June 21, 2019

Barbecue’s Fancy Cousin, Al Fresco Affair

Yes, summer is here, and the season of outdoor cooking and entertaining is upon us! But that does not mean we have to settle for the same old burger and ‘dogs we’ve grown accustomed to. Not that there is anything wrong with it necessarily, but personally, we like to take things to the next level.

So how does one elevate the basic BBQ into an Al Fresco Affair? Here are some ideas to get you started.

Send an official invite and require a dress code. By sending an invite to request your guests attendance and mentioning a dress code ahead of time, you set the tone for the event before they even arrive. Get guests excited by offering insight to what they can expect.

Group selfie of party goers
Photo by: Reece & Katrina Photographers

Tidy up, then brighten your space with plants. You don’t need a ton of décor, but the set up should be thoughtful, and on-theme. Well cared for landscaping is naturally stunning and adds to the space without overwhelming.

Photo by: Wedding Documentary

Add lighting to set the mood. Your party may begin in sunlight, but let guests know they are welcome to enjoy themselves into the night with specialty lighting.

Create unique seating arrangements. Natural wood tables and chairs, printed table cloths, or family style seating are great ways to create a beautiful and functional space for all attending.

Photo by: Carlie Statsky

Develop a unique menu.Think outside the box. If you do want to go for the classic grilling goods, consider adding some specialty toppings to offer a unique spin on the classics. If you are feeling adventurous, consider something totally unexpected to really wow guests. “Aah, shucks!”


Photos by: Matt Edge Photo + Motion

Curate the perfect playlist (or provide live music). No event truly becomes a party until music is involved. Take the time to put together a playlist that will set the mood and add to the overall experience. If you have the budget for it, having a live musician takes things a step further.

live musicians Photo by: Jasmine Star

Provide appropriate entertainment.Are kids invited? Ensure you have a few lawn games or activities to keep them busy. Lawn games may also be fun for a more mature group as well, depending on the crowd.


Photo by: Jasmine Star

A few additional touches that can elevate your next outdoor occasion:

Champagne upon welcome

Floral arrangements and centerpieces

Cloth napkins, non-disposable flatware, & glassware

A drink station for guests to stay hydrated

Photobooth or wall installation

Favors for attending guests

Photos by: Russ Levi Photography, Augie Chang Photography, Luis Castillo, Kelly McCord Photography, Blue Lace Photography)

Are you ready to start planning? If you still need help by the end of this, or just don’t want to worry about the details, reach out to our team!