This year we teamed up with Lowe’s to throw an early Father’s Day lawn party for our friends and family. Today I’ll share the nitty-gritty details, all the pretty pictures, and (hopefully) inspire you to pull together a few last minute DIYs for this weekend’s Father’s Day celebrations. Read on to find out what we did, and download everything you’ll need to throw a party of your own.
(If you’re more of a skimmer than a reader, don’t forget to scroll to the very bottom of the post for a link to a free PDF file with all the checklists and resources you’ll need to throw this exact party)
Every great party has a theme, but we didn’t want to just stop at “Father’s Day”. We wanted to embrace the beautiful early summer season and encourage laid back interaction. We settled on a rustic outdoor picnic theme, with an emphasis on lawn sports. We drew on some Scandinavian influences (we’re in Minnesota, after all), with a healthy dose of ‘summer camp nostalgia’ mixed in.
Here’s the mood board we put together last week (read our planning post here):
And here’s our Pinterest board for the party:
Decor & Serving
With our theme intact, we centered the decor on the masculine aesthetics of blue-and-white plaid and wood grain. We picked up a bunch of beige canvas drop-cloths from Lowe’s to serve as picnic blankets and added in some simple succulents potted in empty quart-sized paint cans.
- Blue-and-plaid tablecloths
- Wooden lanterns
- Empty quart-sized paint cans (for succulents)
- Bamboo Utensils
- Squeeze Bottles
- Food Baskets
- Deli liners (for food baskets)
- Birch bark pattern straws
- Paper Snack, Sandwich & Chip Bags
- Washi tape for chip bags
- Salad serving jars
- Flour sack towels
- Jelly Jars (to use as cups)
- Beverage tag template (PDF below) and twine to tie them on
- Wood grain paper pattern (PDF below)
- Weber Genesis E-310 Espresso grill
Menu & Beverages
We kept our menu very simple. Almost everything could be prepped in advance, which left only some easy grilling during the party. A gourmet hot dog bar is an affordable, interesting and fun way to feed a lot of folks. We used these five recipes from Nobel Pig (the overwhelming favorite was the Bahn Mi dog – sooooo good).
In addition to the gourmet hot dog bar, we served two simple sides: a superfood salad and potato salad. We also bagged our kettle potato chips in paper sandwich bags, which made them easy to grab and go.
Our beverages were as simple as our hotdogs. We served wine and craft beer in a wagon, and offered sparkling water and lemonade to the young ones (and the pregnant ones – because, at the moment, nearly all of our friends happen to be pregnant).
Dessert consisted of homemade ice cream: sea salt caramel, vanilla, and bourbon, and fresh-baked cookies. There were no complaints, and no leftovers.
- Gourmet Hot Dogs Five Ways (recipe)
- Potato Salad (recipe)
- Sea salt kettle chips (Amazon)
- Superfood salad (recipe)
- Assorted craft beer and wine
- Lemonade and sparkling water
- Homemade bourbon ice cream (recipe)
- Ice cream maker (Lowe’s)
- Chocolate chip cookies (NYT recipe, my favorite!)
The Games + DIYs
We invited a mix of close friends and family to this party, so we wanted to encourage mingling. Lawn games were an obvious choice.
We offered a handful of games: bocce, ladder ball golf, lawn Bananagrams, and a giant Jenga game. The latter two we DIYed, and they were by far the most popular.
For the Giant Jenga game, we simply cut several 2x4s into forty-eight 10.5″ pieces, sanded them, and put them in a Jenga stack. We followed this tutorial to create our game, and it was a favorite.
Our Giant Jenga game was fun, but our lawn version of Bananagrams was the crowd favorite. The normal version of the game is fun because of its crossword-like characteristics. The lawn version has the same crossword charm, plus a ton of crazed running and yelling. Highly recommended.
To create our lawn Bananagrams we stenciled letters onto 8×8 inch squares of hardboard that we cut from two 4×8 foot sheets. Here’s a great how-to that includes all the information about the number of letters you need. For the complete rules, head to the Bananagrams site.
Since we had a number of children at our party, we wanted to make sure there were some activities to keep them occupied (so dads could relax and enjoy). We created a giant teepee using PVC piping (6 – 10 foot tubes), a giant 12×9 foot canvas drop cloth, and colorful rope. The kids loved having their own nook, and it got pretty crowded in there.
We also got a bunch of bubble wands from the dollar section at our grocery store for the kids to play with. Adults couldn’t resist though:
- DIY Bananagrams tutorial (although I suggest hardboard instead of 3/8″ plywood)
- Stencils (for the Bananagram letters)
- DIY Giant Jenga tutorial
- Bocce Ball Set
- Ladderball Golf Set
- DIY Teepee tutorial
No party is complete without favors, and we decided to send our dads off with paint cans full of manly goodies.
Here’s what we included:
- A Farmer’s Almanac
- A heavy-duty grill mitt
- Ratcheting screwdriver
- Whisky stones
- Cologne samples
- The most clever key chain bottle opener ever
- This amazing soap
- Grapefruit and lemon bitters
We packaged the goods in empty paint cans, and created vintage-inspired labels to adorn them. They were a big hit. Here’s what you need to package up the gift baskets:
- Empty paint cans
- Apothecary bottles (for bitters samples)
- Full-sheet labels
- Cellophane bags for whisky stones and cologne samples
- Shredded paper filler
- Wood grain background (PDF below)
- Gift bag labels template (PDF below)
- Bitters labels template (PDF below)
- Whisky stones labels template (PDF below)
Below is a download of all the label templates in PDF format (and included as *.studio files for those of you with a Silhouette), as well as printable checklists to keep your party stress-free and on-track:
In the end, our Father’s Day lawn party was simple, low-key, and a lot of fun … I hope yours will be too. Let me know what you’ve got planned for Father’s Day in the comments!
Thanks to Lowe’s for sponsoring this post. All opinions are mine alone.