Take your dinner party outside with these ideas for decorating, serving, and setting up the ideal space.
1. Quick spritzer: Instead of the expected cranberry, surprise your guests with pear: Fill a glass halfway with pear nectar (we like Kern's) and top it with your favorite prosecco.
2. Easy eats: Make your own toasted herbed almonds: Combine 2 cups raw almonds, 2 tbsp. sea salt, 1 tbsp. finely minced rosemary, and 2 tsp. olive oil. Roast on a sheet pan for 10 to 12 minutes at 350°.Related: 13 Thanksgiving menus
3. Hands-free hosting: Set up an aperitif and appetizer cart with pour-your-own cocktails and grabbable nibbles.
4. Creative cooler: Keep the bubbly on ice in a garden pot.
Make you own drink tags
5. DIY drink IDs: With a pencil, trace the base of each cocktail glass onto heavy paper stock (a good use for old calendar pages or catalog covers). Next, use a dime to trace a circle within your circle, then cut around both and snip across one side of the "doughnut." Write a guest's name on each.Related: Stylish Thanksgiving serving tips
6. Interactive ambience: Set up a record player and a selection of albums-ask guests to bring their favorites and encourage all to play DJ. An iPod boom box works too.
If your climate is temperate enough, go ahead-move the dinner table outside.
7. Garden centerpiece: Keep it low and give the gourds a rest. Make a casual garland with clippings from your own yard-ours was inspired by one on the blog Oh Happy Day.
8. Versatile furniture: Mix indoor dining chairs with outdoor ones as the length of your guest list grows. We used a table with wheels to make it even easier to bring the party outside.
Related: 7 creative fall table settings
9. Just in case: Draped throws on the backs of dining chairs offer warmth-as-needed for guests-and another punch of color.
A canopy provides shade
10. In the frame: With a canopy, any outdoor area can feel like an outdoor room. Here, a retractable sailcloth awning floats overhead like clouds.
Related: 21 outdoor dining rooms
More entertaining ideas from Sunset:
How to create outdoor "rooms" with the space you have
19 ideas for romantic garden lighting
Decorate with fall leaves
16 easy decorative pumpkin arrangements