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Backyard Picnic: Tips For a Special Meal

We’ve reached that sweet spot in Tennessee where it’s warm, but not sweltering and the mosquitoes are not in full attack mode yet. There is no time like right now to be outside! Our back porch is the perfect spot all but few months of the year, but when the weather is this perfect, we can venture further out and enjoy. 


I wanted to make this spot even more special, so I set the table for a perfect pre-summer picnic. Most people think pastels or red white and blue but I’m going with my love language of black, white and wood tones so that the green we’re enjoying all over the yard is the super star. No matter the color or what you’re serving, there are a few things I think make an outside dining feel even better….

The Right Dishes: I’m all for real stuff, but I’m also accident prone and some of your guests just may be too. So our Wood Grain Paper Plates are perfect. They have all the charm and style of  real thing without the risk. Mason jars also make the perfect  glasses! No matter what you’re serving they just feel outdoorsy and happy in a mason jar and they don’t tip over as easy as a flimsy plastic cup (yes, spills are ok outside but you don’t want it all over your food and if  it’s a sweet drink, you’re asking for ants. No thank you!)


The Right Napkins:  I’m going to get controversial and tell you that real napkins are a great choice for outside! Here's the key: they don’t blow away. I bet you didn’t even think about that did you?  Vintage ones are even better. I love how this little pop of soft sage green brings the setting to the table.

The Right Comfort: A lot of times outdoor furniture is not as comfortable as indoor. If you’re planning a picnic or dinner, add some throws to benches (our Lee Throws are perfection. Not only are they so pretty but they keep the splinters out of areas too) and bring a few pillows from the inside. For extra credit bring all the comforts on inside out.... a runner, favorite vase and lazy susan pair (filled with yard clippings)  and always, always a candle

The Right Time: We get shade in the early evening so a dinner is perfect for our porch… the middle of the day with a whole lot of sun would not be the best. Pick your time around your setting. If you get sweltering evening sun, no one says you can’t have a backyard brunch.  If you have an umbrella or cover, you have to be a bit more flexible. But either way, comfort is key.


The Right Plan: I’ll spill all the details soon about how I plan for a special meal or event (spoiler alert: there are lots of lists and post-its and it works) but the important part is to be sure you have a plan. Are you grilling, cooking inside and bringing it out, getting takeout? Anything works, just take a few minutes to plan it out before hand and you’ll have everything you need!

This is just more proof that a little backyard meal can be something truly special.... a little planning, a few items from inside, some yard clippings and paper plates can be a beautiful experience!  

Just a little backstory on this table. The top is wood from the actual barn at the real farm on Whippoorwill Road. My cousin, who now owns it, let me have enough boards and my father-in-law turned them into exactly what I wanted… down to the perfect size for our old house’s patio. I gave her a fresh coat of black paint a couple of weeks ago to modernize the look a little and I think she looks better than ever!

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