May is in full swing, and with it comes the official beginning of outdoor entertaining season. Since ambience is almost as important as the company, here are my top three essentials for entertaining in style.
Melamine plates ($6 each) are a great option for outdoor entertaining because they are virtually unbreakable, lightweight, and dishwasher safe. Plus, have you ever tried to cut anything on a paper plate? Guaranteed fail. These resemble hand-painted Mediterranean ceramics, which make you feel like you are vacation even if you are just picnicking at the park.
Indoors or out, candles are a great way to add ambience to any gathering. Since candlesticks are too fragile and susceptible to wind, go for some ornate lanterns ($10-$25 for two) instead. I love these for their great shape, their range of colors, and the fact that they come in three sizes. Pair the small ones with flowers for a complete tabletop look and use the larger ones elsewhere on the patio or in the yard. Rock the casbah!
The trick is to find good-looking glasses that aren't glass. These come in three colors and have a great pattern on the outside that will hide the wear and tear that acrylic glasses ($7 each) always seem to undergo in the dishwasher. I also love that they are large enough for drinks that require ice.