Al Fresco Dining Blog PhotographyWith July drawing to a close, inevitably, a couple of thoughts are popping into our heads here in the UK.  Firstly, where the hell did the gorgeous weather go?  Come back!  We promise we'll be more appreciative!  Secondly, it's time to get serious about those summer plans.  In this instance, it's all about al fresco dining and preparing to soak up those warm-weather vibes.  The question is, alongside the mass of food you've prepared, what other embellishments are needed to set the scene?
Sliced Cucumber Summer Dining Setting
Glass Bowl of Kiwi Fruit in Summer
Marble Bowl of Salad Al Fresco Meal
The concept of al fresco dining is to create a casual setting that's 'party-like' in its atmosphere.  With this in mind, I've put together a handful of stylish, aesthetic-driven suggestions to help you create the ideal ambience for your early-evening get together - and before summer ends!

Who Runs The Table?

Match your table runner to a theme, it will serve as the anchor to the meal's colour scheme.  Then, when adding to the table, take your cue from the table runner.  If you don't have one that matches the picture in your head, simply overlap serviettes and disguise the folds with accessories.  Speaking of materials, pick out a chair to drape a colourful throw over, and place a cushion on each seat

Take A Stand

Place everything on dishes/platters - this includes both sides and other embellishments.  Leave nothing to roam aimlessly around the table.  Some good options include mirrored trays, marble slabs and wicker placemats

Metallic Accessories

As if you needed another excuse to head out and buy metallic accessories, right?!  Hosting a meal in general calls for the gold cutlery, leather-handle trays and marble bowls, but al fresco dining in particular provides the perfect reason to go all out.  Metallic options will glisten under the sun before it goes down, and then shine beneath the fairy lights...

Light It Up

Candles; the more, the merrier!  For early evening settings, Citronella is a gorgeous choice for keeping the mosquitoes at bay as the sun goes down, as well as providing a scent most of us associate with the outdoors, by night

Summer Blooms

Despite most likely being surrounded by greenery, bringing flowers onto the table can be a great way of adding to the 'party-like' atmosphere.  If you don't have a large centrepiece to hand, placing flowers/greenery at the centre of the table can be a brilliant cheat!  To go hand-in-hand with this Provence theme, I've opted for lavender in a large oval trough by Kew Gardens

Valley Mill Cariad Citronella Candle
Al Fresco Summer Dining Blog Setting
Kew Gardens Cream Oval Pot
So, what have I reached for to create this al fresco setting?  Serviettes have been overlapped to create the appearance of a table runner, and a strict rule of using only gold accessories has been applied.  No complaints here though, the colour glistens underneath the sun!  The marble bowl is by Rose & Grey, and the Palm Tree candlestick is from Biba, having purchased a duo earlier this summer via House of Fraser.  I've selected a few different stands, including wicker mats for place settings, DIY gold-painted mirrored tray for drinks (Norfolk Gin and Fentiman's Bloom Gin & Rose Lemonade) and finally a marble slab for displaying candles.  Speaking of which, this wooden-wick Valley Mill Cariad Candle c/o has undoubtedly become the scent of my summer; after just two uses, I'm already associating the Natural Soy candle with good memories.  Though sure, I'm biased, as I tend to associate the scent with past hot nights spent in France, sitting on patios and looking out at the sea... ah, bliss!
Valley Mill Cariad Citronella Candle
Summer Pink Drinks Fentiman's Bloom Gin
Al Fresco Summer Dining Blog Photography
Al fresco dining.  Love it?  Hate it?  Let me know in the comments below!

With love,

Gabrielle x