entertaining al fresco

i love this time of year when the pool cover comes off, the flowers come out and the grill is fired up. i love, and i mean love dining outside. the food is lighter and more casual; the colors are vibrant; the noise, the breeze, the sun – i could go on and on.

in thinking about several occasions where i’ll be entertaining outside this spring and summer, i thought i’d share some of the things i’ve been pinning and some tips as you think about entertaining al fresco this year.

1. plan a menu. choose foods that are light, easy to put together and made in larger quantities. pick up a few pretty bowls for the summer – i like colored bowls versus clear for things like salad because once the contents get all over the side that glass doesn’t look so pretty anymore.

2. save that clear glass for beverages and vases. when it comes to drinking glasses, have a variety of heights – it will make your table glitter. for example, if you are serving brunch, have short juice glasses and tall champagne flutes. for vases, mix and match your glass and choose translucent colors in the palette you’ve selected. this is a good place to see through the glass, drinks and flowers. the stems of the flowers add texture to your table.

3. choose a runner in your palette or that complements. if you can’t fit a runner or table cloth because you are like me and have a round table with an umbrella that goes right through the middle, use placemats that give the same effect (in your palette or complements). also, keep your flowers low so you can have conversation without having to duck around an obstruction.

4. string large bulb lights for ambiance. go for the large bulbs, this is key, so it doesn’t look like christmas in july in your backyard. tealights in low vases or small cups on your table also adds to your ambiance.

most of all, have fun! stay tuned all spring and summer for lots more al fresco tips!

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