I’m so excited that spring is fully in swing and summer is just around the corner.  I’ve teamed up with World Market for today’s post on making the most of your outdoor spaces by hosting some Alfresco Get-Togethers! I love World Market’s tip on making the most of your outdoor space and I hope you will check them out. Big Thanks to World Market for sponsoring today’s post!
I just got home from Charleston where I attended and spoke at the The Southern C Summit. Every speaker was so inspiring but the quote I will always remember came from Eddie Ross‘ wonderful presentation.  He said, “Entertaining with out the proper tools is like trying to paint with out brushes.” That certainly hit a chord with me because I love collecting and using my tools for entertaining.  So today’s post is inspired by Eddie’s quote and I hope will provide inspiration and a clear list of all of the tools you will need for your next out-door entertaining event.
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Setting the Stage
Let’s start with the table and seating!  One of my favorites Alfresco entertaining tips is included in the World Market list: Maximize seating by using benches.  I love this tip!  One of the wonderful things about alfresco entertaining is the casual and easy-going atmosphere but that also means that a few extra people might stop by or maybe a guest will bring a guest.  I don’t ever mind that.  I believe that more is merrier but it can certainly throw your table setting a curve ball!  Not if you use benches! Add cushions and have some  extra stools, like this classic blue wicker all-weather stool, around so that all of your guests can gather together and find a seat.  I love both the style and the practicality of this table and bench from World Market that were inspired by the outdoor Beer Gardens in Germany.  The blue steel frame adds a pop of color and is collapsable so you can easily store it away or set it up anywhere!  Don’t forget to ground it all with a fantastic out-door rug.  If you are going to be dining after dark, consider adding a few strings of these Edison style lights to your patio.  We added these last year and we love the charm and atmosphere they bring to the space. 

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Topping the Table  
Have you ever tried an oilcloth tablecloth?  They are great for outdoors because you can wipe them off easily.  I love the bright blues and great designs of this one from World Market.  Now, you know how I love linens so I rarely use paper napkins but a casual outdoor get-together certainly calls for a large stack of well designed paper napkins.  There are so many pretty options for paper napkins so, if you are going to skip the linen, spend some time looking for a pretty design that coordinates with the rest of your table design.  Line a few of these live lemon cyprus globes or live ivy topiaries in burlap sacs down the center of your table for an easy centerpiece that will last all season. 

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Food Service
For outdoor entertaining, I love to mix my nice serving pieces in pottery and porcelain with some more practical pieces like this coconut salad serving bowl.   I love these melamine plates and bowls for an outdoor buffet too!  They are perfect for a casual get together and you don’t have to worry about chips or breaks on your patio!  Don’t forget to keep some trays in your tool box for entertaining.  They are perfect for carrying things from kitchen to outdoor table or for gathering condiments, napkins and utensils on a side table.
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Drinks

Large galvanized buckets are essentail alfresco entertaining tools.  I love to keep a few on hand and fill them to the brim with ice and drinks.  I try to keep the alcoholic beverages separate from the waters and juices so that the children know which bucket they can grab from.  I also like to fill large Mason Jar style glass dispensers with Iced Tea and Lemonade.  It is an easy way to let your guests keep their own cups filled. If you want something a little bit more formal, opt for this pineapple shape!  So darling and the pineapple is a classic symbol of hospitality.  If you are poolside or worried about breakage , I hope you will grab up some acrylic tumblers and glasses.  

Happy Hosting!

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