You Don't Have to Rough It
Take dining alfresco to a new level by organizing a glamping dinner party. Guests get to spend the night in comfy tents after a scrumptious spread in open air. Glamping is a rather unique sort of experience, so the items you will need to take with you will differ greatly from those you would use on a basic camping trip.
Summery Popsicle Invites
Get friends in the mood for some outdoorsy fun with creative invitations shaped like Popsicles. Download the invite template here.
Send guests who RSVP \"yes\" a camping kit that includes hand towels, wipes and hot chocolate mix in chic pouches such as these by Hammocks and High Tea.
Attention to details such as paper fans goes a long way in making guests feel special. Order fans in assorted colors that pop against the subtle, natural backdrop.
Carry the Theme
Creative labels on water bottles carry the theme of party. Claudia of fig2design designed lovely pieces for invitations, menu cards, favors and food labels that make guests feel welcome and in the party spirit. Place water bottles on beverage stations as well as in each tent.
Make sure to have plenty of snacks and nibbles for guests to enjoy during the day. These paper pockets of mixed nuts are portable and can be slipped into backpacks for hiking.
Setting Up Camp
Whether you are glamping at a designated campground, your family's estate garden, the beach or your own backyard, make sure to pitch the tent on level ground. Clear sticks and stones away beforehand. With so many options available, finding a pop-up weatherproof tent has never been easier. Choose one that best meets your needs in terms of size and portability. This one from Ikea works well because it has a solid structure, movable drapes and is large enough to fit two cots.
Chairs, cots and tables are key elements for creating a comfortable sleep/lounge area. Layer them with plenty of pillows and throws in outdoor fabrics. There's just something about snuggling up under a canvas tent and not having to worry about your air mattress going flat in the night!
Light Up the Night
It's important to think about lighting, especially once it gets dark. The warm glow of candles, string lights and lanterns creates a fun outdoor mood. Tea lights, and many battery-operated lighting options, are available at stores like Target and Home Depot. Hang lanterns from the tent ceiling using ribbons. Arrange some tea lights in cans or votives along the path leading to the campsite.
Transform the Tent
A few easy DIY ideas can transform the look of the tent. Colorful paper streamers along the canopy add movement and visual interest. Or pin circle cutouts in various sizes to the drapes.
From Tent to Table
Much like hosting a get-together at home, when setting up a dinner table outdoors, decide on a color palette and chose elements that require minimal fuss. Set up folding tables for the buffet station and dinner table.
Start by covering tables with heavyweight cottons and linen fabrics. Oilcloth is another great alternative. Here the table cover is layered with silicone placemats from Modern Twist. The gold graphic brings a touch of glamour, and it looks chic against the black-and-white stripes. These place mats are easy to clean, nonporous, provide a germ-free surface and are great to wrap fragile items in.
Colors like blues, pinks and yellows create a fun and cheerful look. Gold accents look great in sunlight as well as in the soft glow of candles. Gold flatware also brings a level of elegant sophistication to the table.
Pachyderm Place Card Holders
The gilded elephant place card holders from The Knot Wedding Shop work well with the overall look of the table.
DIY Tin Can Vases
No party decor is complete without fresh-cut flowers. For this look, choose dual-toned ranunculus and pink peonies, then place them in painted tin cans and bud vases. Spray each can in two colors using painter's tape. Cobalt bud vases with single stems pop wonderfully against the black-and-white striped tablecloth.
Zigzag menus on neon card stock play up the bright colors while informing guests what to expect for dinner.
Melamine plates and tumblers are ideal for such a setting, and with so many designs available, you won't have to compromise on style. These dinner plates are from West Elm and the salad plates are by Jonathan Adler. Hint: Pick up a few sticks and spray-paint them gold to add a bit of nature to the table.
Fiery Grilled Shrimp With Honeydew Gazpacho
Cold soup and hot shrimp: The blend of honeyed sweetness with intensely savory vegetables makes this dish refreshing and a delightful combination for warm nights.
Goat Cheese Quesadillas With Tomato and Corn Salsa
Hint: Make craft paper pockets for quesadillas to keep hands clean.
Grilled Pears With Dulce de Leche
Grilled pears are an excellent dessert and couldn't be simpler to prepare.
Light up a camp-side fire in a portable fire pit for guests to lounge around after dinner.