Recipes for this story
Summer Mushroom Salad
Grilled Lemon-Glazed Chicken with Baby Bok Choy and Cilantro-Lemon Rice
Lemon Cake with Lemon Meringue Buttercream Frosting
Menu and recipes by Hail Mary Food of Grace
Photographs by Karyn Millet
Written and produced by Krissa Rossbund
Looking for inspiration for an outdoor summer party, entertaining maven Rachel Hollis recalled the lemonade stands of her childhood. The cheerful lemon yellow of that youthful memory became the vision for her party setting, combining happily with a pretty blue-and-white foundation.
Reinforcing her thoughts of a lemon-themed party, Hollis explains, “Today, -people often use produce as well as flowers on a table. It’s fun to have that option and to mix the bright colors that both have to offer. Lemons are an apt symbol of the carefree days of summer.”
Although the yellow scheme prevails, Hollis exchanged the idea of using lemons in the centerpiece for mixed bunches of tulips, roses, and freesia that were fastened to a piece of driftwood—her allusion to happy times at the beach. The floral yellows zestfully mix with blue-and-white tableware and accessories for a pleasing palette that incorporates crisp white porcelain dinner plates enhanced with cobalt blue rims that are patterned with concentric circles of raised white dots.
To anchor her place settings, Hollis uses an embroidered linen runner with blue designs on a white ground, coordinating napkins, and textural round rattan placemats. A simple straight pin secures an individual placecard to a real lemon at each guest’s place at the table. Pillows cushioning the white wicker chairs buzz with streaky embroidered blue circles.
The menu returns to the real-lemon theme with citrus elements that provide zesty but not overpowering flavors, including a mushroom salad with lemon vinaigrette, grilled lemon-glazed chicken, lemon cake, and a selection of lemon-enhanced beverages. “Summer puts people in good spirits,” Hollis says. “This is the time to pick a theme that is laid-back and cheerfully chic.”