25 Tips for Dining Al Fresco

In preparation for my trip to Italia next week I have started to incorporate all things Italian into my everyday life: lots of pastas, buongiorno’s, and dinner outdoors. I always imagine dining al fresco to be this wonderfully calm experience full of delicious food, a sunset and the faint sounds of a mandolin playing in the background. Having 3 kids running around makes that difficult. Or maybe it makes it even more authentically Italian? No matter how wild and crazy or calm and romantic your dinner is, nothing beats enjoying a good meal with the ones you love under the warm summer sun. To get your dinner planning started off right, check out these 25 Tips for Dining Al Fresco. Buon appetito!

  • Starting with the Appetizer 1 of 25
    Starting with the Appetizer
    Start the dinner off with a small and delicious appetizer like a gourmet wine and cheese platter.
    Find out more at Country Living.
  • It’s All in the Lighting 2 of 25
    It's All in the Lighting
    Make torches out of wine bottles to light up the yard.
    Find out more at Design Sponge.
  • Seating Arrangements 3 of 25
    Seating Arrangements
    Don't be afraid to try something new like moving the seating to the floor on a hot summer evening.
    Find out more at Style Me Pretty.
  • Picking a Theme 4 of 25
    Picking a Theme
    Decide whether you want your dinner to have a rustic feel or a very elegant feel as you prepare to decorate.
    Find out more at William Sonoma.
  • Special Lighting 5 of 25
    Special Lighting
    Chinese lanterns create beautiful lighting for the special dinner.
    Find out more at Apartment Therapy.
  • Make Every Detail Count 6 of 25
    Make Every Detail Count
    Sew a few potholders for the special occasion. They are sure to stand out.
    Find out more at Prudent Baby.
  • Color Scheme 7 of 25
    Color Scheme
    The table setting is just as important as the delicious food. Go with a specific color scheme or bring in a collection of bright and happy colors for summer.
    Find out more at Belle Maison.
  • Wine Bag Gift 8 of 25
    Wine Bag Gift
    If you're going to the dinner, bring a wine gift bag for the host.
    Get the tutorial at Prudent Baby.
  • Mix and Match 9 of 25
    Mix and Match
    Try mixing and matching plates instead of having them all the same.
    Find out more at Wood Wool Stool.
  • Unique Tablecloth Solutions 10 of 25
    Unique Tablecloth Solutions
    If you don't have a tablecloth, decorate the table with rows of ribbons and lace.
    Find out more at Ada and Darcy.
  • Your Dinner Table 11 of 25
    Your Dinner Table
    A small table can make for an intimate and romantic atmosphere for the two of you.
    Find out more at Modern Girls and Old Fashioned Men.
  • Creative Centerpiece 12 of 25
    Creative Centerpiece
    Try to avoid using standard vases and get creative by putting succulents in goblets.
    Find out more at Country Living.
  • Save Money Where You Can 13 of 25
    Save Money Where You Can
    Don't splurge on napkins when you can sew some up an hour before.
    Find out more at Prudent Baby.
  • Buffet Style 14 of 25
    Buffet Style
    Spend time planning out the buffet table to make sure it looks just right.
    Check it out at Haus Design.
  • Staying Nice and Cozy 15 of 25
    Staying Nice and Cozy
    Provide your guests with light blankets for when the sun starts to set.
    Find out more at Everything Fab.
  • Don’t Forget Place Cards 16 of 25
    Don't Forget Place Cards
    Come up with new ways to display your place cards like placing them around delicious treats.
    Find out more at Martha Stewart Weddings.
  • Choosing Seats 17 of 25
    Choosing Seats
    Have fun with your seating, it does not all need to be the same.
    Find out more at Joy and Me.
  • Food Station 18 of 25
    Food Station
    Set up a food station on the side for your guests to go back and get seconds of dinner or appetizers.
    Find out more at Sunday Suppers.
  • Keep the Bugs Away 19 of 25
    Keep the Bugs Away
    Nobody wants bites or bugs crawling all over them while they eat, so try to use a natural alternative way to keep them away.
    Find out more at Apartment Therapy.
  • Wine Bottle Serving Trays 20 of 25
    Wine Bottle Serving Trays
    These make for a great gift and an adorable cheese platter.
    Check it out at Hometone.
  • Sticking to Vintage 21 of 25
    Sticking to Vintage
    A cute and inexpensive way to add vintage charm to your table is using mason jars for cups.
    Find out more at Design Sponge.
  • Keep It Simple 22 of 25
    Keep It Simple
    If simplicity is more your style, you don't need to get elaborate on the decor; just focus on the beautiful nature around you.
    Find out more at Inthralld.
  • Flower Pot Serving Trays 23 of 25
    Flower Pot Serving Trays
    Use flower pots as rustic serving trays.
    Check it out at Martha Stewart.
  • Tea Lights for the Table 24 of 25
    Tea Lights for the Table
    A great way to illuminate the table with a gorgeous glow is by using tea lights.
    Find out more at We Heart It.
  • Don’t Forget Dessert 25 of 25
    Don't Forget Dessert
    Nothing tops off a delicious dinner like an even more delicious and beautiful dessert display.
    Find out more at Intimate Weddings.

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