Setting the Stage (and your table) for Sunny BBQs
Canadians are great lovers of the outdoors. Whether we hike, boat, spelunk or merely sit outside and enjoy a book (or a beverage), we can consider ourselves outdoorsy people. When the weather starts to heat up we eat and drink outside as early, and as long as possible. At temperatures where residents of other countries may hide inside under blankets, we Canadians are lighting patio heaters and putting on blankets and scarves. We need to embrace the warm weather when we can! (Am I speaking too much on my fellow Canadians' behalf? I figure since our favourite collective topic of casual conversation is weather; it might be a safe generalization ;-)
I’ve been staring at my back yard for the past few weeks just waiting for the time to put out deck chairs and umbrellas and FINALLY have our first meal outside. This weekend it was time for my family and I to kick off BBQ season. Yay! I thought I’d share my must-have entertaining items to Eat, Drink and Be Merry plus my Wicker Emporium inspiration mood board to see if it helps you set a sunny scene too.
Backyard Mood Board
I love the combination of bright red, beige and natural fibers. It’s a perfect complement to a natural green background. Blankets, candles, cushions and baskets complete the look of sophisticated yet casual relaxation. My mood board features a collection of Wicker Emporium outdoor goodies that you can use to decorate for the summer season AND be prepared for a good ole Canada Day BBQ.
1. Ikat Damask Placemat 2. San Tropez Striped Cushion Cover (indoor fabric) 3. Rectangle Storage Basket With Braided Band 4. Santa Barbara Armchair with Cushion & Ikat Damask Cushion Cover (indoor fabric). 5. San Tropez Striped Throw 6. Iron and Glass Candle Lantern 7. Hammered Metal Cutwork Pillar Candle Holder. 8. Santa Barbara Dining Table 9. Zig-Zag Indoor/Outdoor Rug.
Patio Party Planning
After getting the basics in place (patio/deck, eating table and chairs), here’s my list, in no particular order, of what you might also enjoy having for the perfect warm weather BBQ plus a few fun inspiration photos to get your creative outdoor juices flowing.
- Outdoor place mats in durable fabric for sunny days and humid evenings.
- Dishes and glasses sturdy enough not to blow away and not break so if they do catch wind it’s not the end of dinner. (I avoid disposable dishes to keep my garbage at a minimum.)
- Side tables to put serving dishes, beverages and/or dirty dishes.
- A serving tray is my number one tool for getting dinner on and off the table. One that’s pretty enough to stay out on a side table while you are eating is a real bonus.
- Glasses of course! Wine, water and après-dinner glasses in clear glass or heavy acrylic material.
- I love my glass water dispenser filled with ice cubes and limes.
- An ice cooler filled with ice for drinks AND ice that chills bottles or cans. I personally am not a fan of digging into the same batch of ice for chilling cans and floating into water glasses.
…And Be Merry
- A shady spot is a must when entertaining. An umbrella, gazebo or a shaded patio is the perfect topper for a relaxing meal.
- Blankets & outdoor rugs. My husband and I spent a vacation in Prague and man, oh man, did that city ever know how to embrace eating outdoors. I immediately came home and brought out blankets and pillows for every chair. An area rug is a nice to have too for keeping feet cozy and clean.
- A patio heater can be a bit of a luxury on a cool evening. I don’t necessarily think you need one, but for cool Spring and Fall evenings it’s really quite nice. Don’t cheap out on this patio accessory, or you’ll get what you paid for. I’m a case in point!
- Candles or outdoor lighting set the mood like nothing else. Glass lanterns, fairy lights in trees and mason jars filled with sand and tea lights are my favourites.
- And finally, don’t forget the music. A satellite radio station, a digital music playlist or a favourite radio station in the background will set a mood you’re looking to create.
Don’t forget shade if you’re entertaining during sunny parts of the day, nothing tastes worse with sangria than sunstroke.
Comfortable cushions on dining chairs help make the transition from dinner to lounging a no-brainer. Plus, there’s no need to buy more furniture than necessary, especially for a small outdoor area.
Match your flowers to your table accessories for a full-on designer touch. Or if you have a black thumb like me, choose nice container plants that are pre-grown by a nursery.
Even if you don’t live in a French courtyard you can still mimic the look with lights strung in the trees (give you Christmas lists a second season), a firebowl if your city allows it and a bottle of Bordeaux.