OK, for those of us who live in the Phoenix area, summer is not really the time to be outdoors. 115-degree days aren't the most hospitable for parties al fresco, but we can't hole up for four months straight! Summer is time for backyard barbecues, grilling, and sitting by the pool. If we can just stay IN the pool for most of the soiree, we'll be fine. Keep cool and deck your house inside and out with festive paper lanterns. They are simple, inexpensive, and look great with any type of decor, from contemporary to cottage.
Use white for a more formal affair, and have candlelight glowing wherever possible. The sparkle from the candles' glow bouncing off of glassware and silver may be enough, so you won't have to light the lanterns from within. If your event is all outdoors, but battery-operated lights and string them inside the lanterns for a lovely glow.
Or, if you have a certain color scheme you'd like to try, go bold with your lantern color choice! This is the time to get creative and not worry about right or wrong. For a more dramatic look, go monochromatic with your lanterns, linens, floral, and favors. This gorgeous photo from Martha Stewart Weddings is an oldie but a goodie:
This look would work just as well on a wooden picnic table as it does on a formally set banquet table. Eliminate the multitude of martini glasses, and provide cold bottles of beer and soda (Red Stripe and Coke would go perfectly with the theme!), and you've got yourself an elegant shindig. Strawberry shortcake for everyone!
With all that Life has to offer,