On gorgeous summer nights you just want to get outside, and parties are no exception. The best way to class up any outdoor party is to stop thinking of a party outside as being that different than a party inside. Using nice linens, real plates and barware, and the same type of design elements you would inside will go a long way towards making it feel more luxe. Sure, a barbecue can mean a cooler of beer, but why not a nice ice bucket full of wine and champagne too? This doesn’t mean you have to buy all new “outdoor versions” of your indoor party essentials. The same tablecloth you use in the dining room will look chic over a card table you set up outside. But if you are in the mood to do a little shopping, here are some outdoor dining essentials to revamp your space.
Yeah, you can still fill up an Igloo cooler with ice by the picnic table, but why not put out some wine or carafes of mixers in one of these fancy silver buckets? Love the oversized party bucket, it would come in handy more often than you think.
Let's all agree to abandon the notion that all outdoor linens need to be beach or fish themed, no matter how far the nearest body of water is. These colorful placemats will make a splash without sea imagery. For something a little easier on the budget with a stylish DIY element, check out this tutorial from Positively Splendid.
The price for this set of three candles is $35 but that's only if you have to buy the floating candles ($19.99 for a set of 12) and set of three vases ($14.99) but I'm betting you have versions of these items in your home already. I love candlelight outdoors and incorporating twigs into this arrangement from TheFamilyCEOBlog.com makes it all the more fitting. I like to arrange a few candles on any available surface around the yard — tables, low walls, garden benches, etc.
DIY Candle Project, about $35
A Signature Cocktail
I think every party should have a signature cocktail and summer cocktails are so much fun. There's so many refreshing summer drinks you can easily twist into a cocktail, like lemonade, which serves as an inspiration for this Lavender Lemondrop Martini from Ruemag.com. By having a signature cocktail along with beer and wine you can save on having a full bar.
Sometimes tech isn't so sophisticated on the aesthetic front, but this portable turntable and MP3 player has sexy vintage appeal. There's pretty much nothing more romantic and Gatsby-esque as playing vinyl in the moonlight. But it's obviously essential to have the option of plugging in your iPod as well. This sleek system does both.
Chic Lawn Games
Lawn games feel a little bit Hamptons, a little bit Gatsby, and therefore totally on trend, as well. Go totally Heathers and check out this Franklin Expert Croquet Set, $89.99. If your group is still transitioning out of your beer pong phase, croquet can make for a fun drinking game that won't make you think of the frat house.