Entertaining |

Patio Party Panache

It’s that time again! Sunny days that stay sunny just a little bit longer and balmy nights that beg you to pour just one more glass of chardonnay. It’s time to fire up the grill and invite friends and family to your patio, deck, or pool to enjoy an alfresco party.

And although the most important ingredient for any party is FUN, here are some suggestions to give your next patio party an extra pop of panache.


A perfectly set table can set the scene for your party and make your guests feel special.

Here are two fun ideas for thematic tabletops.


A tropical theme is perfect for summertime soirées. Oversized palm leaves are awesome placemats. Rings of raffia make perfect napkin rings. Mangoes, mini pineapples, and small tiki torches are great centerpiece options. Shells in all shapes and sizes are beautiful table accents. And of course greet your guests with a colorful lei when they arrive.

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A romantic garden party is always a good idea! Here are a few ideas to make yours anything but garden variety.

Stunning table linens in pastel colors (think pinks, yellows, blues, lavenders, and corals) set the stage for a beautiful tabletop. Vintage accessories, such as small jeweled picture frames (use them for name cards), and antique jewelry (bracelets make awesome napkin rings), are ideal accessories. Mismatched small jars are great vases for a single bud or small bouquet. Or use them for candle holders. Old-fashioned flowers, such as shasta daises, lavender, and roses are a gracious and fragrant finishing touch.

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Lighting is an essential component for any space, inside or outside!  For an outdoor space there are many options for creating special ambiance. Here are just a few “bright” ideas.


Lanterns are a classic source of outdoor illumination, and now there are so many styles to choose from to reflect any design style including rustic metal, and gas lanterns, lanterns with real or battery candles, and brightly colored paper lanterns with electric lights in them hung in trees or under covered areas.

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Available at Savvy

Candles, Candles, Candles!

You can never have enough, right? When decorating an outdoor space for entertaining, try floating tea lights in glasses or bowls of water. Or nestle them in containers filled with sand or in flower pots. Larger candles work great, too! Paper bags die-cut with unique designs are the perfect spot to place battery operated candles to let the light shine through.

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String Lights

Nothing is more magical than a starry, starry night. Recreate some of the enchantment with strings of lights overhead. Wrap large and small bulbs around tree trunks, from tree to tree, around poles or on railings. String lights covering a pergola is gorgeous. Tiny LED wired lights stuffed into jars or cloches is a “bright” idea for a centerpiece.

Landscape Lights

Of course, a outdoor entertaining area that is beautifully landscaped with light is always stunning. Wired or solar, landscape lights can really set the stage for all of the additional lights you decide to add to your space for ambiance.

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Tiki Torches

It isn’t really summer until you break out the tiki torches, is it? This classic outdoor light source adds a tropical touch and just makes you want to drink a pina colada.


Embracing the organic will put nature’s exclamation point on your party!

When decorating the outdoors for entertaining, it only makes sense to take advantage of the natural elements that surround you to add those special finishing touches.

Image: First Family Doctor
Image: Zillow

I love a rustic outdoor space for entertaining alfresco

Lisa Rapp

Unique metal pots and wooden crates pair well with an abundance of succulents and bold colored flowering plants. Hot pinks, bright yellows, and lots of greenery can add a tropical feel, while an all white palette is fresh, cool and classic.

Mind Your Natural Surroundings

Tall twigs can be more contemporary and geometric. Keeping in mind your natural surroundings can help dictate the direction of your floral design. City dwellers may want a more urban contemporary feel. Countryside picnics may warrant a more old-fashioned or vintage look.

Of course in the end, there are no rules when it comes to design, and flowers and plants are no exception. It’s your party, have fun with it and do what you love!

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Author: judy uelk

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