In case you didn't realize it, the summer solstice is fast approaching—it's this Thursday, June 21—and it not only marks the first official day of summer, but it's also the longest day of the year here in the northern hemisphere. You may be familiar with the fact that some people choose to throw a summer solstice party to celebrate the change in seasons, but first, you need to learn a little bit more about the "why" and "how" before we get into specifics. The word "solstice" originates from two Latin words: "sol", which means "sun" and "sister", translating to "to stand". Basically, this twice-yearly event means it's the time when the sun is standing.
The holiday is celebrated with different traditions all over the world: The British flock to the monument at Stonehenge to watch the sunrise, concertgoers in Iceland celebrate by heading to Reykjavik for a four-day music festival, and the Swedes celebrate midsummer with flower crowns and dancing around a maypole. So when it comes to throwing the best type of summer solstice party, why not incorporate elements of these traditions for a fete that's totally you? Keep reading to see how to be the ultimate summer solstice host.
Choose the perfect outdoor spot
The summer solstice is all about celebrating nature, the longest day of the year, and honoring the sun. Choose an outdoor spot that can accommodate a large group—a backyard or patio is ideal, but a rooftop will work in more urban settings. The more natural feel to your gathering spot, the better: Choose to set a dinner table underneath gorgeous greenery and foliage or fake the look with some potted arrangements.
Send out sun-themed invites
Is there anything sweeter or more on-theme than simple notecards stamped with a sun icon? Summer is a busy time of year, so get your invites out sooner than later (if that means using an e-vite this year, opt for a nature-inspired background). When it comes to a dress code for a slightly more formal affair, you can suggest all-white attire, as it's worn in some of these traditional celebrations and represents purity (this is believed to be a time of spiritual renewal).
Set the mood
As an ode to the sun, light up your space. Start by hanging string lights to set the mood and by scattering candlesticks and mini tea lights on tables and in groupings in the corners of your space. Clusters of potted plants add foliage where there may not be any naturally, and garlands of greens are the perfect dinner table runner. The day should be more go with the flow, so set a boho atmosphere by scattering throw pillows and blankets as comfy outdoor seating.
Craft a DIY flower bar
One popular midsummer tradition is that people pick flowers and craft wreaths that they place atop a maypole. You can honor Mother Nature by setting out fresh flowers and greenery that guests can weave into flower crowns or mini wreaths—choose an assortment of blooms in all colors and varietals to make arranging a more creative process. We like that this option also means everyone will take home a party favor.
Cue up a fun playlist
Many of the celebrations around the world rely on music and dancing to celebrate the bounty of summer. (Remember how we said that they celebrate with a massive music festival in Iceland?). By curating a chill playlist, you'll be encouraging your guests to mingle, dance, and stay awhile.
Serve solstice-inspired treats
Whip up sparkling and fruity drinks like a tequila sunrise or a cherry hibiscus vodka spritz that you can prep ahead of time in pitchers. The vodka spritz celebrates seasonal produce with mashed fresh cherries and dried hibiscus flowers for a perfect floral garnish. As for bites, keep it simple with traditional tiny toasts, savory and sweet breads, and pizza with seasonal toppings like fresh peaches, pineapple, and heirloom tomatoes.
Lead a sun-gazing ritual
We like the idea of adding a mystical tradition to your party. While the sun is still in view, lead your guests through a sun-gazing ritual. Healer/seeress/Reiki master Deborah Hanekamp of Mama Medicine explains how to do it: "This is one of my favorite rituals for cultivating energy. Stare into the rising or setting sun for 30 seconds, and then close your eyes, and when you are ready, repeat."
Light up the night with sparklers
At every get-together, there's always the main attraction. Since summer solstice traditions call for everything from fireworks to bonfires, why not hand out sparklers to light in celebration of the longest day of light? It will mark a gorgeous end to an evening with friends and will create an Instagram-worthy backdrop too (we just had to mention it).
Now that you have these tips for throwing a summer solstice party, there's still time to host this year (your friends will thank you).