Summer is finally here, which means the great outdoors is officially your dining room. But don’t settle for paper plates and plain plastic cups – opt for kitsch picnic blankets, tropical-print cool bags and drinks dispensers. Dining on-the-go has never looked as bright.
For on-the-go grilling opt for a transportable bucket barbecue – just be sure to check that your local green or woodland allows you to fire it up first.
For a more elegant occasion, try a monochrome melamine set – the exotic prints perfectly complement colourful tabboulehs and summer salads. Serve a selection of small dishes in dip bowls and appetiser plates for guests to share, and look to smoky-style tumblers and pitchers for extra drama.
Small but perfectly formed gardens don’t really lend themselves to bulky tables with equally large matching chairs. Low-level tables with woven stools slot beautifully into a corner in a tiny spot. The intricate pattern on this gold-coloured metal table makes it a great statement piece.
2. Moroccan accessories
If any country does courtyard-style well, it’s Morocco. So, take small-space style inspiration from the calming riads of Marrakech, with hammered metal accessories and woven stools.
You might not have the space to snake twinkling lights around branches and arbours, but that doesn’t mean you should do away with a lighting scheme altogether. A cluster of candles will bring instant style, charm and – importantly – illumination. Brass-coloured metal tealight holders and lanterns not only look fab in their own right, but the metallic finish and cut-out patterns reflect the candlelight in an unusual fashion, casting a mesmerising glow around the smallest of spaces with little more than a few flames.
Friends coming over? A family gathering on the cards? Maybe you’re hosting a Eurovision Song Contest party this weekend? Whatever the occasion, serving food for friends and family needn’t be a formal affair. Channel that laid-back gastro pub style instead with ‘picky bits’ served on natural wooden boards, white falcon enamelware and cast iron pieces.
Of course, ‘sharing plates’ doesn’t have to mean big piles of nachos slathered in cheese. To keep it fresh, try colourful salads like the blueberry, burrata and nectarine dish pictured above. The unusual ingredients will take everyone by surprise, and it looks great offset against bright white enamelware.
When it comes to fun and you’re sharing dishes like these, there’s no need to feel constrained by the rules. Don’t have any cakes to show off your serving dome? Well simply use it for something entirely different. These white chocolate fruit skewers are great as an alternative sweet treat. Simply skewer melon, mango, blackberries and raspberries before dipping in melted white chocolate. Delicious.
Want to get the look at home? Opt for chunky pieces in neutral shades – they give any soirée a sense of understated style.
When it comes to styling your Big Day, it’s the little touches that are key to making sure your own personality shines through. If you’re not sure where to start, or could just use a little extra inspiration, here are a few simple ways to give your wedding that homespun feel.
Whether it’s well-placed lanterns or artfully positioned bunting, hanging decorations can brighten even the most minimal of venue walls. For a twist on kitsch village fête style, try hanging a string of wooden hearts on the top table.
Chalkboards make cute and quirky wedding signs. Stock up on a few and you can use them to welcome guests to your venue, as table number placards, or for displaying the day’s busy schedule. If you don’t get that swirly lettering perfect on the first try, you can always rub it out and start again.
Choosing flowers can be one of the most stressful (and expensive) parts of your wedding planning. So why not opt for a more pared-back style? A spray of wild flowers in a vintage jug, or a row of glass bottles filled with bright blooms can make centrepieces that are just as pretty as professional arrangements.
1. Faux Floral Set of 3 Bottles, £8 | 2. Faux Floral in Cream Ceramic Milk Churn, £12 | 3. Faux Floral Mini Lavender in Mesh Basket, £8