The summer of social re-entry is upon us in the States with vaccines rolling out, mask mandates being rolled back, weddings kicking off like it’s 2019 and of course, al fresco entertaining with heaps of friends and family. Heat waves are breaking records in the U.S. so it’s the perfect time to set the table outside, serve some chilled salads, fresh farm vegetables and margaritas over lots of ice. We loved laying this simple table in lilac and cobalt to kick of entertaining season 2021! Here are some of my favorite summer entertaining tricks!
Forage local flowers, tools at the ready! I always have my garden trimmers in the trunk of my car in case I pass some road-side beauties which would be perfect for the table or house. This lilac was taken from a wild bush by the recycling center and smelled absolutely DIVINE! I don’t usually love scented flowers on the table but for these, I will always make the exception. I do recommend also having bug spray (ticks!) on hand in the trunk and I have a few florists friends who pack a bright orange vest (which you can pick up from Lowes) so that you look like you’re “officially” supposed to be trimming the bush…ha ha..!
Surrounding light makes for cozy atmospheres.. Tiki torches are my BFF in the summertime — we usually always have them in the back of the car for a beach picnic. I also love large glass hurricanes and lanterns which can be placed strategically to create a circle of glowy light around the table. Especially in the countryside where it gets very dark once the sun sets, it’s nice to some surrounding light to complement the candles on your table.
Folding tables = party anywhere! Probably one of the best investments of my entertaining career. We didn’t have our outdoor table this year in our rental and we couldn’t drag the heavy wooden one outside. We bought four folding tables which means that you can set up a party ANYWHERE and they fold away to practically nothing. There was a drippy pool of golden light in garden every afternoon and a folding table meant we could just set up shop. I advise ordering some white felt to cut to the size of the top of the table and lay underneath your tablecloth — makes it feel a lot more substantial! I also love how narrow a folding table is — perfect for cozy conversation.
Have fun with your seating! If you’re creating a “living room” outside for guests, it’s nice to have somewhere else to plonk down for drinks or after dinner. I cannot tell you HOW MUCH we used these hay bales this year — if you can get your hands on some, do it! They are the perfect height with some pillows on top and can easily be moved around. We also love fluffy floor mattresses, or just dragging some chairs in from outside with a little coffee table/drinks set up.
Extra elements go a long way. If you’re setting up a table in middle of the garden, sometimes it can look a bit stark/lonely. Adding a table behind (of a different height) adds depth and also provides a place to put drinks, extra candlelight, same goes for adding extra seating, etc. Creating a sense of space beyond the table makes your set up feel extra special!