For elegant but easy garden party decor, ginger jars and hydrangeas are a beautiful combination. They were the inspiration for this blue and white outdoor dinner party table setting.
All summer I’ve been wanting to host a garden party.
But with all the rain, heat and current state of affairs, it just hasn’t happened.
So when the weather finally started to cool down a little last week, I decided to compromise and just have a couple of friends over for dinner.
That way I can still have fun putting together some garden party table decorations, even if getting a bunch of people together isn’t possible right now.
And I just happen to have a new table on the patio that’s down the path from my deck.
So this seemed like the perfect opportunity to use it for the first time!
The Temporary Patio Light Poles
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The one problem with this patio is that it doesn’t have very much lighting.
Which I thought I could solve by putting up candle chandeliers above the table.
But I didn’t have anywhere to hang them.
Then I remembered an outdoor dinner party that Leslie from my100yearoldhome.com hosted, where she used old columns to create a temporary pergola. (Her outdoor dinner was absolutely gorgeous, so be sure to head over to her site to take a look! You can see it HERE.)
I didn’t own any old house columns, but I figured I could buy some new ones. (I found them HERE*).
And while she installed hers on the grass, mine needed to stand up on the patio.
Which required a little creative thinking and a couple of heavy-duty umbrella stands.
Fortunately, I’ve done something similar with a pirate ship mast for my Halloween decorations a couple of years ago, so that part came together pretty quickly (Stay tuned for a post on how I put up the temporary light poles).
Dinner Party Lighting
Since I was only setting one small table, I decided to go with two columns and strung a plastic chain between them that I could hang the chandeliers from.
In case you’re wondering why I chose chain instead of string?
The main reason is that the chain links are easy to hang things on…they keep the lights from moving around. (And I also happened to have it left over from another year’s Halloween decorations).
Cutting up coat hangers is an easy and inexpensive way to get larger hooks that still fit through the chain link holes easily.
I was originally going to use three of the chandeliers and hooking them into the chain links kept them from sliding into each other.
However after the table was set, it looked a little busy.
Since I was trying to keep things simple, I decided to go with just one chandelier over the table.
Why Bar Carts Are Great For Outdoor Dining
The next obstacle to overcome is that this table is not very convenient for schlepping dishes, candles, flowers, food, etc. back and forth to the house.
Bar cart to the rescue!
To set the table, I put all of my dishes, candles and vases on the cart in the house.
Then wheeled them all out to the patio at one time.
It’s great at meal time, too, because you can use it to serve food and drinks. Like a mobile buffet.
Then pile all of the dishes on it after dinner to bring everything back in the house. Definitely a time saver!
One Note: I don’t usually put things that fall over easily (like wine glasses) on the bar cart while I’m wheeling it around outside.
Since decks and patios can be bumpy, things like that tend to tip over and get broken.
The Blue and White Outdoor Place Setting
If you’ve seen any of my other tablescapes, you know that I usually mix and match dishes.
Partly because I don’t have enough dishes of one pattern to give everyone the same place setting.
And partly because I like the look of it.
But this time, I went with matching place settings for a few reasons:
- There were only four of us (so I had enough dishes)
- I really like this blue and white dish pattern.
- And to be honest, I was feeling a little lazy. You don’t have to think as much when you go with all the same pattern.
To mix it up a bit, I used copper chargers.
I love the way the candle light reflects off them!
And to keep it simple, I didn’t use placemats.
Some blue napkins and gold-rimmed flutes finished the outdoor place setting.
My Outdoor Dining Table Centerpiece
Since the table was set with my favorite blue and white dishes, I figured I might as well use my favorite blue and white ginger jars for the centerpiece.
I filled one of them with a huge bunch of blue and white hydrangeas.
And alternated the others with tall white candles.
Making sure that there weren’t any tall jars blocking people from seeing each other across the table. (That’s a pet peeve of mine…not being able to see who you’re talking to!)
The Garden Table Seating
Using garden stools as the seating at the table was a bit controversial.
I put them out there because they looked really pretty with the table.
But I was fully expecting to swap the garden stools out for more comfortable seats once we sat down to eat.
However, the stools are much more comfortable than they look!
Surprisingly, no-one took me up on my offer for proper chairs.
So that’s my blue and white garden party table decor.
And the best part about it?
It took less than an hour to set the whole thing up (including putting up the light poles!)
Other Summer Entertaining Ideas You Might Like
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This post was originally published on August 27, 2020 but was updated with new content on October 9, 2022.