Whether it’s an al fresco dinner party or a weekend at a friend’s beach house, summer is filled with all kinds of fun invitations. No matter where you’re headed, one thing’s for sure: you should definitely show up bearing some sort of gift. But what to bring? This depends on the host and his or her preferences, but my general rule of thumb is to avoid candles and wine. Don’t get me wrong: I love both of those things (the latter one, especially), but I like to get a little more creative than that. I love to gift entertaining essentials they can use for future get-togethers like this pitcher (under $25) or a set of these tin plates. But for something a little more out-of-the-box, I love to go with a game. It’s a sure-thing – whether your hostess is a card shark or not. (Bonus: it also makes for a fun post-dinner activity for the group!)
What “game” specifically? Well, that’s up to you. One of my favorites of late has been the playing cards from Peep’s. LouLou Baker is such a talented artist and her whimsical illustrations are such fun. You can choose from several ready-to-buy decks that would totally work for a certain theme – including Nantucket and, my favorite, a safari deck we took with us on our trip to Africa. In the alternative, you can opt for something totally custom. Give Loulou the details and she’ll whip up something totally perfect. (Side note for all brides: these make great additions to a welcome box for your guests! Check out the options on Over the Moon.) Another fab custom option is a backgammon board from Nine Fair’s Jessica Griffith. Each of the handmade boards is lined with woven raffia and painted by Griffith herself. These boards are even more beautiful in person. (I’ve ordered several!) They take five weeks to make but are well worth the wait.
For a fast fix, I love the options from Fredericks & Mae. They have a fun bocce ball set or, for something more budget-friendly, there’s the wooden dominoes. Something like this croquet set could be fun for a weekend away. Another great go-to for something quick is the selection at Uncommon Goods. They have a great mix of dinner party games along with puzzles that would turn into weekend-long activities.
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