Guide to the Ultimate Outdoor Dinner Party

Fruit board

Good company, delicious food, and the beauty of a balmy evening – is there anything better? Hosting a dinner al fresco is a time-honored way to gather friends and family in the summer, one that we try to do as often as possible. From a patio to a table under the stars in your backyard, there are lots of ways to create a memorable evening. 

Here are some of our favorite tips to help you host an outdoor dinner party to remember.

Outdoor tableware

Mix and Match Your Tableware

Don’t stress too much about having everything match on your table. Lean into summer’s laid back approach by using different styles of plates, serving dishes, glassware and utensils to create an eclectic mix. Try to use coordinating colors or motifs that can bring everything together, or embrace the vibrancy of summer by mixing a rainbow of bright colors. For simple centerpieces, fill large bowls with lemons, limes and oranges, or pick fresh flowers from your garden.

Use Your Indoor Furniture If Needed

Don’t let limited outdoor furniture options hold you back from hosting outside! Certain indoor furniture items can be repurposed to suit your outdoor needs. If you don’t have enough seating, for example, you can definitely pull stools and certain chairs outside for the event. Just make sure to bring them back inside once the party is over!

Indoor/Outdoor Furniture
Comfortable Outdoor Seating

Set Up Comfortable Seating

Hard metal cafe chairs and wrought iron benches might look beautiful, but they aren’t ideal when you are hosting an event where people will be sitting for hours. Be sure to put cushions where everyone will be sitting and consider adding a few comfy ottomans or armchairs to your outdoor seating area. If you know it’s going to get chilly at night, add a few blankets – your guests will thank you.

Make It Easy For Guests to Help Themselves  

Particularly if you have a large group coming to your dinner, it can be a lot for you to manage on your own. To ensure you won’t be filling plates and glasses all evening, set up a self-serve buffet where guests can mingle and sample different dishes at their leisure. This will take some of the pressure off of you as the host, allowing you to enjoy the party alongside your guests.

Patio dining furniture
Outdoor Bar Area

Set Up a Fun Bar Area

On that note, you can also stock a self-serve bar where guests can top up their drinks whenever they need. Fill a stylish bar cart or a small table with glassware, mixers, garnishes, wine and spirits. You can even create a pre-made signature cocktail for the evening, which can be poured from a glass drink dispenser. Having a bar station also creates a place for your guests to gather and mingle when they aren’t at the table.

Hosting the Perfect Dinner Party Starts at GDC

Bringing people together to share food, swap stories, and relax by the pool is one of the best ways to spend your summer. We’re here to help make it happen. Stop by any of our three Charleston home stores to explore our large collection of outdoor furniture, decor, and tableware. Cheers to a memorable evening under the open sky!

Shop the Look

Teak Dining Table

Monica Dining Table

The Monica Dining Table is a 100% Grade A Teak table that compliments both vintage style home decor and modern dining room furniture.

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striped pillow

Nevis Outdoor Pillow

This pieced pillow in soft chambray and indigo is a contemporary update to a classic stripe.

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Wooden Bench

Melia Backless Bench

This indoor/outdoor bench is the perfect addition to any backyard or porch. It’s crisp light color blends seamlessly with any existing furniture you have.

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Blue and White painted Dining Set

Santorini Place Setting

Liven up your everyday dinner parties with the playful designs of the Santorini Assorted 12-Piece Place Setting.

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Explore more of our latest styles and keep up-to-date with design trends by following GDC Home on our social platforms below. View our gallery and use the hashtag to find your next design inspiration!