I received a gift card to facilitate this outdoor entertaining ideas feature from Cost Plus World Market®; all opinions are my own.
My husband and been doing some renovations in our backyard for the last few months. He already works two jobs, and then he took on the project of replanting the grass, repairing and painting the deck, painting the siding, and putting in a brick walkway. He truly does work harder than anyone I know.
To celebrate the rejuvenation of our backyard and to thank him for all his hard work, I planned a deck party for our family. I haven’t done a lot of outdoor entertaining because it’s so hard to predict our weather here in Seattle and as it happens, our first party date was rained out.
The new party date was planned around the 7-day weather forecast and the family’s work schedules. The rescheduled day was not much of an improvement over the original date. It was a gray and overcast day and by the end of the night, we were all wrapped in blankets, beach towels, and whatever else we could dig up in the house.
Still, we were able to have a pretty fantastic deck party where I got to use some of my favorite coastal beach and seashore decor, and my sons pitched in with the BBQ & grilling duties, so it wasn’t too much work for me.
We’d just gotten furniture and outdoor pillows for the deck, so I concentrated on the food, drink, and decor for his special celebration.
Outdoor Entertaining Ideas: Food & Decor
The first thing I did was pull every teal, white, or blue item I own that might be useful in putting my relaxing coastal theme together. Then I went shopping to fill out the decor with paces from World Market. I started the design for the evening with lighting. I chose a string of Seaside-colored Lights which had large vintage-style round bulbs in green, blue, and clear. I didn’t know it when I bought them, but these lights have become my favorite part of our new backyard and are a permanent fixture.
Next I chose some blue candles with shells embedded into the wax plus a gigantic and dramatic Recycled Glass Pillar Candle Holder which you’ll be seeing again soon –it’s stunning and can be filled with fun items or left empty.
After I had the peaceful coastal seaside theme well under way, I started thinking about food. I knew I wanted to use a slider maker I’d seen while shopping so I quickly picked up some pesto and roasted red pepper sandwich sauce to use in my sliders recipe. I also picked up some sun-dried stuffed olives to pair with the sliders and then I needed to come up with something to serve in an Urchin Sea Life Bowl, which I fell in love with and had to have.
But it wasn’t long before I realized that I was going to have to pick up something to serve my guests on. I didn’t have enough matching plates and bowls at home, so I had to make the choice to purchase new ones or use paper, but I hated the thought of paper because of the waste. Thankfully World Market has a very affordable line of basic entertaining pieces including a fabulous set of white porcelain plates in both 8” and 10” sizes plus white stacking bowls so I added all of them to my cart as well (I filled three carts with items on this trip!). I theorized that these dinnerware pieces could be used for years, wouldn’t add to the landfill, and because they were white, would never go out of style, so they were a great purchase. I did have to give in and use paper beverage napkins instead of cloth napkins, only because I wasn’t able to find them at my local store. I will be adding them to my entertainment stockpile soon.
Outdoor Entertaining Ideas: Do-Ahead & Serve Yourself
I put together as much of the food and décor as I could before the party. Prepping the food the night before and early on the day of the party meant it was much easier to bring it all together when the guests arrived. Another time saver was putting out every decor item that I own that fit the theme so that when my mother arrived early to help, I just directed her to the pile of possibilities and she set about decorating the deck while I worked on the food that couldn’t be prepared ahead.
My mother arranged flowers, peony’s that were incredibly beautiful and so amazingly scented, in a capiz vase which was placed upon a pattern of color made from Blue Flour Sack Kitchen Towels. She took Sea Shells and Green Seaglass Vase Fillers and scattered them around buffet and drink station area to complete the theme throughout the deck area.
She decorated the drink station with bottles of wine, glasses, and beautiful Blue Glass Yorkshire Dispenser filled with Sparkling Lemonade plus a large and gorgeous Recycled Glass Pillar Candle Holder, which she surrounded with a starfish garland and sea shells. For the lighting we’d need later, she hung battery-operated paper lanterns. She placed the matching beverage napkins and then filled in the plant stand made over into a movable bar with potted plants. The wine was chosen because it fit the theme and was affordable – bottles of SeaGlass Riesling, SeaGlass Sauvignon Blanc, and The Beach House Sauvignon Blanc lent color to the party and was enjoyed by those who sipped them. Sadly they were enjoyed so much that I never got a chance to taste them – I guess that’s a good thing!
To make things easier, we also served buffet style. We added a table borrowed from our bedroom and placed under the plant shelf my husband built on the upper deck railing. We draped it with a blue table cloth and then a fish net. We set out the white porcelain plates, stacking bowls, silverware, and napkins and then filled in with sea shells, green sea glass vase filler, candles, lanterns, and the sea glass bottles I painted a few weeks ago. Then we scattered potted plants and flowers throughout.
Outdoor Entertaining Ideas: Make it Fun
To make sure the party was fun, I picked up some vintage toys and scattered them around for everyone to pick up, reminisce, and play with. These simple toys brought back a lot of fun memories of summer’s spent playing simple games.We loved the Wow Rackets and Lunar Launchers – we’re still shooting them at each other. We also enjoyed the Sock Monkey Yo-Yo and my husband, and I have played the Retro Rhymo Dominoes Game a few times. World Market’s online site has a ton of fabulous retro games to choose from that my store didn’t carry – I’m going to pick up a few to keep in a basket on the deck to remind us that it’s fun to play like we did when we were kids.
We also planned to make a homemade ice cream dessert but sadly after appetizers and the main course of barbecued chicken and grilled asparagus, no one had room for dessert. My husband and I ended up making it a few days later, and while it would have been fun to make it during the party as we’d planned, we managed to have a great time. We settled in and enjoyed the dessert on the deck, just the two of us and of course Instagrammed our sweet treat to those who missed out.
Outdoor Entertaining Ideas: Light It Up & Keep Comfy
As the evening progressed and the night took over, we donned blankets and lit candles. It was truly magical with lighting provided by battery-operated paper Lanterns, candles, and the Seaside-colored Lights. We stayed a long time at the table, enjoying each course, and worrying just a bit about the neighbors and the amount of noise we were making. It was a work night, so we had to say goodnight much too soon.
I loved reconnecting with my family and celebrating the successes of my husband. Our new backyard unveiling party was everything I’d hoped for. Good food, great family, and a calm and relaxing coastal ambiance.
Are you traveling or doing some outdoor entertaining of your own? Share your favorite outdoor entertaining ideas – I’d love to hear them!
What We Used to Create Our Relaxing Coastal Theme
What We Ate & Drank
Don’t forget to get multiples of the launchers for fun games! Put a plate out on the lawn – the first person to land on the plate wins!