Tips to Pull Off the Perfect Outdoor Dinner This Fall

Planning an al fresco dinner allows for more creativity in setting the table.
Farms and wineries often host outdoor dinners during the summer and fall months. They're set against a drop-dead gorgeous background of grape vines or gardens sprouting with vegetables. And they're just as upscale as indoor parties. We're talking rustic tables matched with comfortable seating (none of those wrought-iron or plastic patio chairs) and twinkling lights that coax the party into early morning. The food is far above picnic fare -- think several courses and drinks, maybe microbrews or bottles of wine -- laid out buffet-style for guests to graze on.
Worried your backyard doesn't resemble a farm or vineyard? That doesn't stop us from inviting friends over to enjoy the great outdoors. We talked with two California designers -- Rachel Hollis (Chic Events) and Kishani Perera (Kishani Perera Interior Design) -- who have years of experience planning memorable outdoor dinner parties. "I treat the outdoors just like another living space," says Perera, who has designed home interiors for Molly Sims and Kate Bosworth.
View the gallery above for great outdoor party tips.

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