After the long, cold winter, we’re all eager to get outdoors and enjoy the beautiful warm weather of spring. Invite friends and family to celebrate the new season with a fabulous outdoor party.
It's not quite the 4th of July, so choose a subtle outdoor theme for spring, says professional event planner Greg Jenkins of Bravo Productions.
- Instead of red-and-white checkered tablecloths and bold patriotic colors, opt for springtime ambience with pastel decorations and place settings.
- Forego standard hamburgers, hotdogs and steaks on the grill and try lamb kabobs or grilled chicken and veggies.
- Replace the All-American apple pie with some lovely rainbow sherbet and a sprig of mint.
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Decorate with nature
"Outdoor decor that accents nature will make a bigger impact and create a more quaint setting when dining al fresco," says San Francisco-based interior designer Cecilie Starin. "Whether you have a green thumb or rely on your favorite flower supplier, nothing gives lift to spring party tabletops like fresh greens and blooms."
- "Use a variety of containers. This adds interest and is unexpected," says Starin. "Mix up a beautiful pitcher, silver julep cup and oversized urn."
- Get creative with your harvest. Spread flowers around the table. Use leaves as place cards. Make small colorful centerpieces.
- Seek out natural decor. Accent your party table with other beautiful items found in nature, such as smooth river rocks, suggests Starin.
- Feature butterflies, birds or delicate florals in throw pillows or seat cushions.
- Add complementary plant stakes, patterned dishes and other decor.
- Use serving pieces made of natural materials like burlwood or bamboo to complement the rustic elegance of your outdoor setting.
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Wait until dark
Instead of a morning brunch or afternoon picnic, plan an outdoor dinner party for the evening. Sassy lifestyle guru Steve Kemble is one of the country's top event planners and encourages hostesses to look for "high impact, low stress" design ideas to create the perfect outdoor dining table. "You're outdoors under the glorious stars, so you don't need much more," says Kemble.
- Use candles on your table in various heights and shapes for a fabulous and inexpensive atmosphere. Avoid scented candles which compete with food and floral aromas.
- Do add citronella candles around the perimeter of your entertaining space to provide atmospheric lighting while fighting off warm-weather bugs.
- Cut placemats from grass turf squares found at your local nursery.
- Add bunches of sunflowers or daisies in clear vases or bubble bowls and your table is done!?
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More warm weather decorating tips
How to create an outdoor kitchen space
Decorating your patio
How to prepare for summer entertaining