It does seem slightly odd to posting this on what is perhaps the most miserable days weather we've had all summer but last month I was asked by Ireland Homes and Interiors Magazine to do an article with a few ideas on outdoor summer styling. So for those of you that haven't seen it here you are!
Outdoor Entertaining Top Tips
•1• Get a great banqueting table
A rustic tressle table is perfect for outdoor dining but it’s not always easy to come across a good one for outside. Instead try using a lovely old wooden door! We have one from a salvage yard and it sits securely on some old garden table legs - I think it’s better than any table you’ll buy in the shops!
•2• Make a little floral posy to go on each place setting.
These can be really simple- just a couple of flower stems – I used bluebell, lilly of the valley and a sprig of rosemary all from the garden, tied together with a bit of twine. It really finishes off your table setting and your guests will more than likely start wearing them throughout the evening as buttonholes or hair accessories.
•3• Decorate the garden area you’re using
Make sure you don’t leave your table to do all the talking and furnish your fiesta with a few more garden decorations. Use bunting or homemade pom-pom garlands to pretty up the garden – either pinned up in bushes or hung up in trees this will be sure to charm you’re guest before they’ve even seen a canapé!
•4• Bring cushions, blankets and even rugs outside
A comfy cushion makes your table setting look all luxurious and inviting and gives a cosy indoors-outdoors feeling. Try using some vintage fabric and making your own to fit the vintage theme.
•5• Mix and match your crockery
Be extravagant when you lay the table – sure paper plates are convenient but it’s lovely to see a proper table setting fit for a feast outside
A clever mix of collections gives a lovely eclectic mix to the dinner table – I don’t us more than two of the same plate! My favourite collections to mix together are Cottage Flower, Highland Fling and Rustic Lace
•6• Make tealight holders
Candles in the Uk obviously blow out about as fast as you can light them so use old jam jars to sit your tealights in both on the table and hanging in trees. And you can decorate these by tying lace, ribbon or raffia around the outside to make them look really pretty.
•7• Use Edible flowers
Garnish your dishes with some edible flowers from the garden like violas, chive flowers or nasturtiums. Not only do they look adorable but it’s super nice if you’re guest’s notice the flowers that they are eating are growing all around them too!
•8• Vintage china
I love to use big vintage platters to serve food on in the middle of the table - I’m always looking out for them at vintage fairs especially for this reason. This Asiatic Pheasant design is a particular favourite of mine as its got such a lovely blue tone to it and it looks particularly pretty with berries on for dessert.
You can shop my 'mix and match' alfresco dining edit here if you would like to recreate the look!