Hosting Tips

A Beachy Memorial Day Dinner Party

By Camille Styles
the prettiest summer dinner table

The countdown to summer has begun, and I consider Memorial Day weekend to be the official kickoff. This year, since my birthday happens to fall the day after, we’re inviting friends for a dinner party on the back patio with food coming straight off the grill and a “bare feet required” dress code. When our friends at McCormick asked us to team up with them to create a flavor-packed Memorial Day fête, we jumped at the chance to have a practice round. I bet that I’ll be whipping up this menu of Hawaiian Smashed Sliders, Mango & Jicama Salad, and Grilled Sweet Potato Wedges again during the holiday weekend — all washed down with those Banana Coconut Rum Slushies, of course. And no matter if you are a new or experienced griller, check out McCormick’s website for new grilling flavor trends, trips and techniques this Summer! Keep scrolling to see how it all came together, starting with the dreamiest beach-inspired table centerpiece.

photography by Ashleigh Amoroso

We set a table for 6 by the fireplace, and looked to a cooling palette of blue, grey, cream and brown to inform all our decor decisions.

Though no two place settings were alike, they were all coordinated in color and tone. These marble dinner plates made more than one appearance, and when paired with more earthy salad and snack plates, created a true “wow” factor.

These napkins are our latest obsession — they feel all-at-once mediterranean and tribal, and they perfectly complemented the look of this table. Instead of pristinely folding each one, we casually bunched and tied them, then set them asymmetrically at the place settings.

Now for that centerpiece…

Isn’t it awesome?! Chanel wanted to think up a clever way to make this table stand out, and when the image of a coconut came to mind, she decided to use the fruit to fill the entire table. She broke some coconuts open but left most of them whole, then arranged them directly on the table alongside coral, sea shells, and a few carefully places flowers for a super dense arrangement.

When in doubt, candles are always a good idea.

These burgers were total crowd-pleasers. I brushed the slider patties with Grill Mates Hawaiian Woodfire Grill Marinade before smashing them into a screaming hot cast iron skillet on the grill.

Usually Adam takes on grill duties at our house, so I have to admit that I was proud of myself for playing grill master on this menu! #GirlsWhoGrill

Adam did teach me this one little grilling secret: by smashing the burgers flat against the skillet, it allows the surface area of the meat to become caramelized, yielding more of that crispy charred flavor that everyone loves.

Click here to get the recipe for our Hawaiian smashed burgers!

Y’all know I’m a sweet potato fanatic, and these are healthier and equally-delicious alternative to fries.

Click here to get the recipe for our grilled sweet potato wedges!

During the hot summer months, I love the cooling flavors of jicama and cucumber, and they’re so satisfying in this crunchy-meets-creamy (thanks to the avocado) salad infused with great spicy flavor, thanks to a liberal sprinkle of McCormick Perfect Pinch Mexican Seasoning.

Click here to get the recipe for our jicama mango chopped salad!

Of course, an al fresco dinner party wouldn’t be complete without summery cocktails. Bonus points if they’re slushy.

These Banana Coconut Rum Slushies are a taste of the tropics in a glass. We’re talking major vacation vibes, people, and those cute skewered garnishes with pineapple and coconut just scream party.

Click here to get the recipe for our coconut rum slushy!

We served everything family-style on big platters spread around the table, which is not only more fun — it makes things easier on the hostess, too.

This salad was a crowd favorite, and I have a feeling it’ll be on repeat at our house all summer long.

Jenn Rose samples (and approves) everything on her plate.

How are y’all planning to celebrate Memorial Day weekend this year? Whether you’ll be grilling, boating, swimming, or simply chilling, here’s to a delicious and sunshine-filled summer ahead!