Throw a Classic Coastal Dinner Party

You know you’re at a classic coastal dinner party when the entire evening appears deceptively effortless. Classic aesthetics ignore flash and trend and rely instead on tried and true traditions, but don’t confuse simplicity with ease. The classically chic hostess or host is faced with the rather daunting challenge of making the night feel seamless.

While there are as many variations on the classic dinner party as there are hosts and hostesses, here are some of our favorite ideas to help inspire your perfect summer soiree.

A beautiful night begins with a beautiful space.

Keep it simple. A rustic table and tailored, upholstered chairs create an inviting atmosphere. 

white coastal kitchen
Image via Redesign Revolution

Or, if weather permits, take the festivities outside. White lights under a starry sky will never get old.

beach dining
Image via

While the right location sets you up for success, it’s the details that seal the deal.

These coastal napkin rings add the perfect nautical touch to the table.

coastal napkin rings
Coastal Napkin Rings from Cottage & Bungalow

We love Better Home and Garden’s simple flower display.

flowers in wine bottles
Image via Better Homes and Gardens

If there’s only one detail you have time to attend to, make it the lighting. Nothing sets the mood like the welcoming flicker of candle lights

candle lit dock
Image via SwoonWorthy

Give each dish you prepare the respect it deserves by presenting it on truly special serving ware.

nautical serving ware
Coastal Knife and Tray Set from Cottage & Bungalow

Of course, no post about throwing a classic coastal dinner party is complete without addressing the menu.

Start the evening off right with Martha Stewart’s shrimp cocktail with three sauces recipe. It’s three times the fun!

shrimp cocktail
Image via Martha Stewart

Put a fresh spin on a traditional dish with these crab cake sliders from My Recipes.

crab cake sliders
Image via My Recipes

End the night strong by serving your guests one of Coastal Living’s favorite summer desserts: blackberry ice cream. 

summer dessert
Image via Coastal Living

Is your signature style classic chic? Take our new style quiz and find out!

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