailers as luxe bars.
See Full Events from SEAFOOD SOIRÉE Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Oysters on Grill: JazzFest-Inspired Crawfish Boil | photographer: Xistence Photography
Lobster Rolls & Signage: Hamptons Summer Party | photographer: Natalie Probst Photography
Tabled Lobster: Corporate Lobster Boil | photographer: Jeff Marini
Place Setting & Mobile Sidecar Bar: Lobster Boil Birthday Party | photographer: Mike Cassimatis Photography
Buoy Décor: End-of-Summer Lobster Boil: “The Maine Event” | photographer: Action Cinema
Wood Fish Napkin Holder: Southern Oyster Roast | photographer: gerber + scarpelli photography
14. Cabana Glam
This isn’t your average pool party — think luxe cabanas, craft cocktails galore, and floating colorful florals. Infuse your glamorous gathering with lots of gold details and consider unique entertainment ideas like synchronized swimmers to ensure that your guests have a swimmingly good time.
See Full Events from CABANA GLAM Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Pink Florals: Gorgeous Poolside Girl’s Night | photographer: Camille Catherine Photography
Chic Cabanas: Cabana Glam Wedding Shower | photographer: Sanaz Photography
Pool Floating Florals: Exquisite Outdoor Montecito Birthday | photographer: Sheri Whitko Photography
Poolside Cabana: Glamorous Floral-Filled Wedding| photographer: Callaway Gable
Pink Cocktail: Poolside Dinner | photographer: Darren Bradley Photography
Synchronized Swimmers: Vibrant & Tropical Birthday Party | photographer: Studio Cabrelli
15. Desert Modern
Hot sand plus cool cocktails equal a stylish desert bash that’ll have your guests thinking the whole glam thing is a chic mirage. Channel the vivid colors of Morocco with overlapping carpets, swanky lanterns, and exotic fare. Gather modern arid inspiration from brass décor and strings entertainment.
See Full Events from DESERT MODERN Inspo Board: (upper left, clockwise)
Place Setting: Boho Desert Wedding | photographer: Rebecca Skidgel Photography
Dining Alongside Rocks & Spice Tray: Moroccan-Inspired Wedding | photographer: Gideon Photography
Desert-Set Cabana: Nautical & Worldly Wedding | photographer: Miki and Sonja Photography
Cactus: Desert Romance | photographer: Silver Bear Creative
Brass Table Décor: 1960s Inspired Anniversary Party | photographer: Scott Clark Photo
Entertainment Duo: Boho Glam Desert Elopement | photographer: Britany Maxwell
People Also Ask…
What theme is best for a summer party?
After looking at thousands of images from the most creative events in the world, we’ve realized a universal truth: A meaningful and fun party theme can be built around anything you love, from your favorite food or music to your most beloved store or locale.
Don’t believe us? See this Fyre Festival-themed birthday party, this Beyoncé-themed kids party, this Anthropologie-inspired wedding, or this watermelon-infused party. It’s the details that make the difference — from the on-theme décor and lighting to the food you serve.
How can I get started planning my summer party?
And don’t forget to save all of your favorite images, events, and vendors to your party “slate” by clicking the heart button when you see something you like.