What You Need for the Perfect Outdoor Dinner Party

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Summer is upon us, and I can’t wait for the twilight dinner parties to begin. I moved to a new home in March, just as the weather started to turn toward spring and summer. It’s the first place I’ve lived with a backyard to call my own, and I couldn’t help but dream of the dinner parties to come. 

One of my first purchases was an outdoor dining set, of course, with an umbrella to shade it. But that’s only part of the equation—now I need the decor and tableware to be outdoor entertaining ready. Here’s a peek at what’s in my shopping cart.

Credit: Atelier Saucier

Atelier Saucier Gin + Tonic Combo Set ($176)

This set from LA-based Atelier Saucier will have me squared away for a 4-person dinner—or I can double up my order for a bigger soirée. It includes dual-sided oilcloth placemats, striped multicolor napkins and gingham cocktail napkins. I love this combo set because it has just the right amount of color and pattern mixing without clashing or being too over-the-top. 

Credit: Food52

Bolleke Hanging Outdoor Lamp ($139) 

While most cordless outdoor lamps take up precious tabletop space, this Bolleke lamp has a hanging loop inspired by hair ties and sailing technology that allows you to hang it anywhere. It will be perfect for hanging from one of the rungs of our umbrella. If that wasn’t enough to sell me on it, it has three brightness settings and holds a charge for up to 24 hours of light.

Credit: Our Place

Our Place Drinking Glass Set ($50)

You may know Our Place for its beloved Always Pan and Perfect Pot, but I have my eye on the brand’s Drinking Glasses, sold in sets of four. I plan to use these handmade glasses for anything and everything from a glass of rosé to a margarita or simple sparkling water. Or, I may even elevate my dessert serving style by offering ice cream in these glasses instead of bowls. They’re stackable, so I can add them to my cupboard without the stress that I’ll run out of space. 

Credit: Hawkins New York

Virginia Sin Wyat Candelabra ($84)

No tablescape is complete without candles, and every candle needs a holder. I love a run-of-the-mill candleholder or tea light, but this squiggly version from ceramicist Virginia Sin brings a fun energy for an outdoor gathering. I love the idea of having a few scattered across the table for full effect. It holds 3 tapers, and it would look perfect with Dusen Dusen’s Taper Candles ($28, set of 4). This pairing adds color and whimsy, without clashing with the color and pattern of the Atelier Saucier table linens.

Credit: Vinca Minor

Sips And Snacks

What’s an outdoor dinner party without an assist on the snack and beverage front? Vinca Minor’s Moonland Pear Sauvignon Blanc ($26, bottle), a mixture of fermented pears and grapes that taste somewhere between a wine and a kombucha, is my current favorite. And Ghia’s Le Spritz ($54, 12-pack) is my go-to non-alcoholic option for when we have company. Last, but certainly not least, I’m counting on Westbourne’s Apero Snack Set ($32) for a no-fuss snack to start things off while I finish preparing the meal.

Credit: Children's Haus

Children’s Haus ($139)

My dinner parties now involve little kids—always my own and often my friends’—which means we need something to keep them occupied while the parents visit with each other. I have my eye on this fold-flat playhouse that can be drawn on with markers or turned into an outdoor fort. It’s perfect to unpack as a special activity in the backyard when we have friends over for an outdoor gathering.

My dreams of having warm-weather dinner parties in my very own backyard are finally a reality. Now that I’ve got my table linens, table decor, snacks, drinks, and kid’s activities all planned out, all that’s left to do is send some invites and get to menu planning. 

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