(Family Features) What do you get when you combine great food, good company and a beautifully set table? One truly memorable party.
No matter what the reason for the gathering, find your inspiration from the splendor found outdoors. Picture a rustic table set under the olive trees in the Italian countryside or warm, gentle breezes rustling through a gorgeous garden in the South of France. Nature draws you in, invites you to sit down and encourages you to savor special moments.
Create the same experience for your guests at your home. Set a wooden table under shaded trees or a covered patio then gather several chairs around. Keep decorations simple and let the natural elements set the mood.
There is something about flowers that instantly makes any gathering feel special. Place several large sunflowers into a vase for the center of the table – or trim the stems off your favorite blooms and float them in a large serving bowl. For another simple centerpiece, line several glasses or small bowls down the center of the table and place a single blossom in each. No flower arranging skills required.
Carry out the alfresco theme with dishes inspired by nature, such as Pistoulet dinnerware from Pfaltzgraff. Reminiscent of the light and colors of Southern France, the collection features colorful renderings of flowers, vines, and vegetables set against wide watercolor washes.
Here are few more easy tips to make your next outdoor party a charming and memorable event:
• Choose music that is light and uplifting. Make sure it isn’t so loud that guests can’t carry a conversation.
• If you use a tablecloth or runner, strategically place small bowls or serving pieces, such as a Pistoulet Le Petite Platter, around the table to keep the cloth secure.
• Slip sprigs of green inside the folds of the napkins for a decorative touch. Tuck flatware inside the napkins to help keep the linens from blowing off the table.
• Mix earthy elements into the table decor. Make your party a winner, naturally, by adding pinecones, moss, or small flowers to decorative Pistoulet bowls.
• Select several smooth stones and write each guest’s name on them. These organically chic place cards make a memorable party favor.
• Serve a signature drink named after the theme or celebration of the party.
• Place votive candles in clear containers or glasses for a casual, romantic glow.
The secret to great entertaining is keeping things simple. Parties should be uncomplicated, easy and just as much fun for the hosts as it is for the guests. Start with a simple menu and then get everyone outdoors to enjoy the splendor of warm breezes, lush trees and colorful flowers.
For more information, recipes, and table setting ideas, visit www.Pfaltzgraff.com.