Dining al fresco need not be a chore, or an expensive endeavor. An outdoor rustic themed dinner party or wedding reception can most certainly be done on the cheap. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tidbits related to rustic outdoor entertaining...
Start With The Basics
Rustic means simple, so don't get too fussy with your decor. This is supposed to be fun. Yes, a rugged farmhouse table made from reclaimed wood would be perfect- but a folding table from the local discount mart will also work! You'll just need the right tools to disguise it. Start with a generous layer of burlap, denim, or gingham fabric or use a ready made tablecloth in one of these fabrics. We carry a nice and affordable Burlap Natural Rectangle Tablecloth in a large size that works great as a base layer (see the first photo above). This provides a neutral backdrop that will make your colorful country table linens and accessories really pop. This layered look can be used for a large buffet table, or seated parties as well. Next comes the fun part - check out some juicy ideas for the top layer...
Bang For Your Buck
For the top, layer on a bold and colorful country tablecloth. A larger scale print will make a bigger impact, so think big and don't be afraid to add some color. A classic blue or red color scheme really can't be beat. Affordable gingham tablecloths can be easily located in most stores during the summer, so you should have plenty of options. Don't worry if they size is not a perfect match for the table. Your base layer should fully cover the table, so feel free to turn your tablecloths on the diagonal or layer one on top of the other for a casual country look. One of our favorite tablecloths for this would be the Down Home Plaid Tablecloth, shown in the first picture above. Another cool option would be a reproduction Vintage Style Tablecloth. These colorful prints are really fun and popular for summer gatherings. The pic directly above shows a a few assorted designs (unfortunately some shown here have been discontinued by the manufacturer, but they have added a few new ones since this photo was taken.) The "vintage look" is always better than real vintage linens when decorating for dinner parties. Life is messy!
Details Make The Difference
To really give your party a rustic country feel, you'll want to add a few high impact visual elements to your tablescape. Flowers are a mainstay of any dinner party or wedding reception, so make sure yours carry on the rustic theme. Sunflowers, daisies, and English roses will give a uniquely country feel to the setting. Also, clusters of wildflowers and assorted greenery will do the same. Make the most of your vase as well- choose something like folksy like Mason jars, tin cans, old pitchers or milk bottles. We just love these floral frogs made to fit on regular Mason jars. They allow you to arrange your delightfully messy wildflowers into tidy little bouquets. What a cool idea!
Your tabletop display pieces should also reflect the down home country theme. Use baskets, tin pails or buckets to house food and utensils. For extra country bling line them with contrasting napkins or dishtowels. (Try one of our vintage style dishtowel sets for this- they come with 3 or 4 assorted towels that can be mixed and matched to create a really cute table.) This tablescape uses our Berries Jubilee Vintage Style Dishtowel Set and the Down Home Plaid Tablecloth.
Here's another adorable Mason jar accent- this one is a card holder that can be used to label your tasty home cooked dishes, or as a place card holder for seated dinners. So cute!
And don't forget the drink table. This vintage style metal tub will hold ice and drinks for any backyard gathering or Sunday dinner on the grounds!
It's A Great Time To Be Country
Remember when Barbara Mandrell sang, "I was country, when country wasn't cool". Well, guess what? Country is now very cool. It's everywhere, so it's really easy to whip up an authentic country dinner and invite a few folks over to sit a spell. Well, it's easy to decorate- the cooking part remains a challenge at our house! But I think that's why God created KFC!
Anyway, that's all for now. Please check out our website when you can. We've got a ton of country style bedding, table linens, curtains and assorted country decor- all handpicked and tested by our family. We would love to pack up a box of goodies for your next shindig : )
~ So stay cool, and enjoy the summer!