Lauren's Tips for Alfresco Entertaining


As the warmer days bless us with their presence, I can't wait to make the most of my Brooklyn backyard. It's the perfect venue for gathering close friends for evenings filled with delightful conversation and fresh food while our kids enjoy their own little adventures around us. There's something magical about creating an ambiance that echoes those long, leisurely Mediterranean summer days right here at home. Here are five tips I've found invaluable for bringing that European summer vibe to your outdoor gatherings:

1. Simplify Your Florals

Keep your floral arrangements uncomplicated. A few branches, some scattered flowers, or even lush vines can effortlessly elevate your outdoor setting. If you're in the country or suburbs, take advantage of your backyard; snip a few greens and blooms to create a naturally charming tablescape. Let the vases you choose stand out amongst the simple florals. Another great way to add color and texture is with your food —arrange small plates brimming with vibrant, seasonal produce for the ultimate Mediterranean-inspired tablescape. 

Seaside Vase

Beau Rush

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Sirens Vase

Beau Rush

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2. Mix Vintage with New

I swear by this rule in almost every aspect of my life. Here, I have paired vintage silver flatware and glass candlestick holders with new ceramic plates and hand-blown glassware. This combination creates a layered, modern, distinctively unique look. Beyond mixing vintage and new, having a diverse range of materials on the table is essential - because I have a stone table, I have complimented it with ceramics, glass, and metal. 

3. Embrace Shared Plates

I always lean towards serving shared plates at my dinner parties. It allows everyone to try a little bit of everything, accommodating various dietary preferences, from allergies to pickiness. Mainly sticking to a Mediterranean diet, there are plenty of perfect choices for this dining style. Our new ceramic plates are ideal for this setup—deep bowls for nuts and olives, small plates for dips and spreads, and more giant platters for tapas-style dishes and main courses.

Seaside Platter

Beau Rush

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Seaside Mini Dish

Beau Rush

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Bronze Flower Plate

Beau Rush

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Seaside plate

Beau Rush

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4. Add Textiles

When hosting outside, I drape a few blankets over the seating to cater to the evening chill after a warm day. It not only keeps everyone comfortable but also makes the setting more inviting. Who doesn't love cozying up in a blanket, surrounded by friends and good food?

Stills Heirloom Blanket in Boa & Ivory Stripe

Blacksaw

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Stills Heirloom Blanket in Tobacco & Ivory Stripe

Blacksaw

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Mason Throw in Ivory w/ Black Stripe

Blacksaw

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Mason Throw in Shoji w/ Ivory Stripe

Blacksaw

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5. Embrace Candlelight

There's nothing quite as romantic as a dinner lit by candlelight, especially outdoors. I arrange numerous candles on the table, along the stairs, and around the perimeter, opting to keep the outdoor lights off. This not only enhances the intimacy of the evening but also complements the stars twinkling above.


Baccarat Crystal Candle Holder

Vintage

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Mikasa Candlestick Set

Vintage

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Entertaining outdoors is one of life's simple pleasures. With these tips, you can transform any gathering into a memorable, transportive experience reminiscent of those dreamy European retreats. Here's to many enchanting evenings under the stars!Ă»

Selene Flûte

Justine Menard

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Selene Napkin Ring Dos

Justine Menard

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Selene Napkin Ring Un

Justine Menard

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Selene Wine Glass

Justine Menard

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SHOP AL FRESCO ENTERTAINING