Outdoor dining with friends is just the best way to while away a balmy summer evening - sip sun downer cocktails before dinner, a delicious light evening meal followed by after-dinner drinks around a fire pit - the perfect summers evening!
Here we look at how to dine in style whether it be indoors or al fresco - whether just a get together with close family and friends, a big birthday bash or another milestone celebration. We hope our top summer dining tips will help you hit the nail on the head when it comes to summer entertaining.
1 - Glamourous tableware
More than ever before we are all enjoying and valuing the time we spend with our friends and family, so if you're entertaining, really roll out the red carpet. There is nothing more wonderful for your guests than walking into your dining room or garden and seeing a stunning dining table set ready for them to feast at - we do after all eat with our eyes first.
In the summertime, especially in the garden, use beautiful glass dishes to make use of any natural light - at lunch, in the midday sun, it will look blue and at sundown, it will take on the pinky colours of the sunset sky. If you have lights on or hanging over your garden table your glass dishes will continue to sparkle throughout the night.
If you choose to dine indoors then sparkly glass dishes work wonderfully against a rustic dining table and chairs - the contrast of sparkly glass and rustic wood just works so well.
2 - Set a theme
Opting for a themed table is sometimes seen as being a bit predictable but why not? Choosing a theme brings cohesion to the dining table. Whether you are dining indoors at a homely farmhouse table, or outdoors around the garden table you can go for a rustic farmhouse theme - dried or fresh cut flowers and rustic earthenware dishes are a winning and on-trend combo for summer dining.
You can also set a summer colour theme for your dining space and opt for blue or green fabric dining chairs. If you have a wooden extendable dining table and a wooden dining bench then dress the bench with colour coordinated cushions and use this colour to blend or add contrast to the plates and serving dishes you use.
3 - Light it up
To host the perfect dinner party you need ambience and atmosphere - the ambience is created by the surroundings you are in and the atmosphere will be created by your dinner guests.
Great lighting is your best friend when it comes to creating the perfect ambience. Work out where your guests will sit and spend time and add your main lighting source there - layer the lighting so you have a brighter area for serving and eating but then have the option to switch off or dim some lights as the evening wears on. A wooden sideboard is the perfect piece of reclaimed wood furniture for the dining room - use the top to add light features like some twinkling fairy lights in a glass bowl - you can place this under a wall mirror to make the light reflect around the room. Hang fairy lights around wall art and use them as the centrepiece on your wooden dining table.
Candles are of course the classic way to bring in ambient lighting - candle flames flickering will always get the mood right for a dinner party - whether it is indoors or out. Everything is softened and looks less harsh in flickering candlelight.
Lighting in the garden can be in the form of string lights, solar lights, festoon lighting or lanterns. If you have a fire pit, it is the perfect source for late-night mooda lighting.