A successful dinner party doesn’t demand anything elaborate―just simple food, good company, and a convivial setting. Use our Outdoor Entertaining Guide for ideas, inspiration, and unique entertaining products.
Create an extraordinary event or dinner for two outside with our expert advice for preparing your patio, deck, or outdoor room for guests. Our unique selection of stylish outdoor dining furniture, tableware, picnic baskets, table linens, and dining accessories makes al fresco dining fun and creative. When the weather warms and your parties move outdoors, try these simple ideas.
Create an outdoor bar
Bars come in all shapes and sizes. Choose a lighter, rolling cart if it needs to be put away between gatherings. (We’re loving brightly colored retro bar carts.) Or go with a larger more permanent fixture if it’s protected. Why set up an outdoor bar for every party or dinner? We love taking a piece of furniture outside in a covered area and stocking it with glassware and bar essentials at the beginning of the season.
Stocking the Bar
Buckets, galvanized or glass is greatly filled with ice for soft drinks, wine, and beer. Keep spirits to the basics- vodka, rum, tequila, and gin. Stock a variety of mixers, seltzer, and juices that will keep. Topical fruit nectars like mango, passionfruit, and guava, mixed with a spirit and topped with seltzer, can be an instant hit. Trying mixing a big signature cocktail, set it out in a dispenser and it becomes a self-serve bar. This allows you to mix one big cocktail instead of many so you can mingle and enjoy the party. For a plethora of summer signature cocktails click here.
Be sure to have plenty of glasses on hand. Mix and match for an eclectic look, and have some bowls and small platters on hand as well for snacks and lite bites. Other bar essentials include an ice bucket and tongs, a cocktail shaker, fun napkins, bottle openers, and bar towels. Don’t forget a trash receptacle, recycling bin, and bug spray.
Setting an Unforgettable Outdoor Dining Table
For a look that is truly extraordinary don’t be afraid to mix and match rustic and refined indoor and outdoor furniture, linens, dinnerware, and table accents. Tablescaping is an art. Planners and designers are tasked with creating a functional — yet beautiful — space, where guests can enjoy a meal. And while there are some dining-table staples (plates, glassware, utensils, napkins), no two tablescapes are ever quite the same. We love the idea of covering your dining area with moss instead of linens for a stunning presentation.
For more ideas and unique, curated entertaining products see our Entertaining Special Occasions: French Country Picnic, Farm to Table, or Seaside Soiree.
Simple Summer Party Recipes Summertime means less is more when it comes to entertaining. Simple, fresh ingredients and a little imagination will give the cooks time to enjoy their company. Find the best recipes for summer parties and get-togethers from Food Network.