Hi all. Adrian and I are back for another installment in our Summer Entertaining Series. This week, Adrian is taking a break and I'm stepping in to share some easy decorating ideas for a summer dinner al fresco.
Since Adrian and I love to eat outdoors and love to entertain, we've put together a little stash of pretty goods to make our backyard togethers a bit more than just your run-of-the-mill barbecues. Our requirements for decor are that they be both cheap and easy.
Choosing and sticking to a color scheme makes picking out items a breeze. We are currently into blues and greens so we have chosen paper goods in those colors. This also makes setting the table a no-brainer. I don't have to think about what matches because it all matches and with everything in the same color palette, I'm not afraid of doing a little pattern mixing.
Many of the items in this set-up were items that we just had around the house. The tray for the centerpiece we picked up a a friend's yard sale for a dollar. Then we sprayed painted it green. Because we spray paint everything. The vase and votives we had laying around. I prefer to use regular glasses when there aren't too many people. Otherwise, plain white paper cups with washi tape or colored straws would be just as lovely.
The striped napkins came from Target, only $1.49 for a pack. I found the blue napkins and white paper plates at Party City. The napkins cost just $2.25 and the plates were $5.49 for a package of twenty. The clear utensils came in a huge pack from Walmart a while back. The straws were $2 for a pack of 250 at Meijer. And the tablecloth is a vinyl tablecloth I picked up at Marshalls for $3.50. Tip: Now is the time to stock up on paper goods as most stores are clearancing them out for fall. I keep paper goods on a shelf in the pantry. My friends always joke that I could throw a cute party on a moment's notice. And they're right. I could.
I bought the flowers at Whole Foods for $6.99. This is more than I normally pay for grocery store flowers, but still cheap overall. Tip: When buying grocery store flowers, go monochromatic. Even carnations can look elegant when they're all the same color.
I used a bit of crepe paper from leftover party streamers to tie the votives into the centerpiece. This keeps them anchored and prevents them from looking like they were randomly placed. Ribbon works fantastically as well, if you happen to have some on hand.
Lastly, I love having lights strung up and ready to go for when the party lasts a bit longer than expected. We bought these a few years ago and have had them up all summer long. I love the ambience they create, turning our ordinary backyard into a chic little dining space.
This entire set-up took us about twenty minutes to create and the total cost was around $22, including the flowers. Many of the items, though, will be enough for more than one barbecue.
We hope this inspires you to go out, gather a few things and start making your outdoor dinners a little prettier!
Next week, Adrian will be back to share his recipe for Carne Asada Tacos. Trust me, they're amazing.