Is there anything better than enjoying the warm summer sunshine with friends? I don’t think there’s much that can beat that really. Inviting friends around for food and drinks, a little music and just time to relax and enjoy. With that comes of course the table that needs to be prepared.
However, when I say ‘prepared’, I mean getting things to look as good as possible in a stress-free way. I believe in keeping things fun and easy, especially in summer. This is about being casual and fun. It’s not a formal dinner and shouldn’t be set up as such. This doesn’t mean that it’s all paper plates and plastic cutlery either, though. There are ways to make a summer table look beautiful without having to invest in lots of throw-away items. Using things we already have available and giving some of them a new purpose is the best way to make your table look fun and eclectic.
So, here are a few things I believe might be helpful. Not actually having people sitting at the table, but presenting it more in a “help yourself to food and then sit on the grass” way makes life easier for everyone. However, the ideas here can be used in both cases. You might just need more than one bowl of flowers and clearly more than one set of plates.
If you’re thinking of allocating seats to people, then simple little tags around the glasses are a great way to do this. Just a bit of nice paper and some twine and you have the easiest name tags which match the summer mood perfectly.
Speaking of glasses, don’t use your best wine glasses for a summer party. Cleaned jam jars are a fun and casual way to serve drinks and if one breaks, it’s not the end of the world.
Another option is to use some wooden cocktail sticks, fold a piece of paper in half and stick it into a lemon or lime to be placed on the plates.
You don’t need expensive coolers for your drinks, Why not simply use a cooking pot, fill it with ice cubes and rest the bottles in that? It fits on even the smallest table and if you do have one long table, you could have mismatched pots down the middle, so your guests wouldn’t even have to get up to get a cold drink.
When it comes to flowers, there’s no need to get out all the expensive vases. Especially if they’re tall, the risk that they might be knocked over because the table sits on uneven ground is not worth taking. Instead use some glass bowls or jelly moulds, fill them with water and a few ice cubes, cut the flowers short an arrange them casually.
Another fun way to have flowers on the table is to simply put them into colourful drinks cans after you’ve decanted the lemonade into jugs. Lots of these distributed on a long table will look colourful and you don’t have to worry about washing them out afterwards.
Think about other ways to repurpose items you already have at home. Why not use a decorative bird cage instead of a bread basket.
A glass cloche which usually has plants underneath can look great used for food and provides a lovely focal point as well as protection from bugs.
All these are small ideas with a big impact. Think of your table not only in terms of providing food and drinks, but as a whole setup, a little like a romantic painting, and then go and have fun with it.
I hope these are helpful tips and you might adapt some of them for your next summer party.