It’s summertime and being outside, especially in the evening, is one of those pleasures which you shouldn’t overlook!

Brunch, drinks, lunch… but especially dinner parties! Apart from being a pleasant experience, outdoor dining can turn into the perfect opportunity to organize a relaxing get-together with friends, family or colleagues as the sun goes down.

How then, to make this into a magical and unforgettable occasion with class, simplicity and good taste?

The following tips can be adapted depending on your available space, on the context and how well you know your guests but do remember that simplicity and good manners can make the difference, whether you’re hosting a very elegant dinner party or just a barbeque amongst friends (we also have three special etiquette tips on this kind of event!).

Do remember, that class is not measured by lavishness. So here are three small ways to help you maintain the right balance in taste and style in every situation.

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1.  The guests

Double check your guest-list! When it comes to guests, it’s not the number which confers your social position or makes you into a socialite.

Give some thought to your available space. Too many guests in a limited space and people will be knocking into each other, whereas too few in a large space risks dissipating and ruining the atmosphere.

2.  Food and table presentation

An elegantly set table can go a long way to creating the right atmosphere for your outdoor summer dinner party, but sometimes space is simply not enough to accommodate all your diners. If this is the case then you can opt for a buffet, so that your guests are free to eat, socialize and move around easily, without feeling forced to sit at the table for hours.

The golden rule to follow when setting up a buffet table is to provide everything your guests will need to make them feel comfortable and at ease; so easily accessible plates and cutlery and food platters from which they can serve themselves easily.

Do bear in mind any possible food intolerances of your guests, just in case! As a rule, it’s best not to overdo the amount of food: presenting too much is brash, a sign of excessiveness, not style.

3. Good and bad weather and the unexpected

It is always a good idea to expect the unexpected. It doesn’t look good if the host is caught out by the unpredictable!

Always have a back-up plan in case of rain or wind, or be ready to move your dinner party inside the house.

If you are not in a position to be able to organize such a sudden change of events, simply inform your guests at the time of the invite that should the weather be bad then the dinner party will be postponed. This should avoid any unpleasant surprises. Better to postpone than to have to deal with shivering guests or a waterlogged garden that looks more like a swamp!

And speaking of swamps… watch out for bugs! Get some mosquito coils, sprays and wipes to offer your guests. You don’t want them to end up being the buffet!