Simple Summer Outdoor Dinner

By Donna Benton

Photos by Rita Treece

Previously Published in 501 Life Magazine

When the evenings warm up and flowers start to bloom, we all start to think about entertaining outside. Whether it’s a romantic backyard dinner date, a family meal or a dinner party with your friends, take it to the great outdoors. In the garden, at the farm or under that big oak tree in the yard, you can throw a fabulous outdoor get-together with the things you already have around the house.

Julie Crossland of Honey Hill Ranch in Greenbrier and her faithful sidekick Daisy prepare for an outdoor dinner party. (Rita Treece photo)

When it comes to dining alfresco, don’t be confined to picnic tables and plastic tablecloths. Throw convention to the wind and use that dining room table. Dress it up with a white tablecloth and your good china. Think of it as a picnic with a bow-tie.

Complement your formal elements with something natural and organic like potted herbs, a galvanized bucket of wildflowers or a twig of greenery at each place setting. Use a concrete pot or a wooden crate for your centerpiece to create a comfortable garden theme with a touch of sophistication.

Don’t forget the lighting!

Set the mood with candles or a string of market lights draped in a tree. Wire a flea market chandelier with a plug and an extension cord and hang it from a limb over your table to create a dining room with no walls

Prepare your meal table side on the grill or serve fresh farm-to-table fare straight from the garden or the local farmers’ market. A great way to involve your guests is to have everyone bring their own special plate. It’s fun to share the stories of heirloom dishes and memorable meals, and it makes for a beautiful, eclectic and personalized table setting. 

You don’t have to be an entertainment maven to throw a simple summer outdoor dinner party. Just the right combination of fresh, fun and fancy, and your friends will be begging you to make your outdoor party a regular event.

Sometimes the real action is behind the scenes!

Honey Hill Ranch in Greenbrier is a performance and event venue so be sure and contact them for your weddings, parties and events.