Happy summer solstice!
I recently attended a delightful garden party at Eltham Palace organised by The White Company. The event theme was summer entertaining and guests were treated to a number of workshops ranging from ‘cooking the perfect food for your summer party’ with Tim Maddams, former Head Chef at River Cottage, to ‘dressing your outdoor dining space’ with The White Company.
During The White Company session, I enjoyed hearing tips about using your household items in a number of ways. For example, a champagne coupe could double up as a stylish bowl to serve a summer dessert. As someone who dislikes unnecessary clutter, I enjoyed learning ways to make my stuff work harder. So today I’m sharing a few tips on dressing your outdoor dining space and utilising what you already have.
CLIP AND PRUNE
If you’re planning your summer entertaining I would recommend giving your outdoor space a little tidy. This may include mowing the lawn, sweeping, weeding, clipping and removing anything that someone could trip over after a few glasses of fizz! After all the best parties usually involve a little dancing. In my previous home, I found a little gardening after a day in the office helped me to unwind.
Now is the time to dust off your garden furniture. And if you’re expecting a number of guests you may wish to utilise the chairs and tables you have indoors. Don’t forget deck chairs or camping chairs after all a garden of eclectic and mismatched furniture gives off a fun and informal feel. Be inventive if you need to, I once hosted a large birthday party and used my wallpaper pasting table with a table cloth as additional table space. Oh, the glamour!
When planning table settings have a look at what you have before considering buying new. Table linen, napkins, plates and bowls can all be used in the garden and after seeing how nice the white set looked I’m utterly hooked! It’s also interesting to consider alternative and inexpensive ways to serve drinks, especially if you’re expecting a lot of people. I love jam jars with pastel coloured stripy straws, a simple idea that looks lovely.
You could use large bowls, containers or even a bucket to keep wine and bottled drinks cool. The White Company were using a large wine cooler and suggested it could be used to display houseplants when the summer is over. The perfect way to style up your green friends during the winter months.
I love table centrepieces, especially if they’re unusual and inventive. The White Company had a large glass lantern holder filled with plants in glass jars. It was like a modern take on a traditional terrarium. It’s a good idea to wander around your garden to see what you have. You could fill a jug or vase with leaves or small jars and bottles with pretty sprigs of flowers. Another idea is to make use of your household plants by displaying a row of small succulents or cacti on the table.
To add atmosphere (if there’s no chance of rain!) try using fairy lights to help your party sparkle as the sun goes down. You could also hang lanterns or retro bistro lights, all of which can be used again at Christmas. Bunting or ribbon work well and I really love The White Company silver tealight holders because they’re great for both indoor and outdoor use. Enjoy getting creative with the space you have.
To create a place for guests to relax try laying out a picnic blanket, throw, cushions or even seat pads. This is a good idea if you’re short of chairs and you could even cover an airbed with a blanket or throw. Although be warned, if you make your guests too comfortable they may never leave!
I hope you have a wonderful summer of entertaining. Do you have any tips for dressing an outdoor dining space?
Thank you to The White Company for a lovely afternoon.