One Outdoor Table, Three Great Party Ideas
The Party Table Stylists
Laurel Walter (left) and Jennifer Bright of Ashland, Oregon, mixed common household items with worth-it splurges. Check out the beautiful tables they created!
Party Idea 1: Romantic Woodland Supper
Conjure up a lush scene that feels fairy-tale enchanted — yet not too formal — with glowing candlelight, untamed greenery, and a flora-and-fauna motif.
Centerpiece: Walter and Bright achieved drama without spending big on flowers. Foliage snipped from the garden — plus just a few white blossoms — gives this arrangement its loose, lush look.
Linens: A white matelassé bedspread makes an elegant stand-in for a tablecloth. Color comes from green napkins — draped at the edge of the table rather than sitting primly next to each plate.
Lighting: Instead of pricey store-bought lanterns, Walter and Bright repurposed glass kitchen jars as candleholders.
Invitation: Little touches like ribbon and a tube mailer add up to a truly special delivery.
A Romantic Setting
Place Setting: The fanciful theme really takes flight thanks to plates and menu cards adorned with winged creatures. Fern fronds serve as natural placemats.
Favor: A small box of chocolates becomes even sweeter when wrapped in pretty paper and topped off with a flea-market brooch.
Party Idea 2: French Country Fete
Timeless striped linens, rattan accents, and citrusy colors evoke a midday meal in the Provence countryside.
Centerpiece: A basket piled high with fruit works as both an easy-to-achieve focal point and a refreshing dessert.
Linens: Turned widthwise, traditional Basque runners create a casual play on placemats.
Lighting: Lamp-shaped votive holders bring interior panache outside with a sense of humor. Terra-cotta pots supply an earthy spot for pillar candles.
Invitation: Push the envelope — aside, that is, and opt for a box mailer. A rattan-trim card promises a sophisticated but laid-back night.
Place Setting: Bright and Walter mixed it up by pairing vividly patterned salad dishes with witty ceramic takes on the plain white paper plate.
Favor: Say merci with a pyramid-shaped gift box (the perfect size for bonbons) and a gracious tag.
Party Idea 3: Sunset Fish Fry
With blues and greens reminiscent of a rambling river, plus camp-inspired accessories (metal plates, classic lanterns), this tablescape is sure to reel guests right in.
Centerpiece: Brimming with dill and Queen Anne's lace, an old fishing creel finds new use as a planter, and a vintage store display gets reborn as a menu holder.
Linens: A camp blanket doubles as an unexpectedly lovely summertime tablecloth.
Lighting: Once the sun goes down, fire up these iconic lanterns to inspire a few after-dinner ghost stories.
Fish Fry Invites
Invitation: Guests will angle to RSVP when they receive this balsa-wood card nestled in a fly-fishing tin.
Fish Fry Setting
Place Setting: Metal dishware plays up the rustic vibe, as does a laminated fishing map-turned-placemat.
Favor: Bright and Walter splurged on this painted trout-shaped box, popping in a handful of Swedish fish candy for a cheeky treat.