Plan a Front-Porch Oyster Roast

Gather your friends and some coastal spirit and bring inside decor outside for this celebration of savory seafood and outdoor living.

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

Photo By: Nicole Caudle

A Casual Outdoor Oyster Roast

Whether you are near the coast or not, great weather is always the perfect excuse for outdoor entertaining, and an oyster roast should be at the top of your list. Explore new ways to use what you have in your home to create a unique outdoor space for entertaining. Use these tips to elevate your outdoor party skills for a relaxed yet elegant experience your guests will be sure to remember all while bringing the beachfront to your front porch.

Grocery Story Arrangements

Don't shy away from moving indoor furniture in your home outside. I love adding pieces of my home decor to my outdoor dinner parties. If you happen to have a glass table—even a coffee table—in your home, bring it outside. A glass table showcases the beauty of the outdoors without overpowering it. I would suggest keeping decor simple but colorful for an easy way to stand out without having to set a full table outside.

Oysters Are the Star

Displaying oysters doesn’t have to be boring. Although I love a great metal basket and burlap, for a modern take on an oyster roast, feel free to add a touch of whimsy. Pick colors and products that compliment oysters. You can use a silver china plate from a yard sale or spray a little metallic paint on a white plate from a discount store; these are perfect ways to display your oysters. For variety, select an assortment of oysters, with information about them on note cards placed next to them. You can create these note cards by applying a fun print or a picture taken with your phone to card stock.

Wicker Always Works

Wicker is my go-to item for an outdoor party. If you can’t afford to buy a new set of wicker lounge furniture, a wicker plate charger is all you need. By planning ahead and buying in the winter months, you can always find a deal at a local showroom or thrift store. With this classic base, be sure to add character with a favorite plate that matches the personality of your guests. No matter if you choose a modern square plate or gold-rimmed china, your wicker charger will add the right element of relaxed style to your party.

Lemons Make Life Easy

Fruit is a great tablescape décor option. Limes and lemon look great with almost any style of dishware but are also very practical. For an oyster roast, they also add flavor to freshly steamed oysters and are essential for outdoor cocktails.

Take a Seat

After a few cocktails and plates of food, your guests will want to rest and take a seat. Proper seating is essential for any party. Don’t be afraid to pull your chairs from inside. These leather chairs are from my office and are comfortable and match the color scheme. If you are feeling adventurous, add a small couch or love seat from your living room to create distinct and comfortable seating options for your guests. If your chairs need protection, fabric covers are a solution that can upgrade your current pieces while also keeping them clean while outdoors.

Bar Cart Display

A bar cart is the perfect place to splurge without blowing your budget. You can use items from your kitchen and house with similar colors and patterns to make a unique display. Don’t be afraid to use your cups for multiple purposes, as not only drink ware but also as containers for dipping sauces, crackers and any other items you want to include in your oyster roast. Once you are done filling them with the essentials, make sure to save one or two for flower buds. The simpler, the better for this type of arrangement, and blooms selected from the backyard are even better.

Local Drinks and Decor

You can always impress guests with a specialty drink, and you don't have to be a mixologist or sommelier to do it, just find one at your local gourmet grocery store. Many specialty grocery stores will have food and beverage experts on site who can offer recommendations for locally-produced nonalcoholic beverages as well as picks from local breweries and wine that works with your menu. Additionally, they almost always have information packets about the products that you can take home and place on your table for guests to explore.

Plated Arrangements

An outdoor display does not have to be complicated. My go-to trick for table decor is selecting my favorite plates and placing party essentials on them instead of floral arrangements. I love using items such as these interesting seashells, oyster shuckers and unique, vintage wine bottle openers for each guest to make a unique display with minimal effort. When selecting plates, be sure to find patterns and colors that compliment each other. This type of tablescape is perfect if you have a small table or porch area, so your party essentials also serve as table arrangements.

Oyster Double Duty

After grabbing a bushel of oysters from your local seafood market, be sure to keeo extra shells on hand for decor on your table. You can place them in a few of your favorite coffee mugs or even a champagne glass to dress them up as a centerpiece. For added fun, put a few flower petals or lace some ribbon in the container for a unique display of the main dish.

Plate Pairings

Add dimension to any table by displaying a variety of unique dishes. Get creative by mixing dishware you own to create a layered look for your oyster roast. Unique condiment and dish pairings are the perfect places to use those odds and ends pieces you pick up from yard sales or thrift stores. To unite the look, use a simple table linen or fabric remnant from a consignment store.

Dipping Sauce As Decor

If you are pressed for time and don’t have the energy to make a floral arrangement, you can add some fun to your table by just mixing your fine china with various oyster sauces. Don't be afraid to have some fun by pairing hot sauce with fine china and horseradish with crystal pieces or even served from a champagne flute.

Prepared Drinks

If you have time and want to manage your budget for drinks, making prepared drinks is a fun addition to any outdoor party. For an outdoor party, I would suggest melamine drinkware or glassware you won't miss if it gets broken. Everyone loves budget-friendly fresh-brewed iced tea during the spring and summer. Pair tea with your favorite bourbon, simple syrup and fresh fruit for a light, refreshing summer beverage.

Bar Carts and Floral Fun

A bar cart is the perfect place to match unlikely pairs of glasses. I have never followed the rule of matching finishes, and this is an easy way to buck that trend. Drink mixers and containers are readily available at thrift shops and consignment stores which often have great vintage accessories. In addition to drinkware, you can also add a few buds of bright flowers in your favorite glass or vase.