Nothing beats a backyard barbecue with friends, but how do you make your event stand out from the slew of others you'll attend during summer?
Informal outdoor entertaining doesn't have to mean paper plates and plastic tablecloths - achieving simple elegance can be as easy! Make your soiree run smoothly from set-up to clean-up with these 9 tried-and-true tips.
- Reusable dishes. Affordable, durable bowls and dishes are great to have on-hand for outdoor dining. Try some brightly hued enamelware or eco-friendly, reusable bamboo bowls that can be used all summer long.
- Dressed tables. Make an old, patio table look more attractive with an easy-care table covering. Try a cheerful tablecloth that can easily be wiped clean in case of any spills.
- From the garden. A bit of colour and creativity can go a long way toward a stylish setting for your outdoor entertaining. Give a casual get-together instant elegance by adding a vase full of garden flowers to the table.
- Summer sippers. Instead of fussing over individual drinks, make a jug of sangria or non-alcoholic punch and allow your guests to help themselves. This way, you’ll be able to relax a bit more and enjoy your own party.
- Simple meals. Opt for simple and easy-to-eat finger food where a napkin is all the cutlery you need! A rustic wooden cheeseboard and one-bite tapas-style foods always go down a treat and there’s no need to stick to one cuisine either – pick accessible eats from around the world and offer a menu with something to suit everyone. Be sure to have damp paper towels or cloths on-hand to remedy sticky fingers.
- Ban sauce bottles. Avoid having a multitude of condiment bottles on the table and instead, remove them from their original packaging and place in small dishes and ramekins. Arrange sauces, dips and salsas along the table within easy reach of everyone.
- Light candles. Instead of turning on the patio lights when the sun goes down, why not try lighting a few candles along the table instead? This will help add ambiance and ensure your guests enjoy a completely different dining experience.
- Cosy comforts. The outdoors can be made to feel homely too! Why not drape soft throws over the back of some of the chairs so guests can easily use them to wrap around their shoulders if they start to get chilly.
- Say yes to help. Jot down a list of any on-the-day tasks and delegate them to any friends who insist on lending a hand.