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How to throw a stress-free outdoor party in 5 easy steps

Summer nights are made for impromptu gatherings. Here’s how to prep in advance without breaking a sweat.

Ikat plates, TSC.ca/chatelaine. charger plates, blue plates, blue bowls, yellow napkins, flatware, lantern, crateandbarrel.com. blue-rimmmed plates, gingham napkins, glasses, drink dispenser, cb2.com. red gingham napkins, table runner, stylist’s own.

Chatelaine plates in Blue Ikat, The Shopping Channel. Charger plates, blue plates, blue bowls, yellow napkins, flatware, lantern, Crate&Barrel. Blue-rimmmed plates, gingham napkins, glasses,
drink dispenser, CB2.


1. Prep your cutlery and plates
Wrap cutlery in napkins and stash them in an extra pitcher or vase. Try mixing and matching plates, bowls and chargers for a casual touch. Tip: Give your table a polished look with a colourful runner or tablecloth.

2. Assemble a basket with blankets, pillows and rugs  
Have this at the ready for when the temperature drops or if your party increases. Picnic-style dining will ensure everyone has a seat.

3. Decorate with flowers
Break up a grocery store bouquet and accentuate with greenery from your garden. Or just pick flowers straight from your backyard.

4. Get creative with your lighting
Use votive candles and hurricane lanterns for after-sunset lighting. String up some globe lights above the table or along a fence for a warm glow. Click here for the top string lighting picks of the season.

5. Make a playlist in advance
Plan for five hours of music. We love music apps like Google Play Music or Spotify which stream pre-created playlists based on a certain mood, activity or genre.

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