Simply Modern Summer Garden Parties

Mr. Monkey & I love to entertain. Especially in the summer months because our house is wee for large groups & it's best if we can maximize our living space by creating outdoor living spaces. Here are few pictures from table settings that I've recently set for potluck style gatherings plus some quick tips for simply modern table set-ups. 
1. Choose a color scheme & gather plates, cups, utensils, serving platters that fit a similar color scheme over time. I've done this by sticking with mostly shades of greens, blues, & clear glass. It's not perfect but we're getting to the point where we can grab any combination of our entertaining arsenal and have it looked pretty pulled together. 
2. Instead of spending a bunch of money on fancy modern table cloths (Apartment Therapy Round-up) just go to your local fabric store and buy a solid color of quilting fabric. A couple of yards will cost you 8 -10 dollars for a small table and up to 20 dollars for a larger table. If you have a pair of pinking shears you can cut the edges so they look finished. 
3. Another great source for alternative tablecloths are vintage stores. You could even find some nice vintage scraps at your local thrift store. About a year ago I found this great fabric remanent at Oak Street Vintage (check out their new website!!) & I loved it as a table cloth. The price was super affordable and it fit my little coffee service/potluck dessert table perfectly. 
4. Fresh flowers are essential to any summer party. You don't have to have a fancy vase. Just stick them in a jar or you can see I used a vintage 1960's Italian pitcher below (from Oak Street of course). 
5. Get creative with containers you already have. I used the picnic basket above to hold all the clean cloth napkins plus a few paper ones as back up in case we ran out.
6. The picture at the top of this post is from an island bridal shower for my dear friend, Momma Poet Monkey. Because we had to transport all decorative items up to Canada and over the water via ferry we were somewhat limited. We couldn't bring fancy table cloths and table runners so we stuck with the basics; white linens provided a clean neutral base, flowers picked fresh that morning from an island garden, and we got creative with the table runners - wrapping paper. We just had some pretty wrapping paper lying around and that worked
 perfectly to add a nice pattern but not take away from the flowers. Plus the paper was recyclable after the party! 
7. You'll notice that most of the tables above are actually indoors. This is another secret to our summer garden party success. Keeping the food indoors helps to keep flies and other insects away from the food. I like to set up the drink stations outside where flies aren't really interested in our cocktails & lemonade. Also by keeping the food buffet line indoors you help to keep the flow of the party moving. People will keep coming inside for food but then come back outside for eating. 
I hope you find yourself having a summer potluck soon! Sometimes though it just takes a circle of chairs and some ice cream. Cheers.

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