How to throw a great al fresco dinner party this summer
With weeks of warm, sun-drenched evenings stretching into the horizon, there’s nowhere more enchanting to while away the golden hours than al fresco
Whether you bring the indoors out with soft furnishings, table-cloths and fairy lights, or riff on nature with fresh flowers and cutlery in plant-pots, here's how to while away the golden hours with a great al fresco dinner party.
Regardless of whether the addition of flowers and foliage to your table-setting is predictable, they pack an undeniable punch.
Bundle haphazard, fat bunches wildflowers into mason-jars and dot them around the table and garden walls, seat guests with Papier London's charming botanical place names, or set the scene with piles of petal-clad crockery.
Discard any thoughts of serving up inside and carrying plates outside one by one – sharing platters are optimal for al fresco dinner parties. Opt for big bowls of pasta, colourful Mediterranean salads, cuts of cold meat, fresh dips or the like.
A Table in Venice by Skye McAlpine is a great source of recipe inspiration, with scrubbed Italian tables heaving with ripe fruit and fresh patisserie as your mood board.
Let the lighting do the talking
As the sun sets and the romance of leaf-dappled light begins to fade, there's plenty to be done to retain ambience.
A canopy of fairy lights is ideal, but scattered tea-lights in glassware and an outdoor lantern or two will also do the trick.
Tips and hacks
While wireless bluetooth speakers make for easy outdoor listening (we’re keen on this feng-shui-friendly Marshall one), a drinks trolley can be wheeled outside to create a portable bar to house your all important ice bucket and cocktails of choice.
Meanwhile, if you're serious about your outdoors entertaining – a cast iron table-side grill like this one from Morso is bound to impress the guests.