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How to Host a Gorgeous Backyard Dinner Party—Without the Stress

backyard outdoor dinner party

Photo by Tabitha Turner on Unsplash.

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This time of year is picture perfect for a backyard dinner party. The weather is warm, the mood is high, and everyone’s craving more time outside together. Outdoor dinners can be a fun way to get creative with your space and host your favorite people for an evening of good food and even better company. But like any gathering, there’s a lot that goes into it in order to make it special. Of course, you want your backyard party to be fun and enjoyable, but you also want it to be a beautiful experience for your guests!

Finding the sweet spot between an elevated summer gathering and a relaxed, fun time with friends takes some strategy. You want to make sure the tablescape is beautiful but welcoming, that the decor is pretty but not too fussy or delicate for the outdoors, and that the food you serve will last well in the summer heat. In order for your dinner party to be a success, you’ll need to make your plans as efficient as possible. That way, you’re not stressing out over details and scrambling to put it all together a couple hours before guests arrive. Our tips will help you get there easily, so you can focus more on enjoying your evening with loved ones.

Decide On Your Space, Then Prep It

First thing’s first, you need to find the best space for your outdoor dining set. That means the table should be on level ground, not too close to overhanging trees or shrubbery, and in a well-lit area. Around the table, place some lanterns, string lights, or other outdoor lighting to brighten up the table. Then, consider the rest of your space and how you could make it function better for the party. Would you like to add in a second chill zone around a bonfire fire pit or under a pergola? Map out the space and make sure that everything fits well together ahead of time so you know exactly how to organize the yard.

Look to Your Yard for a Color Scheme

Take some inspiration from the places you can’t change! Do you have a gorgeous lemon tree? Is your garden full of bright red roses? Or maybe you live in a city with a concrete patio and just a few potted plants? Take these elements from your landscape and design around them. If you find that your yard has many yellows and purples, add in some dainty pink decor. If your deck is a dark wood, brighten up the tablescape with pops of baby blue and lilac. Your best and most effortless color scheme will combine your natural landscape with your chosen palette, and will make the space feel styled.

Choose the Right Decor for Your Space and Style

Once you have the color scheme down and you know the products you need to include to make your yard the best outdoor dinner venue it can be, it’s time to think about the decor. Make sure you’re using patterns, colors, and textures that complement your dinner’s ambiance. If you want to go for a more minimalist, contemporary feel, matte black lanterns and folding chairs will give off that high-contrast look. If you want to keep up with the boho summer vibe, incorporating floral and fruit patterns, as well as light colors and natural finishes, will help you achieve that style.

Beautify Your Dining Tablescape

Your table is the star of the show, and you should treat it as such! Jonathan and Zooey love a good dinner party. And what’s more, these two are known for their fabulous decorating skills (have you seen their Park House home?!). When it comes to creating an inviting, beautiful atmosphere for guests, they know that focusing in on the small details is key. From the candlesticks to the table runner and your chosen dinnerware, matching isn’t necessarily the objective. Instead, look to add complementary pieces that elevate the tablescape and enhance the ambiance of the other decor you’ve chosen. Including taper candles or LED candles, fresh flowers, and a fun tablecloth are great places to start.

Match Your Invites to Your Dinner Theme

Designing your dinner party invitations is part of the fun! Take some inspiration from your color scheme: If you’re going for a whimsical vibe, cursive handwriting invitations with illustrations would be the perfect coupling. Or if you’re going for something a little more upscale, an invitation that includes bold lettering and elegant designs could be very complementary. Along with your old-school paper invitations, many sites, like Paperless Post, also offer a digital greeting and RSVP.

Craft a Seasonal Menu

Have you seen the outdoor birthday party/Earth day celebration that Drew held for his wife Linda? It was such a beautiful success, and that’s all because he planned the menu ahead of time and made it chock-full of seasonal ingredients, flowers, and decor. Linda was so thrilled with the outcome, and that was in part due to the fresh foods and colorful spread. “More parties like this one? Yes, please!” she said. Research the vegetables and fruits that are currently in-season in your region (SeasonalFoodGuide.org is a great resource for this) and then explore some recipes that include those ingredients. It’s also a fun and inspiring way to try new dishes!

Take Photos to Capture the New Memories

Nothing beats a photo of a favorite memory that you can look back on and smile about. That’s what makes instant cameras so popular! Place a couple Instax or Polaroid cameras on the dining table or perched on a stool near the back door and encourage friends to take photos throughout the night. It’ll give everyone a fond memory to look back on, and you can even include some in a memory book or scrapbook.

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