Throw Mom a Colorful Alfresco Lunch

Gather the girls and make Mother's Day unforgettable with an elegant outdoor lunch. Bright, citrus colors pop while a delectable menu will invite guests to linger.

By: Sara Westbrook and Brittany Egbert

Take the Party Outside

Celebrate all of the mothers in your life with a beautiful lunch served outdoors. Try something fresh this year with a citrus theme. We'll show you how to carry the theme through your dishes, centerpieces and menu — plus, download our coordinating printable invitation and menu card. Floral design by Robin Mathis of Twigg Botanicals

Easy DIY Invite

Aqua is a beautiful complement to this party's citrus theme. Download our blank invitation, then fill in your own party details. Add a sophisticated finishing touch with a yellow grosgrain ribbon laced through holes punched in the top. To secure, tie the ribbon in a knot on the front or back-loop it.

Create the Perfect Setting

No Mother's Day get-together is complete without fresh flowers. Double up the arrangements to fill the table with color and fragrance. No plastic picnic furniture here — make Mom's day even more special by bringing your dining table and chairs outside so everyone can comfortably enjoy time spent together outdoors.

Add a Little Zest

To create your centerpieces, soak floral foam in water overnight then place in containers. Attach floral stems to picks then insert in wet foam to create a mounded arrangement. Once you're happy with the flowers' placement, add freshly cut oranges, lemons or limes to complement the party's citrus theme. Tip: Add the cut fruit to your arrangements just before guests arrive so they will look fresh.

Make Your Centerpiece Pop

Adorn the base of each centerpiece with mounded fresh citrus. An inexpensive way to add color, this is also an easy trick for emphasizing the citrus theme while visually anchoring each centerpiece.

A Simple Setup

Mother's Day is a special occasion, so break out your best silver, dishes and glassware. Don't be afraid to mix and match patterns and styles; dig into your stash of vintage plates or your grandmother's classic pieces. Layering white or cream dinner plates with a colorful mix of salad plates keeps the table fun and interesting. Napkins adorned with playful rings finish the look.

DIY Menu Card

Citrus adds a fresh flavor to many of Mom's favorite dishes; entice your guests with a menu full of oranges, grapefruits and lemons. Use our ideas or substitute your favorite recipes. Download and print our blank menu cards — just fill in your courses, then place a card on each plate.

Yummy Drinks Don't Have to Be Fussy

Save time and pre-party stress by serving bottled beverages. Position a large ceramic pot near the table and fill with ice. Add a selection of sparkling citrus sodas, lemonade and tea and allow to chill. Guests can grab a cold drink as the party gets underway.

Citrus Salad

To create the salad: Toss mixed greens, lightly candied pecans, avocado, golden raisins and blue cheese crumbles. Top with dressing created by combining 1/2 cup unsweetened grapefruit juice, 1/4 cup water, 1 envelope Italian salad dressing mix and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a lidded container. Shake ingredients to mix and chill before serving.

Orange Glazed Rolls

Give your favorite roll recipe a delicious twist by mixing orange zest into the dough and glazing the rolls after they have baked. For the glaze, mix together 1 cup powdered sugar, the juice of one orange and 1 tablespoon orange zest. Generously brush warm rolls with the glaze.

Roasted Asparagus

Always a crowd-pleaser, this healthy dish is especially tasty in the spring when fresh asparagus is in season. To create: Wash and trim 1 pound of asparagus spears. Pour 2 teaspoons olive oil into a baking dish, add asparagus and toss in oil. Sprinkle spears with kosher salt and shaved Parmesan cheese then bake for 20 minutes at 375 degrees F. This dish can be served hot or at room temperature.

Sweet Ending

Finish off your Mother's Day meal with a lemon- or lime-inspired dessert, like these elegant bite-sized lemon bars. Serve stacked on a footed platter or cake plate for a sophisticated touch.

A Gift for Mom

All moms love to be pampered: Surprise your guests with tangerine colored nail polish and a gift certificate for a pedicure. Add a sweet handwritten note to create a gift that is sure to please all the moms in your life.

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