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Outdoor Entertaining Tablescape Ideas

I don’t know about you, but the thought of preparation and planning for a BIG Party – throws me for a loop and sets my mind into information overload.

When I first got engaged, some of the ladies I worked with (at the time) were gracious enough to buy me a Wedding Planning Book as an Engagement Gift. I was so excited and thought that was such a kind and caring gift! (Little did they know that I took one look, glanced through it, and had a complete panic attack!

I’m a “detail” person and I love lists…. (Well, at least I did…then.) But having someone tell me the forks need to be 1/2″ from the edge of the table and the lineup of the people shouldn’t be by height but by when they last brushed their teeth, LOL (procession). Oh, and here are 47 more checklists – ugh, it just blew me away.

Needless to say, I put the book on the shelf and never looked at it again! (BTW – I also didn’t marry the guy!) Jinx. (Must have been)!

Anyway, this is a casual website, so I will give you the best advice I can to keep it simple. When it comes to planning parties or get togethers – whether big or small – don’t let it stress you out. A small amount of planning and preparation will suffice. And, as with the cooking, let it come from the heart. Do it with love and celebration.

You’re doing this to have fun with family and friends. But, you also don’t have to slap down some paper plates and dixie cups and call it a day.

You also don’t have to spend a fortune to make your tablescape look nice.

So, if you’ve always wanted to throw a really nice, cute party. Give this a try. People eat with their eyes, but if you set the mood, they may just start taking pictures and it will be an event they’ll never forget.

The basics (if you care to obsess):


Since a new Barbecue Season is approaching, I will start you off with Spring and Summer Tablescape Ideas and a quick Punch-List.


  • Occasion: First you need the occasion. Is it a Birthday party? Tea party? Get together? Family dinner? Formal? ** Write it down. Item #1.
  • Research: Just spend a few minutes on Pinterest or search Google Images. Just simply type in the name of the occasion and the word “tablescape” or “table settings”. (i.e.: Easter Spring Tablescape) **Just look. See what’s on trend and then bookmark or pin it. Make mental notes of what it is about the visual you like. (For example: I like the color of these and the shape of this). That will set the tone/feeling/mood of what you are visualizing. And, by marking it, you can always go back to it and look again to decide.
  • Set Desired Color Theme.


  • Take Stock. Assess your inventory: Look around your house and see what you have. First, the obvious kitchen and table items, but don’t forget all the “I love it, had to have it” items you never used. (Even if it’s not the right color or shape. That can always be changed). The point here is that you do not have to go out and buy all new stuff. If you spent 10 minutes outdoors on a sunny day to paint it, you may have saved $100. Use what you have, then:
  • Set a Budget.
  • Determine Needs. The obvious:

Dinner plates
Salad plates


Serving Platters
Serving Bowls
Serving Utensils

Tablecloths or place mats?

Napkin ring holders?
Fresh or Silk flowers?
Centerpiece*** – flowers, vegetables or knick-knacks?
Other decorative items you could pull from other rooms
Take home gift – Is always nice. A placeholder, napkin holder, trinket (check our store!), candy, a doggie bag, something the kids made, etc.

*** When it comes to centerpieces you can have one main piece such as a flower arrangement, or a trail of small items spaced across the table. Never, oh never, put a huge towering candle or elaborate arrangement. (I can’t tell you how many weddings that I have gone to, where they did that. I couldn’t see or speak to the people on the other side of the table!! Bad idea. It’s supposed to be a Social).

  • Make your List of What is “Needed”.



  • Finalize the Plan. Scribble out what you have visualized, marked, have and wanna but. Create your own ideas and flair. Give things a twist and make it your own!
  • The Base Concept: Then put out as much as you can in preparation the day before (if possible), so you can focus on what is really important. The FOOD! Hopefully, if your lucky like me, your partner will help with the meal prep! (in my house, he focuses on the Que and I do the Sides and the Hosting. BTW – this one I DID marry! cause he doesn’t Stress over the Mess! And YES – there will be a mess when it’s all said and done! but, hey – That’s a sign of an awesome party people!
  • Last Tips:

Leave enough elbow room (move the condiments to a separate table if you have to).
Make sure there is enough room for platters and your best grub!

Now, onto the FUN part. The visuals.





Many thanks to all our friends on Pinterest who join us Daily for the Internet’s “JUST Browsing” Community! If you want to partake in this network, give us a FOLLOW.

See what we see! at:

Grab or Pin the Infographic:

Tablescape Planning Punchlist

Tablescape Planning & Ideas by Pitmaster Cook


We’d love to see your photo’s of before and after THE PARTY. Do share!

L.O.L. Have FUN! Don’t forget to Subscribe!


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