You know I have a soft spot for the Italian way of life. Having lived there for many years only made my infatuation grow deeper and stronger. I love that they embrace a way of life that places family and friends at the heart of it. They take their holidays seriously, their wine and food are divine and don’t even get me started on their sense of style! As someone who loves to cook and host, I thought this would be the perfect time of the year to share with you my secrets on how to throw the perfect outdoor party.


wine and food


Nothing says summer like a party outdoors, and I know I’m early on this one but hear me out. We don’t get many opportunities to enjoy the outdoors here in Britain, so I start early in the year to host evening parties outdoors. You get to practice and perfect your hostessing skills, but by the time summer comes you’re in ultra relaxed mode and more able to enjoy your events.


polo vine cooler

Polo helmet wine cooler by Culinary Concepts


Hold your gathering at sundown and invite guests to bring Italian wine to share, catch up with life by candlelight and laugh the night away. It can even lead to an impromptu wine tasting party. Anything that is interactive with guests encourages mingling, sharing and wonderful communication is a must. For example, with the wine that guests bring I like to supply labels so they write their family name and a lively discussion always ensues. 


Outdoor Dining Ideas

Leather handle wine cooler by Culinary Concepts

Dots red wine glasses by Bomma

Red wine glasses by Bomma

Navy green chair by Emeco

Reclaimed dining table by Gila Timur


Another great way to make your party an unforgettable soiree is by choosing a theme. I love throwing a Palio themed party. The Palio is an Italian horse race in Siena, Italy, held twice every summer in the Piazza del Campo. Each neighbourhood of the city sponsors their own horse, has their own colourful banner and throws a neighbourhood party every year. It is a colourful, beautiful display of Italian joy and tradition. Even if you’re not watching this exciting spectacle in person (if you can, it’s a must!), you can recreate a Palio Party with ease in your own garden.


Serving Ideas

Scored bowl by Edge

Rope handle cheese board and knife by Culinary Concepts

Golden Aves Tray by Royal Crown Derby

Leaf bowl by Edge



Equus plate in black & white and Equus gold plate, both by Royal Crown Derby


In addition, to having some beautiful tableware and serving dishes that display a love of horse themed pieces, you can decorate the area with an array of colourful silk scarves tied to a string and hung in your dining space. Ask you guests to come dressed for the occasion and sei pronto! 


palio siena


How do you prepare for an outdoors dining party? What are your top tips? Let me know in the comments below.


Yours in Design,