Orange Napkins - 2 Outdoor Tables - A Warm Summer Glow

For those of us who suffer through cold, snowy winters, the wait for warm summer nights is as anticipated as Santa and his gifts.  It's the time of year when grilling and gathering are top of mind.  Entertaining outdoors can be as easy as grab a plate and line up at the BBQ. Or it can be as elaborate as a formal sit down dinner, and every notch in between.  As we wind down the summer and head into cooler days and crisp nights, enjoying early evening dinners is still a joy.  

After all the growth of the summer, flowers are still in full bloom. Our yard is like a fairy tale garden.

 The view of part of our yard as our guests dine on our patio.

The view of part of our yard as our guests dine on our patio.

 The view from the other side of the patio.

The view from the other side of the patio.

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With the yard so magical, I'm less inclined to just throw down some plates on the table, and more likely to toss even the most casual tablecloth down. Usually our outdoor events are daytime, but this time of year the weather is ideal for evening entertaining. Setting the mood doesn't require a great deal of effort.  I promise.

Keep in mind that you have to place out the plates, napkins, cutlery and glasses anyway. Tossing a tablecloth underneath, adding some candles and flowers takes but a few minutes more, and creates an entirely different scene.

The key to an evening setting is to create a warm glow.  

Lanterns and candles always up the ante and provide that glow that somehow makes it special.

 

 

When it comes to the flowers keep it simple.  Use what you've got.  I like going around our garden and snipping what's in bloom. 

 Our giving tree.

Our giving tree.

These were from our enormous hydrangea tree.  The voluminous flower bursts are originally white when in their prime bloom but late in the season turn sage green and dusty rose. They are perfect additions, building on to that warm glow. Without any fuss, simply cut down to size to fit into a few small vintage vases.  A simple touch of botanicals that mimic the movement on the tablecloth adding to the romantic feel.   Brighter orange napkins turned up the color factor while the green vintage glasses keep the style in a whimsical feel.  

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And since the weather is still glorious this time of year, there are those occasions when daytime events stretch lovingly into the evening.  For this day to night table setting, keep it festive for the day by adding a fun, colorful runner over a darker neutral.  Then add those same orange napkins for the color pop.  The florals for this setting mimic the boldness of the napkins and keep the eye from having too much to focus on. 

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 The most lively color rose picking up the bold strip in the playfully colored runner.

The most lively color rose picking up the bold strip in the playfully colored runner.

(When trying to coordinate color for your table, here's a helpful tip for casual entertaining moments.  Don't make yourself crazy searching for the perfect color combo.  Work backwards by choosing from the flowers that are readily available and then figure out what linens pair well.  You can always use monochromatic or white linens and allow the flowers to make the color statement.  I came to this conclusion after being disappointed when I had the linens all planned out then went to my florist looking for a specific flower or color, only to come up short.) 

 Family style serving goes a long way. Grilled steaks, rice, 3 bean salad, heirloom tomatoes and big salad bowl.

Family style serving goes a long way. Grilled steaks, rice, 3 bean salad, heirloom tomatoes and big salad bowl.

 Pink grapefruit cake. This was a  Better Homes & Garden recipe  that I tried.  I decided to cut my layers thinner to stack them up higher.

Pink grapefruit cake. This was a Better Homes & Garden recipe that I tried.  I decided to cut my layers thinner to stack them up higher.

Light up the candles.

Turn on the warmth.

Slice the cake.  

Transform a bold daytime setting into an evening full of candlelit glow.  

Then cheer to good friends and family.

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Enjoy the rest of the summer, and may you find time to find beauty wherever you may be.

 
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