ENTERTAINING AL FRESCO

One of my favorite parts about spring? Finally being able to have friends over for small get-togethers on my screened porch, which also gives me an excuse to bust out some of my favorite entertaining accessories and treats. Keep in mind that hosting doesn’t have to be overwhelming or extra time-consuming–it’s super easy to plan a chic spring get-together for three or four in just a few simple steps. Keep reading for my tried and true tips.

Plan Your Menu

If I’m hosting a gathering, it’s pretty likely that I’ll be serving a charcuterie board. I’m not much of a cook, so delicious cheeses, meats, breads, and crackers always save the day! Plus, this fun mix of goodies will keep your guests satisfied without taking long to prepare. I like to top off my charcuterie boards with unexpected extras such as bits of chocolate (who doesn’t enjoy a sweet and savory mix?), crunchy corn nuts, and brightly colored berries. I also enjoy these added cheese-flavored crackers and English biscuits from World Market

While I’m a wine lover year-round, I always look forward to the return of rosé season come spring. As an added bonus, the pink beverage couldn’t look cuter! (I grabbed this particular bottle during my World Market trip, largely because I was obsessed with the label). It’s always polite to keep a festive non-alcoholic option on hand for guests to enjoy, too. Those who don’t drink still deserve to enjoy a special beverage; bonus points if you can find something that plays off the wine or cocktail you’re serving. In this case, I opted for a sparkling rosé and rosehip flavored juice, and let me tell you, it was good! In fact, drinkers who aren’t into wine may also enjoy mixing the juice with a splash of gin or vodka for a one-of-a-kind cocktail. 

Style Your Setup

After you’ve determined what you plan to serve, you’ll want to ensure you have everything you need to create a festive tablescape. Large trays are always a go-to in my apartment–I picked up a colorful, flower-filled piece from Red Orchard which influenced my “spring florals” theme and used that to hold the beverages I served. Cocktail making gear went into a painted glass jar from TJ Maxx, and napkins from Sur La Table sat front and center by the beverages (because we all know spills are inevitable!). 

Flowers Round Birchwood Tray, $48, Red Orchard

Poppy Field Guest Napkins, Set of 15, $10, Sur La Table

I wanted the actual table setup to be feminine and elegant. I grabbed a pair of crystal candle holders out of my cupboard and placed adorable ribbed candles from World Market inside. Traditional taper candles are so sophisticated looking and add a restaurant-like feel to any space. Also at World Market, I also picked up some fun cocktail glasses that cost less than $6 each but look super luxe. They were the perfect find, as I prefer to not bring any of my pricier glassware outside. At TJ Maxx, I grabbed pink ceramic plates and juice glasses; I opted for pieces that would be neutral enough for me to use year round but still had a subtle spring-like touch–I don’t have endless kitchen storage, after all!

Springtime Ribbed Taper Candles 2-pack, $4.99, World Market

Spring Color Coupe Glasses Set Of Four, $23.96, World Market

Gift Some Goodies

Let’s face it: Adults like goodie bags, too! For under $10 per guest, you can put together a little party favor to place on each person’s plate. I grabbed beautiful seed packages at Anthropologie and a set of three small tea canisters at World Market and tied them together using twine (which I also spotted at World Market). These are perfect goodies for your friends to enjoy at home throughout the season. Miniature items are a hit with people of all ages, and for something so budget-friendly, I was really happy with how this pairing turned out. Cheers to warm days ahead! 

Seed Packets, $6, Anthropologie

New English Teas Mini Vintage Loose Leaf Tea Tins, $9.99, World Market


Sarah Lyon is a freelance writer and interior design enthusiast who currently lives in Washington, DC. Her work has appeared on websites including Apartment Therapy, Architectural Digest Clever, Lonny, and MyDomaine. Additionally, Sarah’s own spaces have appeared on Apartment Therapy, The Everygirl, Houzz, and Washingtonian.com. Her Dupont Circle apartment was featured in both the spring 2019 print edition of Small Space Decorating and the January 2019 print edition of Washingtonian Magazine. Follow her on Instagram @sarahlyon9.