Summer Table Settings for Outdoor Entertaining

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With Memorial Day quickly approaching, now’s the time to reinvent your strategy for outdoor entertaining. Images of fancy table settings and elaborately themed décor can be seductive, so remember, not every event calls for such detailed planning. Rather, define an easy game plan that can be tweaked and applied as needed from brunch to barbeques to birthdays. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Keep a cache of containers on hand

Easy Entertaining
Image: (Left) Style Me Pretty, (Right) Calder Clark

As with interior design, the key to stylish entertaining is organization. So, invest in a collection of versatile containers that can be used in any setting. Include varying sizes to accommodate everything from ice to cutlery to flowers to food. For example, I have an assortment of glass vases that I use to display flowers, candles, candy… whatever the occasion calls for! Mason jars are especially multifunctional. They can be easily dressed up or down with ribbon or craft paper.

Use ready-made labels, tags, and place cards

Outdoor Entertaining
Image: (Left) Lamiavita BLog, (Right) Eat Drink Chic

Not only do labels and place cards convey information (i.e., menu items, specialty drinks, seating arrangements, etc.), they also provide an easy opportunity to add a decorative touch. Use printer-friendly labels for a professional finish or handwriting to keep it casual. Stationery and office supply stores offer a range of fuss-free products, but if you’re feeling crafty, try downloadable templates like this "Bon Appetit" cutlery tag.

Make the most of supermarket flowers

Flower Arraignments
Image: Bergdorf Goodman

Expensive flowers are beautiful but not always necessary. Sometimes a quick trip to your local grocer is all you need! Most experts recommend buying one type of flower or separating mixed bouquets by type or color. When creating arrangements, turn to your collection of containers for quick party décor.

In short, entertaining should be enjoyable! Look for simple ways to add impact, not anxiety, and ensure your level of effort is appropriate for the occasion.

What are your go-to tips for stress-free entertaining?

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Desiré is a designer, blogger, and lover of all things glamorous. Though primarily a self-taught decorator, Desiré studied at The Art Institute, where she honed a distinct aesthetic largely influenced by the Modern Glamour movement, the theme of her popular design blog, Sukio. Not only is she considered a "closet fashionista," discreetly stashing handbags and shoes whenever possible, but, as an MIT graduate, she’s also an undercover nerd. Fashion, nerdom, and several years as a Washingtonian have combined to shape her unique perspective on interior design.