For any type of outdoor entertaining, there are a few key things that can make your party go off with a bang. Read on for the seven essentials you need to organise a fabulous alfresco dinner party!
1. The space.
First, you need to make sure that you have adequate space that is properly set-up. If you plan on regularly dining alfresco, you might like to invest in some weather-resistant outdoor furniture. This could be a full table and chairs set, or perhaps some nice lawn chairs and a low table for relaxing towards the end of your party.
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If your alfresco dining is more ad hoc, instead of purchasing new furniture, you can simply relocate your existing indoor dining set outdoors temporarily. This is not only a simple solution but it also helps to set the theme for your dinner party. Depending on the style of your dining setting, you might have the basis for a lovely rustic theme or perhaps something more modern.
2. Embrace your environment.
Regardless of what your theme is, one of the best parts about dining al fresco is enjoying all that the outdoors has to offer. When you have decided on your theme, there are many ways that you can embrace the outdoors during your dinner party.
One idea is to have beautiful floral centrepieces that complement your table setting and your garden. A pretty and inexpensive way to create a centrepiece is to cut fresh flowers and shrubbery right from your own garden. Another idea is to plan your menu around the fruits, veggies and herbs in your garden. That way, you and your guests will not only enjoy incredibly fresh produce but will also appreciate where it has come from.
3. An alfresco kitchen.
Imagine how fantastic, not to mention convenient, it would be to have a fully functioning second outdoor kitchen, so there’s no need to duck inside and miss out on all the dinner party fun! For a highly functional outdoor kitchen you’ll need bench space for food prep, a BBQ or induction cooktop, mini fridge, cupboards to store chopping boards, crockery, cutlery, cleaning products and other utensils, as well as a small kitchen sink to wash your homegrown fruits, veggies and herbs, as well as your hands.
To achieve the plumbing in this new space, Saniflo’s Sanivite can help you. This small grey water pump carries waste water up to 50 metres back to the mains, giving you flexibility in choosing the location of your new alfresco kitchen addition.
4. Mood lighting.
In order to thoroughly enjoy your alfresco dinner party, regardless of the time of night or season, you’ll need to have adequate lighting. For lighting, candles, fairy lights and string lights create a lovely atmosphere with soft lighting. If fairy lights aren’t your thing, consider lanterns or even affixing some brighter, permanent lighting to your walls or ceiling, depending on where your alfresco dining area is situated.
Your alfresco dining area needs to have some sort of heating for those cooler nights. Depending on your space and what you prefer for heating, there are quite a few options. A classic option is a fire pit. A fire pit not only provides warmth but also offers a cosy spot to roast marshmallows and chat with guests following your main course.
For something even simpler, you might like to provide your guests with blankets allowing everyone to feel comfy and warm. For a more permanent option, an outdoor radiant ceiling heater or upright gas space heater might work for you.
6. A garden bar.
To really make your alfresco dinner party the best it can be, consider creating a garden bar or cocktail station. Like with your outdoor kitchen, a garden bar or cocktail station will allow you to stay outside socialising while serving your guests. Your garden bar can be as simple or sophisticated as you like.
For a simple option, consider using a high table or drinks trolley as your base, then line up some glasses, cocktail jugs and ice buckets for chilling wine, and finishing it off with some floral decorations to match your table setting. If you’re looking for something more advanced that is more of a permanent feature, Saniflo’s Sanivite can help you achieve a bar sink where you can wash your glasses.
7. Good company!
The most important aspect of any dinner party is good company. Once you have the foundations of a fabulous alfresco party, all that’s left is to invite your friends or family. Once everyone is all together, your alfresco dining set, locally grown produce, outdoor kitchen, lighting, heating, garden bar and so on will help to create a memorable evening.