Midsummer Party Ideas: Fun Ways To Celebrate The Summer Solstice

People Dancing In A Yard Under Hanging Lights
summer party
(Image credit: gorodenkoff)

Summer solstice marks the longest day of the year and is celebrated by various cultures around the world. You, too, can celebrate the summer solstice by throwing a summer solstice garden party! Social media is full of ideas for a summer solstice party, but to get you started planning here with some of our favorite midsummer party ideas.

What is a Summer Solstice Party?

There are party-goers and party givers. If you fall into the latter camp, hosting a summer solstice garden party is right up your alley. And you will be in good company since the holiday is celebrated with different traditions all over the world, from sunrise at Stonehenge to Swedish flower crowns and maypoles.

The word ‘solstice’ is derived from the Latin words ‘sol,’ meaning sun, and ‘sister,’ which means to stand. Solstice actually happens twice a year, summer and winter and the nomenclature indicate it is a time when the sun is standing.

What summer solstice means to you and your guests is that it is the day when the sun lingers longest and the night is the shortest of the year. This will give party goers ample time to enjoy the outdoor revelry you have planned.

How to Host a Summer Solstice Party

Because so many other cultures celebrate the summer solstice, you can do a little research and incorporate some of their midsummer party ideas into your celebration. 

Throwing a summer garden party speaks to the nature of the holiday. Summer solstice is all about celebrating nature and the sun, which dictates the rhythms of the natural world. If you don’t have a garden, anywhere outside is a great place to celebrate. A public park or even the rooftop of an apartment building can become alternate venue ideas for a summer solstice party. The key is to take advantage of all that extra sunshine and evening light.

Of course, you will need to send out invitations, either via snail mail or online. Personalize the cards with an image of the sun, the guest of honor, or natural outdoor scene. Include the venue address, time, and requested attire if desired. Traditionally, white attire is the dress of choice for a summer solstice garden party.

Since you will be outside, it is a good idea to provide seating. This might be in the form of a decorated table or, for a more casual vibe, throw cushions and blankets on the ground. It really depends on how formal you wish to be.

Provide alternate mood lighting. Although the sun will be up longer than usual, the party might still be in full swing when it sets. Scatter the party area with hanging party lights, votives and candles, or mini tea lights. Stuff empty wine bottles or mason jars with tiny twinkling lights.

Additional Midsummer Party Ideas

Once you have figured the lighting out, tackle the décor. Midsummer is a celebration of nature, so go all out incorporating greenery. This might mean strategically placing potted plants or vases of flowers or making topiary balls or garlands. You might even want to hang tree boughs wrapped with lights over the dining area.

A popular tradition for midsummer is to weave flowers into crowns or small wreaths. This is a great interactive craft for guests to enjoy, one that lets them have a little party favor of their own to take home. You can use real flowers, silk or synthetic blooms or even paper flowers.

Decide if you are doing a sit-down dinner or just appetizers and then settle on a menu. Give some thought into how much you want to spend, since this may dictate the menu. When it comes to the menu, think fresh. After all, this is a celebration of summer when the freshest produce is at its peak, so use fresh veggies, fruits and herbs from the garden when you can.

Also, are you going to use real china and cutlery or disposable? How about beverages? Maybe choose a midsummer cocktail that can be prepared ahead of time and put into pitchers; that way no one has to play bartender all night. Be sure to include some nonalcoholic beverages as well.

End the evening with some festive sparklers or environmentally friendly Japanese sky lanterns. Oh, and don’t forget the music! Prepare a play list in advance to set the mood.

Amy Grant

Amy Grant has been gardening for 30 years and writing for 15. A professional chef and caterer, Amy's area of expertise is culinary gardening.