2020 has been one heck of a year hasn’t it? I am so ready to start celebrating the gifts of everyday life with some of my closest friends – how about you? I am currently planning a fall outdoor dinner party for the end of this month with a handful of my favorite people. California is still under a no big gatherings requirement (as is most of the nation I believe 🤷♀️) but you can still have an amazing backyard evening with 10-15 friends ;).
Not ignoring our human need for friendship and interaction (small as it may be) is so important as we head into the holidays.
My backyard was the victim of an unfortunate mudslide back in April of this year. But looking on the bright side of things, while that has been stressful to deal with, my backyard has benefited tremendously and I am finally ready to invite people over again! So I sent a text to 5 of my besties (and their significant others) asking if they want to have a fall outdoor dinner party at my house. They were just as ready as me to celebrate :).
I will do another post shortly about the menu for this gathering – which I have decided to call an early Friendsgiving ☺️ – just without the turkey and mashed potatoes. Well I think – honestly I haven’t decided the menu yet. I have been focusing on what cocktail to serve 😂. I just realized Canadian Thanksgiving was actually Monday this week so in Canada my Friendsgiving would be late 🤷♀️.
That said – here are a few items I have already decorated my backyard with to prepare for my early Friendsgiving:
- Pumpkins (of course)
- Candles (another of course)
- Fresh Flowers
- Throw Blankets
- String Lights
Let’s Start With the Obvious: Pumpkins
We have multiple seating areas in our backyard (see the post with all the details on that) – so I have made sure each space has a bit of fall decor in the likelihood guests will be sitting anywhere in the yard. Pumpkins are a very easy way to make that happen – faux and real!
I just got these stone pumpkins this year and I love how easy they are in the backyard!
Candles Add Ambience Everywhere
I have faux candles on a timer outside as well as multiple votive candles on the table. These votive holders come in sets of different colors – white, gold, silver, as well as red for the Christmas holiday coming up. I have a set of each and mix and match them for every single dinner party I host!! They are a great investment!
I recently purchased these pumpkin flameless candles and will be replacing the white lanterns on the table with them for the outdoor dinner party.
Flowers Always and Always
I almost always buy my fresh flowers from Trader Joe’s. The only time I don’t is when I am having a larger party and need multiple bunches. For that I go to a local warehouse floral shop. I am not one for large bouquets. In fact I don’t really even like extra greenery in my vases- which may make me rather odd 🤷♀️.
For this table, I purchased four bunches of flowers from Trader Joe’s and then put together my own crazy simple arrangements. Often I will only put one flower type in a vessel. In fact – often there might only be one stem in a vessel even. I told you – I am a VERY SIMPLE person when it comes to decor! This time I mixed the three types of flowers I bought though ☺️.
These photos are from an earlier outdoor dinner party that I hosted a little bit ago. I usually decide what flowers I am going to use based on what I find at Trader Joe’s :).
Here in Southern California – we do not have colorful leaves falling from our trees in abundance. So I use faux leaves. These come in a huge quantity and are very reasonably priced which makes them easy to use outside and then just throw away when I am done with them.
Throw Blankets and Pillows
Even though our days are quite temperate, our evenings actually can get quite chilly here in San Diego. I also am fully aware that most Southern Californians have adjusted so much to our frequent 70 degree temps that as soon as it goes below 65 – we need sweaters, coats, blankets…
I make sure to have a basket of blankets at the ready for any dinner parties I host. We have an entire basket that is dedicated to outdoor blankets so that my indoor throws never have to venture outside. My family and friends always race to get to the Scandia Down throws first. My mom gave them to my kids as gifts when they were younger and they really are the perfect size and warmth.
We use two benches as seating at our large outdoor table so I like to put blankets on these as well. This serves two purposes: one – they make the space pretty 🤪 and two – the benches are a little rough hewn so the throw blankets help not scratch anyone’s legs :).
Hanging string lights have become a backyard staple (or at least they are VERY common here in San Diego). Most of my friends’ backyards have them now. We got ours about five years ago from Costco and they are holding up great! We ran a metal wire from our house to our palm trees on the other end of the yard to clip the lights to. This makes them extra secure. They have survived many a Santa Ana windstorm :).
We hired an electrician to wire our outdoor string lights to an indoor on/off switch so that there is no plugging in required on our part when we want to use them. Honestly – THIS IS THE WAY TO GO! We use these lights alot and the ease of the indoor switch for them is just priceless…
Here is what they look like close up – we have four strings that were spliced together to plug into that box as one and then the switch is on the other side of that wall inside our house 😎.
Heaters to Keep Us Warm
Besides the throws, we have a few outdoor heaters. This last year, I even bought an electric heater so that if we are accidentally out of propane for our other heaters, we can still be warm. My kids are not fans of lighting the propane heaters so the ease of the electric one makes them so happy.
We keep them off to the side and roll them around the yard wherever we need them most. We have had many different kinds of outdoor heaters including the pretty glass tube heaters. But honestly the ones we bought from Costco a few years ago warm up the most space so we got rid of the glass tube ones all together!
Now I Need to Figure Out What The Menu Will Be For My Friendsgiving Night (and more importantly – the cocktails to serve!).
I haven’t solved the menu situation yet – but I have a lot of ideas stirring around in my head. I guess I should finalize this in the next week or so! Funny though – because I know my friends would be perfectly content if we just ordered pizza (I have the right friends – don’t I?). It’s the people in our lives that are the most important – and I cannot wait to have a wonderful time with my closest friends 🍁.