Summer is the perfect time to entertain outside. Check out my 5 simple steps to host a small backyard picnic.

Do you love to entertain?

I sure do and summertime is the best time to host an outdoor party.

How fun would a backyard picnic be at this time of year?

We’re joining our blogging friends again this month to bring you some pretty picnic dinner party ideas you’re going to LOVE!!

Getting together virtually every month and putting our creative minds to work has been amazing.

Coming up with themes for decorating new tablescapes and creating a different delicious menu every month has been so rewarding for us.

Be sure to read all the way to the end of this post so you don’t miss out on the other gorgeous picnic table ideas!

Have you been following along each month?

Here is a list of our previous tablescape ideas we’ve done with our friends (just click the link for inspiration):

And don’t forget to come back Saturday to check out our picnic-inspired menu.

Our recipes include everything you need to throw a spectacular get-together…drinks, appetizers, side dishes, main entrees, and desserts!

If you’re visiting us from our friend Jen from Midwest Life and Style or if you’re new to our blog, Hey there and welcome!

Two women holding cups of lemon bars in a jar standing under a pergola strung with different sizes of string lights. The background is all kinds of shrubs. A tan outdoor sofa sits under the pergola with wicker tables, lanterns, and potted plants.

Thanks so much for stopping by our blog to check it out!

We’re AnnMarie (wearing white) and Anne (wearing black), the two moms behind this blog.

We work together to share simple and budget-friendly ideas for decoratingrecipesDIY projects, and tips for life with older teens (and beyond!).

You can read more about us here.

So enough about us…let’s get talk more about this month’s theme… a super fun Picnic dinner party!

How to Host a Small Backyard Picnic Ideas

patio with black metal gazebo and string light hung from beams, sectional outdoor couch with 2 small wicker tables in front of sofa on outdoor area rug under pergola, trees, potted flowers and plants surrounding patio area

Although I love to entertain I do not like to make so much work for myself that it’s not fun anymore.

I like to keep things simple sometimes…especially if I’m only hosting a few friends and not a big party.

And today’s post is all about super easy ideas to host a small summer backyard get-together.

I planned this patio party for just four of us…Anne & Kevin and me & Chris…because honestly, that’s who we hang out with the most.

Do you have friends like that?

The type of friends that as long as you have a comfy place to sit with good food to eat and a few refreshing cocktails you have the makings of a perfect night.

Comfortable Outdoor Picnic Seating

metal pergola on patio outside with furniture and throw pillows, area rug, tables, lanterns and plants around area

The first step to host a backyard picnic is comfortable seating.

Whether you pull out a thick quilt and lay it on the lawn or you sit on outdoor furniture you want your guests to stay awhile.

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I decided to set up our evening picnic under our pergola on our patio since we have a comfortable sectional sofa to sit on.

three throw pillows in corner of outdoor sectional sofa on patio in backyard

A few throw pillows that I brought outside from our family room make the couch even cozier!

You don’t need to have special outdoor pillows…just grab some from inside to use for the night.

Provide Lighting for Your Dinner Party

view of metal gazebo with string lighting hung from top plants and flowers in pots at corners of structure with outdoor sectional and rug underneath

String lights have become so popular and are an easy way to light up your backyard picnic area.

I was recently gifted these amazing outdoor string lights from AQ Lighting that are so bright they light up our entire patio!

We had lights strung on our pergola support beams for the past several years but the new lights take the whole space up a notch.

view of large and small globe string lights hanging from support beams of pergola on patio

The combination of giant globe patio string lights with smaller vintage-style string lights is just such a fabulous look…don’t you think?

close up of two black metal and glass candle lanterns with handle on top an pillar candles burning inside on picnic patio

Candle lanterns also provide ambient lighting for your evening with friends.

I added 2 pillar candles to my large black lanterns that I’ve had for years on the patio for a pretty glow by the tables.

Using citronella candles or tiki torches filled with citronella fuel helps keep pesky bugs away from your picnic area.

Where to Set Up the Picnic Food?

two wicker side tables next to each other in middle of living area on patio with candle lanterns set in front of tables on area rug

I have two small side tables that I use in the middle of our outdoor seating area rather than a traditional coffee table.

But if you don’t have tables to use you can always set up a small folding table and throw a pretty tablecloth over it.

Or if you have a picnic basket that would be a perfect place to keep all your food.

Easy Way to Bring Picnic Supplies to Backyard

two outdoor wicker side tables with trays and picnic supplies on top with two candle lanterns sitting in front of tables on outdoor rug under pergola on patio

Trays are the perfect way to get dinner from the kitchen to the patio!

And since my tables are small the trays provide a large and sturdy place to set our food and drinks down on.

black slate tray with wood handles on wicker table four wine glasses and bottle of unopened wine on tray

This pretty black slate tray with wood handles was gifted to us from Piper Classics.

You have to check out their awesome home décor items! Anne has a set of beautiful pillow covers she uses on her front porch rocking chairs.

I just love the size of this little tray on my wicker table.

It perfectly holds a bottle of wine and 4 glasses but would also be great for wine tasting parties to write the names of each with chalk on the tray.

Or maybe even for a cheese platter and jot down each type of cheese served.

So many fun ideas!

galvanized tray on small wicker table filled with a stack of large and small plates and utensil caddy with cloth napkins and silverware in it

Another larger galvanized tray holds a stack of plates and a cute storage caddy of additional dinner necessities.

The farmhouse-style ticking striped napkins are also from Piper Classics and the quality of the fabric is so nice and thick.

galvanized utensil caddy with wood handle filled with folded striped ticking napkins and silverware

Since it was a small dinner party I didn’t need to use all the spaces for the silverware in the caddy.

Instead, I tucked a napkin in the utensil holder for a pretty decorative accent.

What to Serve at a Backyard Picnic

woman holding glass of wine in one hand and bottle of white wine in other hand in front of outdoor furniture on patio in backyard

Now that my patio picnic area is finished, I’m ready for hours of chatting with good friends enjoying great food!

Did you see that sneak peek of Anne’s delicious dessert she’s sharing on Saturday in that very first photo?

Be sure to come back and check out the entire picnic summer menu!

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More Picnic Ideas from Our Friends

view of wood picnic table with picnic basket plates and flowers and lemons, utensils in basket

Our picnic tablescape tour continues with our friend Michele from Vintage Home Designs

Wait until you see the rest of her stunning backyard picnic ideas!

hydrangea in vintage picnic basket in middle of tablescape on deck outside
Stacy from Bricks ‘n Blooms also styled a gorgeous outdoor picnic table.

Just click that link to see her 5 easy picnic date ideas!

opened vintage picnic basket filled with flowers, plates, glasses, napkins and a thermos
Rachel from the Ponds Farmhouse shares ideas for a picnic you’ll want to be invited to.

Don’t miss her 5 picnic setting table ideas!
candle sticks in holders with bread cheese and wine on table flowers and bottle of water also shown
Jen from Midwest Life and Style shares a romantic tablescape for two.

I may need to steal some of her tips!

If you have any questions or suggestions, contact me or leave a comment!

Don’t miss any of our tips, tricks, or stories! We’d love for you to follow us on social media! You can find us on TikTok, Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook.

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