Adapted from Style Me Pretty Living “How to Plan a Backyard Dinner Party” 

Longer days and warmer nights mean outdoor entertaining can officially commence, and with that, comes alfresco dining. Outdoor dining can range from casual to formal, but my absolute favorite is an evening spent with great friends while sipping delicious cocktails and enjoying thoughtfully prepared food.

I love sourcing from my garden, especially herbs, and greens which grow quickly and abundantly, and can easily feed a crowd.

outdoor entertaining beautifully decorated wooden table with florals

serving summer cocktails

beautifully decorated table for outdoor entertaining

When you’re dining outdoors, you don’t have to be fancy – some of the best outdoor dining can involve good ol’ Chinet and a Wine Glass Writer. If you want to add extra special touches, you can letter guests’ names on glasses, or make centerpieces with flowers from around your garden! Try using natural elements to tie the table together, such as fresh herbs, foraged greens, and organic flower arrangements.

toasting at an outdoor patio party

I adorned kumquat branches with guest name’s calligraphed in copper ink, which accented the copper Mule mugs and brass flatware. If you’re having a casual dinner, try picking out some bamboo flatware and adding washi-tape for a fun DIY; a great way to bring attention to something that is normally an afterthought.

When styling a table, think convenience first.

It might be tempting to bust out your favorite champagne coupes, but if you plan on mingling, that might not be your best bet. Instead, think of how you want the party to flow, and nix anything unnecessary, because let’s face it, who even uses a soup spoon anyways?

outdoor entertaining summer decorating

Plan a light menu with fresh ingredients!

A typical BBQ of hot dogs and hamburgers can be heavy and leave everyone feeling a little guilty about the amount of potato salad they consumed. Avoid this pitfall by shopping at your local farmer’s market and creating a farm-to-table style menu. Fresh ingredients will be appreciated, and in-season fruits and veggies will be a bargain! I love serving multiple salads family style; try a leafy green number, and mix things up by adding some grilled veggies!

delicious appetizers for outdoor entertaining

outdoor entertaining summer cocktails

pick a party theme and stick to it!

It’s easy to go on Pinterest and plan a beautiful outdoor entertaining dinner party, but it’s another thing to execute it. Just like a large-scale event, your party should have a theme – think minimal. Maybe you want to showcase different types of goat cheese, or you want to include fresh herbs from your own garden; whatever it is, pick one element that you want to shine, and let the rest be its cheerleader. Here, Kelly, of A Savvy Event, included a patterned table linen from La Tavola in the design, so she let the rest of the elements compliment it by pulling oranges, coppers, and creams with pops of pinks in the florals, which achieved a cohesive look and feel.

stacks of copper mule mugs

What are you favorite tips for outdoor entertaining? Let me know in the comments below!


Photography: Kevin Chin | Design: A Savvy Event | Styling: A Savvy Lifestyle | Floral Design: Petite Petal| Garden: Petite Petal | Linens: La Tavola Fine Linen Rental | Rentals: Stuart Rentals | Styling & Calligraphy: Chloe Legras At Boxwood Avenue

Similar Posts


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Thank you for suggesting putting the guests’ names on glasses or using flowers from the garden to add a special touch to the outdoor dining experience. This is a good suggestion because I do plan on hiring a catering company for my outdoor event. I do not have the time to prepare everything myself, but I still want to make my guests feel that I was thinking about them when I planned the event.

  2. Your insights are truly illuminating! Your breakdown has broadened my perspective in unexpected ways. I recently touched upon a related subject on my blog illicium london, and I’d love to intertwine our thoughts further. Looking forward to more enlightening discussions!