And there are some simple French cottage style essential tips I always go back to when entertaining.
Because keeping entertaining easy AND ambiance filled is a good thing.
Setting a table or picnic in the yard and entertaining outdoors with cottage style charm is a lot easier than you might think.
The best part about cottage and country style entertaining is that it is informal. It is comfortable. It is simple and charming without all the perfection and work required.
You don’t need fine china, the best linens or the most amazing farm property to set up a beautiful entertaining area. And you don’t even have to have the perfect outdoor table and chair set- just grab what you use indoors and bring it outside for the party.
Here are a few oldie and favorite tips for country and cottage style charm outdoors.
#1. Mason Jars
A long time staple on the table for simple, country style charm- I love to use mason jars in several ways. For flowers-
Pick up various sizes- from large to teeny tiny and start playing and putting your own signature style in place.
#2. Gathered Goodness bouquets
Blooms and entertaining kind of go hand in hand for me. But you don’t have to spend a ton of money on flowers- wildflowers and gathered blooms and greens are perfect. Some of my favorites for summer get togethers are fresh clipped wild sweet peas and lavender.
#3. Twinkle Lights
Of course. Twinkle lights twinkling away- all day, everyday. They are on repeat over here and we turn them on everyday when sitting outside to relax in the evenings. There is such a huge amount of charm that comes with those lights- our favorites are these LED lights– costs next to nothing to run & they are cool to the touch. I also love these mason jar LED lights- they run on solar power.
#4. One dish or nibbles
Simple and easy food is key. We like to serve something like a pot of melted brie or a cheeseboard (minus the meats) for casual evenings. Something we did in Paris several times was cheese with fresh bread and fruit for dinner. I mean, sinful yes… but so good. And the focaccia bread in Italy? I could have eaten that 3x a day. (not kidding) Plus- aside from being delicious- I wanted to photograph it all as it was also a feast for the eyes.
Set out some favorite cheeses and fresh veggies and focaccia bread with olive oil on old rustic serving boards or marble trays and call it good. It creates a charming display on the table while serving hungry guests.
#5. Linens & quilts
Linens are a huge part of french cottage charm for any setting.
Layer those linens on the table, by the seating area and even on the lawn for picnic style seating. Keep an eye out for old quilts and blankets for picnics- and stonewashed linens for the softest and most inviting look on the table.
Don’t be afraid to mix and mingle different colors and textures for your own unique look and you can set up a simple romantic spot- just tie together some branches and drape in an old lace curtain for a charming look.
#6. Gathered Place Settings
A table set with a dozen beautiful matching place settings? Incredibly gorgeous. But as equally gorgeous and inviting is a table set with a dozen mismatched vintage china plates and gathered patterns of silver flatware.
#7. Country buffet table
Set up a simple old farmhouse table for a buffet table. You can bring one from inside the house, grab a few sawhorses and a planks of wood or use a dining table- and simply gather up your dishes, glasses, nibbles, desserts and dinner in one place and let guests serve themselves.
One of my favorite things when entertaining outdoors is adding music. We have an old house without any wired speakers and fun stuff like that- but we wanted music that went from room to room to outdoors so that we could enjoy it all through the house and entertaining areas. So we added several Sonos speakers to our home. They are wireless and run through wi-fi- and can all play the same music or different music- and run right through an app on the phone or computer. I love Amazon music so that is what I stream most often- but you can also play your own playlist or Pandora, Spotify, etc.
I love to have the continuity of all the same music playing inside and out – and one speaker outdoors fills all 3 entertaining areas in the backyard with our favorite stations. I highly recommend them.
You can find a few of these products in my Amazon storefront (affiliate) and more coming soon.
Happy summer entertaining everyone!