How to Elevate Your Outdoor Entertaining Game

We are finally seeing some summer weather which means we can entertain outdoors! There is something magical about entertaining outdoors. Outside you can be surrounded by greenery, birds, and sunshine, and, if you’re planning right, your event goes over sunset – which is an even more magical time. There’s something more laid back about outdoor entertaining. Kids can run around freely. Meals are casual. Cocktails don’t need to be complicated – they only need to be refreshing and on ice.

Outdoor entertaining is certainly magical in and of itself, but with a few simple tips and tricks, you can immediately elevate your guest’s experience. These tips and tricks will make your setup feel sophisticated, but secretly you’ve kept it effortless and made your life a heck of a lot easier. Let’s get to tips for knocking your outdoor entertaining game out of the park.

signed samantha pouring a drink from the drink dispenser while entertaining outdoors

Ditch the Paper Plates

This one is simple: get rid of basic paper and plastic plates. Let’s upgrade your serving ware to a melamine set. There are a ridiculous amount of super cute and affordable options out there that deserve your attention. You can get sweet sets or opt for dinner plates or salad plates. With our dishes, I did not get bowls. I went with salad and dinner plates which are perfectly sufficient for our needs. If you’re more of a canapes type of entertainer you only need the salad plates. On the other hand, if you’re a full sit-down meal the dinner and salad plates may work. If you’re into gazpacho – also get some bowls.

If you don’t have space to store melamine plates, you can also elevate your situation by picking out some ultra-cute paper plates. Pick a vibe you want to go with and coordinate your decor with that. Careful not to pick things that are too kitschy – it’s easy to do. Keep it sophisticated and minimal. 

a perfect set up for outdoor enteratining. a picnic table with food under food nets and a drink dispenser

Drink Dispensers for Outdoor Entertaining

I love hand-crafted cocktails. I don’t love the time it takes to make them. So, we batch them and serve them through a drink dispenser. It makes your life so much easier, saves a ton of time, and it looks high-end.

If you’re buying cans or bottles of drinks instead of making some, you can also add ice to a big party bucket and put your cocktails there.

Both options look beautiful, let’s your guests serve themselves easily, and gives you the freedom to spend time with your guests.

a food net with a charcuterie platter outside for entertaining outdoors

Food Nets

This is the most critical item for serving food outside in the summer. The sun comes out to play, and so do the bugs. As much as possible, I try to cover my food up with these food nets to keep the bugs out. There is nothing worse than a fly munching away at your food. Plus, there are some pretty options in a range of sizes and shapes.

a perfect set up for outdoor enteratining. a picnic table with food under food nets and a drink dispenser

All of these steps for outdoor entertaining are not only simple to execute but also simplify your life when your guests arrive. Happy entertaining.

PS – most of these items I snagged at HomeSense – but it will take some hunting to replicate.