Outdoor Entertaining Tips from The Mad Table


Entertaining inside your home requires a different set of skills and materials than throwing a backyard bash. Not sure what you’ll need to make your outdoor fiesta a big hit? The Mad Table is here to help!

Decorate with bright colors. Nature’s providing a beautiful backdrop, but that doesn’t get you off the hook! Set the table family-style with Mediterranean-inspired plates, fabric table runners and napkins. Spread patio pillows on the ground and lay down an outdoor rug. Spray paint a large garbage can in a bright color to make taking the trash out fun! Strings of twinkling lights and votive candles will brighten any nighttime soirée.

Music is key. Get them dancing with a funky playlist or have them chilling with some bossa nova or Michael Bublé.

Pool party? If pool time is in the plans, make sure you have sunscreen, a basket with pool toys and floats and another with cute, summer-themed beach towels.

Keep the bugs at bay. Citronella candles and lanterns will help stave off unwanted, winged guests. Pass around insect repellant, too (especially the environmentally-friendly formats). To protect food, pick up some mesh food domes.

Keep those drinks cold. Fill large, glass pitchers with lots of ice and water, add herbs or fruit for a hint of fresh flavor.  Place on tables for decoration and hydration. And don’t forget, rosé, Prosecco and ice-cold cervezas are happy hour necessities! Have sparkling sodas on offer for those who don’t drink alcohol.

Add fruit and herbs to cocktails so that they taste like summer! Some cocktails to consider are strawberry-basil sangria, tarragon gin splash, or the summer go-to, mojitos.

Start out with cruditée platters.Take a large head of purple cabbage, slice the top off and use as a bowl for your favorite dip, like hummus or tzatziki. Add colorful, bite-size veggies (grape tomatoes, celery strips, sliced cucumber, chunks of yellow, orange and red peppers, carrot sticks, etc.), and you’ve got a yummy (and beautiful) starter.  Baskets of chips, salsa and homemade guacamole score big with both adults and kids!

Grilling is key. The smell of roasting vegetables and grilled burgers and steaks define outdoor entertainment! Help dad step up his grilling game with a Father’s Day gift of The Barbecue Bible. Be prepared with a lighter or matches, charcoal or gas and aluminum foil.

Some of our favorite dishes for outdoor entertaining include fresh salads with fruit or veggies and grilled meats, like miso-glazed flank steak or Alton Brown’s backyard ribs.

And for dessert, keep it light and COLD!  First and foremost: ice cream, ice cream and more ice cream (with all the fun toppings, sauces and sprinkles!).  Cold fresh fruit salads topped with sprigs of mint.  And in South Florida, chilled Key Lime Pie is always a winner!  Make from scratch with fresh key limes and top with homemade whipped cream (yes, you can really taste the difference with homemade!).  Popsicles aren’t just for kids when you customize them with your own flavors and molds. And you can even add alcohol for a super-fun treat!

Whatever the occasion – or perhaps it’s just a celebration of summer – enjoy and drink responsibly. 

For more tips and tricks on bringing any party to life, find us at The Mad Table website. And be sure to like The Mad Table on Facebook and follow us on Instagram for all the latest news, fabulous recipes and gorgeous entertaining tips and ideas.