ENTERTAINING DINNER GUESTS WITHOUT A FORMAL DINING ROOM
Formal dining rooms are out and additional living space is in! Most of us don’t have a designated dining room anymore but we still need somewhere to sit and eat dinner when we host our family and friends. Enter the perfect INformal “dining room”, AKA, your enclosure. There is nothing more relaxing than enjoying a home cooked meal outside without having to worry about bugs, leaves, or dirt ruining your food. Dining outside of the traditional spaces of your home can really bring a casual and cozy approach to mealtime.
So how can you transform your backyard living area into a place to enjoy meals with family and friends quickly and with little effort? Simple, add a table, some chairs, set the table, and add food! Really though, it’s that simple.
Most enclosures and covered patios run the length of the home making them longer than they are wide. For this reason I usually suggest a long table rather than a square or round table, especially if you are hosting more than four people. This will allow you and your guests to move around more comfortably without feeling crowded. (But any table will work! You don’t need to rush out and buy a new table.) Creating an elegant dining table is as simple as a collapsible table covered with linen. If you don’t have a tablecloth that you’re in love with consider looking through your linen closet and picking out a sheet that has textures you like or colors that match your theme or the season. A textured sheet or one with a bold
color is a creative way to add character and charm to your outdoor dining area.
Once you’ve selected a table cover you can set the table. I always choose plate chargers rather than placemats to class the place settings up a little. Each setting should also include a napkin and silverware. Keep the cleanup easy and use disposable for both of these. You can find disposable linen napkins at your local party supply store.
A good host knows their guest would rather spend time with them as opposed to watching them do dishes after dining together. Even as the host, you should still enjoy your company. After all, your guests have come over to spend time with you! Keep it easy!
A few finishing touches and you’ll have the perfect space to host dinner without a formal dining room. Grab a vase and fill it with flowers and plants you are able to find in your yard. It doesn’t have to be perfectly designed to make for the perfect centerpiece.
If you have extra space and want to add another centerpiece, do it! And don’t be scared to use some flowers, vines, or pieces of twigs in your place settings or silverware to tie it all together.
One last thoughtful detail that goes a long way is personalized place cards for each guest. These can be simple and don’t require a whole lot of effort on your part – Let’s face it, you’re already really busy hosting your dinner party!
(Place cards are a great way to get the kids involved too! The little ones will love decorating personalized cards for each of your guests.)
Don’t be scared to have fun and get a little creative. Make it a themed event and decorate your table to the theme. The time and effort it takes will be worth the smiling faces and lasting memories!