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Well with Memorial Day weekend kicking off the outdoor party season this past weekend I thought I would toss together some party prep ideas that you can use for your own festivities this summer! 

1.  Don’t be afraid to use mismatched regular wood dining chairs as part of your set up

As this picture clearly shows – mismatched wood dining chairs can look eclectic and chic for your next al fresco dinner party.  And let’s face it – you would feel way more like saying “al fresco” with these chairs than you would with some folding plastic ones! 

jary ralston eclectic patio

2.  Create conversation spaces

Parties thrive on conversation and good company!  So make sure you set up areas at your party that facilitate that fact.  This seating area provides you all the key components – a comfy place to sit, a seating arrangement that let’s people face on another and a table to set food or drinks on. 

COCOCOZY IN THE HOLLYWOOD HILLS contemporary patio

3.  Make it feel like a vacation

Nothing makes a party feel more like an escape from the real world than giving it a little island vibe!  I love these painted patio chairs.  They create a fun, bright atmosphere without a whole lot of effort!  Throw in some colorful pillows and towels and you are set for an island attitude on your local latitude!

Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

4.  Light up your night

Nothing keeps a party going like a little light!  Let’s face it – it is hard to talk in the dark.  But don’t think you have to get all expensive with your lighting.  This is still one of my favorite ideas – terracotta pots, a little sand and a bunch of plain white candles.  Bonus points if a couple of them are citronella to keep away the bugs!

Photo via Southern Living

5.  Don’t be afraid to use your “fine” china

If it is a small get together – you can really make it feel more homey and inviting by using your regular dishes or even something a little nicer.  Just remember your audience and know when to go all out and when to break out just the Chinet.

WYboy Ranch contemporary patio

6.  Have a “signature” drink

It doesn’t matter if it is a pitcher of sangria or just something colorful like the picture below – but having a signature drink for your get-together can be one of those special touches that makes people anticipate coming! 

Photo via Better Homes and Gardens

7.  Make some shade

If you are entertaining during the daytime – it is advisable to have a shady spot where the fair skinned and overheated can gather.   Umbrellas or canopies can be a great way to set up some shade that is also portable.

New Garden design for country house mediterranean patio

There you go – those are my seven tips for Outdoor Entertaining!  Now what about you?  Do you have a great tip that you would love to share?  I wanna hear it!

4 frugal friends said ...

Colleen @ MuralMaker&More said... @ June 4, 2011 at 9:36 AM

I dunno if I'm just sick of this cold (Calif!) weather or what, but I pinned 3 of these pics! Just gorgeous stuff, Jess!

Oh, My Darling said... @ June 5, 2011 at 9:17 AM

Oooh, I adore all of these suggestions. And those lovely outdoor party images!

Old Jail Artist said... @ June 6, 2011 at 5:51 AM

I would add (sorry if this is obvious) to pick up some hurricane glass covers for your candles (there are usually several at Goodwill) if you live in a windy area like we do. Thanks for the inspiring blog posts!

Lis said... @ June 7, 2011 at 11:36 AM

I love to have lights put in, it makes the party intimate and elegant. Just make sure to have a back up just in case the weather changes. Of course we don't want the modd ruined and the lights too!

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Jasper @ B & B Tent Rental NJ

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