Event designer Megan Chytraus of Perfect Statement proves a sensational summer party doesn’t have to be about intense planning or deep-pocket spending. Instead, she suggests creating a simple and fun theme and then piling on some scene-setting tricks. Here, she stages a vibrant fiesta and shares ideas so you can do it too.

Develop a theme

A theme fosters a cohesive design, says Chytraus. “You need to hone in on one idea and take it to the top level,” she explains. After deciding on a lively summer fiesta, the event designer had a clear vision that drove her choice of the colors, motifs and accents she included. “This is the perfect theme for a fun summer party, and it allowed us to throw out the rules as we went overboard with bright colors and mixed-up patterns.”

Go beyond blooms

Chytraus teamed with Sax Romney florist Ed Kubicek to create surprising arrangements teaming bright summer blooms with fresh-from-the-market peppers and a mix of cacti and succulents. For the tallest of his arrangements, Kubicek filled glass vases with large red peppers and crowned them with water-soaked floral foam from which prickly pear cacti pads mix with colorful dahlias, aster, thistle, lilies, roses and others. “We bought a big bucket of prickly pear at Rancho Market,” Chytraus explains. Kubicek also “planted” a variety of small wood boxes with little rabbit ear cacti, echinocactus, assorted pint-sized succulents and vibrant short-stemmed blooms.

This is the perfect theme for a fun summer party.”

—Megan Chytraus

Do yourself (and others) a favor


Chystraus and Kubicek used empty, Mexican-style tomato sauce cans as tiny planters for miniature cacti and succulents. These playful arrangements amped-up the table settings and doubled as fun party favors that guests could take home at the end of the evening.

Take it outside

Unbreakable glassware and dishes are naturals for summer outdoor parties. Chystraus formed the festive place settings with a mix of patterned melamine plates and plastic tumblers that made the compositions colorful and carefree. She rejected a tablecloth and, instead, chose a wood- topped table to foster the setting’s casual vibe and anchor the riotous mix of elements with a solid, warm-toned wood surface.

Pile on the details

Chystraus elevated the style and fun-factor of the party with smile-making details at every turn. She  staged mini bottles of Tabasco Sauce across the table top, accented settings with personalized place cards, hung streamers and bunches of paper flowers on walls and peppered the scene with, you guessed it, fresh peppers. Chystraus shopped Mexican markets, local nurseries, Pier 1, World Market and other spots for fiesta-style summertime accents. “They are so easy to find this time of year,” she says. Small votive candles sparkled in the soft light, while colorfully striped blankets and lightweight garden stools enabled guests to move to the lawn and lounge during the balmy evening.

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Brad Mee
Brad Mee is the Editor-in-Chief of Utah Style & Design Magazine.