The Ultimate Al Fresco Dinner Party

Is there anything that beats a seemingly endless summer night shared with friends and family? As warm evenings are here to stay for the next several weeks, al fresco dinner parties become the norm. Borrowed from the Italian meaning “in the open air,” al fresco dining is the perfect way to host a chic, elegant gathering.

When it comes to outdoor dining, many people think of barbeque-style meals—but why not impress your guests with something a little more special? Whether you have a screened-in porch or a simple backyard, al fresco dining can be easily accomplished.

By combining atmospheric elements, cohesive design, and fresh, elegant food, your guests will feel relaxed and be sure to stay awhile. To help get you started, here are some tips on planning the ultimate al fresco dining experience.

Bringing Nature To Your Table Setting

Since al fresco is about embracing the charm of the outdoors, don’t hesitate to incorporate nature into your decor. Adding a bouquet to your table setting creates unity. We suggest focusing on one bloom and one color palette to make the party elegant. For your placemats, use natural materials such as rattan or bamboo and and spice things up with copper silverware. This provides a natural feel without feeling forced.

You can also consider redoing your outdoor space in bigger terms. Giving your patio a makeover can help contribute to your overall atmosphere. And bringing personalized style to your patio or porch will make your space feel more unique and comfortable.

“Clearly defining the outdoor dining space is the key to creating a more al fresco atmosphere,” said Suzanne Allen Sabo from Allen-Guerra Architecture. “This can be done through the architecture and landscape architecture, or as simply as changing patio and decking materials and potted plants.”

Ambience with Lighting

Don’t skimp on the lighting. Whether you use candles or electric lights, lighting is an integral part of producing an al fresco mood. Make sure to stick with downlights, as having too many spotlights will create harsh lighting. If you have a porch that requires at least one strong light, add in recessed lighting or dimmers, so you have the option to turn the lights down as needed. Cafe-style hanging lights are also a great option when hosting in your backyard. Paired with hurricane candles on the table, it will create a Tuscany vibe right in your own home!

Accessorize your Outdoor Space

When preparing your patio to create an al fresco evening, don’t forget to accessorize. Accessories bring a room together—and outdoor spaces are no different. If you want to make the space feel homey, try placing a rug underneath your patio furniture. This makes the space cozier and cohesive. Be sure to invest in a rug that is outdoor friendly and will last through any kind of weather.

If you’re looking to make the space feel even more romantic and ethereal, consider using a canopy to cover your backyard table. Building a canopy of your own is very simple, or you can purchase one pre-built. Canopies can also add shade or shelter for unwanted weather and create a relaxing environment for you and your company to enjoy.

For this summer season, why not spruce up your outdoor location and host an al fresco evening of your own? It’s a great time to spend more time outdoors and feel classy while doing so.

Want more information on interior lighting and other design inspiration? Contact Suzanne Allen Sabo at 970.453.7002 ext. 1 or


Categories: Entertaining