Fall for Outdoor Entertaining this Autumn
Aaaah, autumn! It’s the perfect time to entertain outdoors — most of the bugs are gone, the sun isn’t scorching even though it’s warm enough to enjoy an afternoon or evening al fresco, and there’s a bounty of good things to serve for an outdoor meal. Because the days are shorter in the autumn, outdoor entertaining in the fall calls for special attention to lighting and temperature.
The earlier sunset will afford you an ideal opportunity to bathe your outdoor space in evening lights. Use soft light, but use plenty of it. Try dozens of votive candles in jars and glasses to protect the flame from the wind, hurricane lamps, or kerosene lanterns set on low. Create cozy seating areas and equip each with a glowing light source.
The method you’ll use to chase the chill from the night will vary depending on your climate and your outdoor space. The use of outdoor fire creates a wonderful informal party setting. This focal point in the yard is a great place for guests to gather around.
A patio heater is another great way to add warmth to the evening. These units are available in a range of heating powers and prices. Another great idea is to drape attractive throws or quilts on each chair for your guests to wrap around their shoulders to ward off the night air.
Autumn’s colours are deep and rich — russet, crimson, burnt orange and gold. Use these hues repeatedly in tablecloths and settings, flowers, centerpieces, and even the food. Scoop out pumpkins, squash or large apples and fill to use as vases or containers for soup and/or cider. Use orange Chinese lanterns, bright rosehips, stems of red or orange berries, or chilies. Wrap vibrant maple or sumac leaves around votive candle holders or napkin rings. Sunflower heads can be strewn on the tabletop, or left on the flower stalks in a container.
If you’re hosting a fancy sit-down outdoor dinner, use the subtler textures of hydrangea blossoms and colored leaves on a linen tablecloth. Try bringing your indoor dining table outdoors for the evening-it will add unexpected elegance to your setting. Paint gold lettering on small gourds to use as place cards. Grace your table with late-blooming roses in crystal vases.
Whether you hold a harvest hoedown or a stylish sit-down dinner party for eight, fall for outside entertaining this autumn!