5 Affordable Outdoor Entertaining Essentials That Need This Summer

I'm always thinking of how to improve my entertaining game so I'm constantly on the lookout for outdoor entertaining essentials for my summer soirees.


Because the best part of the summer for me is hanging out with friends in a beautifully decorated and inviting dining space.  

outdoor entertaining essentials

As the hostess of your circle, you've already thought of the obvious things: food, drinks, dinnerware and glassware. But, there are a few ways you can take the dining experience to the next level and host a really memorable dinner soiree. 

So I'm going to show you what other elements to add in order to create that unique experience we all want! I’ve already shared with you some great outdoor summer dinner party themes you really need to try this summer, but now I'm breaking down the must-haves for these soirees.

outdoor entertaining essentials

Image source: Style Me Pretty

1. Outdoor String Lights

Whether you're setting up a summer dinner experience or a fall-inspired dinner, outdoor string lights can add so much to the overall ambiance. They are an inexpensive way to elevate your dining game. From Target to Amazon, you can find some great string lights for under $50. And the beauty of that is that you can use them all year long and not just for special event.

string lights for outdoor-fall-tablescape

Image source: Maison de Pax

2. Ready-To-Hang Tassel Garlands

If you're not much into DIY or simply don't have the time to make your own, Genie of GeeWoo makes these beautiful and colorful wedding and party decorations like these ready-to-hang tassel garlands. They come in all colors and sizes so chances are you'll find one to match the look & feel of your soiree. $15 - $44 at GeeWoo

ready-to-hang tassel garland

Image source: Ruffled 

ready-to-hang tassel garland

Image credit: GeeWoo

 3. Moroccan Lanterns

 If you're looking to add a little bit of spice to your backyard dinner then Moroccan lanterns will definitely help you achieve that. You can find a lot of affordable options like these Antiqued Zinc Latika Tabletop Lanterns for only $19.99 from World Market.  

Moroccan lanterns for backyard dinner

Image credit: The DIY Project 


Image source: Style Style Me Pretty

 4. An Outdoor Bar Cart (or a rolling one that you can bring out) 

Now, bar carts are all the rage these days and they're here to stay. There are some really expensive ones out there but I personally wouldn't spend a lot of money on one. Why? Because you can get a super simple and affordable bar cart that's good quality and then add the bottles, glasses and other accessories to make it look amazing.  I like this super simple Mango Wood Bar Cart from Target for only $149.99 because look how nice it can be done up:

outdoor bar cart

Image source: Emily Henderson 

5. A Really Cool Ice Bucket

If you're only entertaining a couple of people then a regular table ice bucket will do but my guess is you like to host quite a few of your friends at once so you can get really creative and spend very little or nothing at all. For example, you can transform one of your existing backyard planters into an ice bucket. How  creative! And if you don't already have a planter you can always find a used one at your local thrift store or flee market. You'll probably end up with a really great ice cooler for less than $20.

outdoor planter ice bucjet

Image source: One Kings Lane

There are so many more ways to add to your outdoor dinner experience - what did I miss? What do you use in your backyard when you host dinners? 

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