Outdoor Entertaining Made Easy

As the weather heats up, entertaining moves to the backyard. Entertaining outdoors doesn’t have to be complex or over-the-top. Keep it simple with an easy food menu and table settings.

Here are 12 Tips to Make Outdoor Entertaining Easy:

1. Skip the Good China: Use melamine plates, silverware, and glasses because they are heavier than paper goods and won’t blow away in the wind. Bed Bath and Beyond, Pottery Barn, Williams Sonoma, Frontage, and Horchow have some beautiful options to choose from.

melamine dinnerware

(Image via Frontgate)

2. Serving Bowls & Trays: Decorative melamine serving trays are great to put all the cooked burgers and hotdogs on for guests to grab. I also like to prep a tray with extra dinnerware and napkins just in case. Serving bowls can be used for all salads, snacks, and even fruit for dessert.

3. Skip the Table Cloth: Instead of using a table cloth, use vinyl placemats instead to complete the look of your table setting. Vinyl placemats are easy to clean/wipe down too!

4. Provide Shade: Protect your guests from the sun with an umbrella or canopy. Not only do umbrellas shelter your guest with shade from the hot sun but it defines your dining area.

outdoor umbrella

(Photo via Trendir)

5. Create Stations: I like to create “stations” for guests with tables designated for serving food and drinks with all the necessary supplies and tools. It’s a “Do it Yourself” service for the guest but it takes pressure off you in the kitchen when your trying to do a million things and plate food for guests. This technique works great for BBQ’s and large gatherings.

6. Keep Food Covered and Drinks Cold:  If keeping drinks outside, keep them cold in a cooler or chilled in an ice bucket. Cover food using a mesh colander to protect food from outdoor pests.

7. Beverage Dispensers: At your drink station, set up pitchers or beverage dispensers for guests to refill their drinks. I loved infused waters. It is so refreshing on a hot summer day. I grow mint in the backyard, so I like to add fresh mint to my water – Delish! Here is an entire list of infused waters that you can try.

8. Divided plates: I like serving platters that are divided into sections. It’s perfect for serving veggies or fruit.

9. Outdoor Centerpiece: Create an outdoor centerpiece for your table. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. It could be as simple as a few mason jars gathered together with flowers inside and a burlap bow around the top of the jar. For more outdoor centerpieces, check back next Tuesday on the blog for more ideas.

outdoor centerpiece

(Photo via Style Me Pretty)

10. Outdoor Lighting: When the sun goes down, illuminate your seating areas with paper lanterns or candles for ambiance. I like to add a strand of lights underneath an umbrella or hang on the fence.

11. Bug Repellant: Protect your guests from getting bug bites with citronella candles and other bug repellent. I love this DIY citronella candle idea that I found on Pinterest.

12. Prep the Night Before: I always prepare the night before. All the foods that can be made and sliced ahead of time and get out of the way. For example, making pasta salads, potato salads, veggie platters with dip, and infused drinks like Sangria. Being prepared a day ahead makes your entertaining much easier. This way you get to spend less time in the kitchen and more time with friends and family.

I hope you have enjoyed these tips and styling ideas. If you loved this post, share it with your friends! 🙂 Happy summer!

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