Outdoor Entertaining: An Effortlessly Elegant Picnic

April 13, 2017

There’s no wrong way to have a picnic. It can be as causal as an impromptu lunch at the park, or as classic as a wicker basket and fresh-squeezed lemonade. Beach wine and ice cream? We’ll count it.

This spring, we really wanted to test the limits, so we called in our friend Bethany Douglass, the talented writer and photographer behind Cloistered Away. Could the the trusty picnic be a formal affair? The answer, as we discovered, is a resounding “yes.” Elegant yet cozy, her candlelit dinner party is outdoor entertaining at its loveliest. Read on for her décor tips and table tricks.

“A low table sets the picnic mood. We used a piece of chipboard with small legs leftover from a friend’s home project, but the same table could easily be built with stacked wood palettes.”

“A tablecloth adds a thoughtful backdrop. It’s the element that tends to pull the pieces together, to make everything seem intentional. Plus, it hides the makeshift table!”

“As the weather warms up, I typically keep a basket of kantha blankets nearby for outdoor evenings. Add a few outdoor pillows for guests to make themselves more comfortable.”

“Make sure you have enough light on the table for when the sun sets. We used taper candles and vintage brass candlestick holders, a handful of votives and lanterns for the lawn. For windy conditions, consider using an assortment of glass votives.”

Colorful, mismatched plates can add a truly playful, festive contrast to the more formal candles and green surroundings.”

“Wine is a typical go-to for picnics, but sangria added just the right vibe for this light-hearted gathering. We love this recipe in the Lustered Pitcher and glasses.”

“Nothing says ‘picnic’ like a variety of nibbles to choose from. Forgo a formal menu for a pick-and-gather buffet-style meal. Consider delicious tapas recipes paired with a charcuterie platter and fresh fruits, spicy hummus and olives.”

“A pitcher of flowers is part romantic, part no-fuss beauty––a complement to the entire relaxed mood of the evening. I used the Adele Pitcher as a centerpiece, then added two smaller vintage pitchers.”

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