Outdoor Dinner Party Inspiration

The air is getting warmer, flowers are blooming, and lighting bugs are getting ready to shine. All of that adds up to one thing: outdoor entertaining! It’s a universal favorite to relax with friends over good food, a little vino, and a great time.

Having people over for dinner doesn’t have to mean a big, show-stopping ordeal. Entertaining is supposed to be a celebration — a beautiful, wabi-sabi celebration of friendship and community. It’s not about making things perfect. It’s about inviting others into your space and building community.

So here is a little backyard bash we threw to help get those creative entertaining juices flowing.

We were really inspired by the idea of an al fresco Italian dinner: good food, great wine, and incredible storytelling. We didn’t want our guests to be overwhelmed by the decor so our goal was simple, comfortable, and beautiful. We wanted the color palette to be warm and inviting and for thought and care to be put into every aspect of the evening.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Ingredients:
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
3 tablespoons good olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Wash the sprouts and cut them in half. Cut them long ways, not short ways – they will brown better.
3. Mix them in a bowl with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Pour them on a sheet pan and roast for 35 to 40 minutes, until crisp on the outside and tender on the inside.
4. Every 10 – 15 minutes, pull the pan out and shake it. This will help the sprouts brown evenly. If you desire a more french fry vibe, sprinkle the sprouts with more salt.
5. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Perfect Summer Salad
Ingredients:
Honeydew melon
Cantaloupe
Prosciutto di Parma (about 10 oz)
Basil
Fresh dark-skinned figs (5 – 10)
Arugula
Extra-virgin olive oil

Directions:
1. Wash off your argula and place into a big serving bowl
2. Next, slice up the melons into small, half inch cubes — think bite size. Place melons into your serving bowl
3. Take your prosciutto and tear it into nice strips and place into your growing salad
4. Thinly slice up your figs and basil, toss in the salad. Drizzle a little olive oil on top, toss the salad, and salt and pepper to taste!

DIY Place Cards
At bigger dinner parties, it is alway nice to give your guests some guidance as to where to sit. This will help guests feel comfortable, meet new people, and, plus, place cards are a fun excuse to get crafty!For this get together, we wanted to keep a relaxed, backyard vibe so we used gift tags & placed a sprig of olive branch in the ribbon hole. It is always so nice to receive a handwritten note in the mail, so we wanted to emulate that vibe by handwriting our place cards.

What are some of your go-to ideas for outdoor entertaining?

Images via Constance Higley; Florals by Posies; Dinnerware via Grandiflora; Styling by Lauren Kelp

Lauren is a prop & interior stylist living with her husband in Phoenix, Arizona. She is happiest when she is on-set with a great team, styling for editorial publications, or dreaming up the next Tablemakers. She delights in pairing the current and the unexpected to bring life to a space and artistry to a photo shoot. Whether styling a copper kitchen aid or designing a living room, Lauren's goal is to evoke a feeling of inspiration and creativity.

3 COMMENTS
  • Hailey May 8, 2014

    this is beautiful – the flowers, the bread, the manchego…in heaven just looking at this. I always make this sangria spritzer for my outdoor parties 🙂 xoxo http://wp.me/p3l6PA-iO

  • Chaucee April 30, 2014

    Brussels sprouts are also good when sautéed in bacon!

  • Hilary April 29, 2014

    Love, love, love it!!! Why is it that I never think to entertain friends? That’s definitely going to change this Summer. Lauren, you’re lighting that fire in me, sister!

POST A COMMENT