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11 Outdoor Dining Essentials for an Elevated Experience

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I'm a mom of two boys living in Denver. The Fox & She is where I share my easy outfit ideas, style tips, beauty hacks and wellness tips for inspired, happier living—everyday.

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outdoor dining essentials

Rechargeable Lamps | Tablecloth | Plates | Wine Glasses | Drinking Glasses

This weekend officially marked a big moment in the year—patio dining season is back!

After a big (and unexpected) snowfall over the weekend, it warmed up on Sunday, melted and turned into the most beautiful spring day. We played soccer in the backyard, grilled chicken skewer and made cucumber salad and dined on our patio for the first time this season.

Growing up, family dinners were something I cherished and continuing that tradition with my own family is something that brings me so much joy. And dining outdoors makes me so happy—like irrationally happy—haha!

To ring in one of the best seasons of all, we went all out and set the table with all of our goodies which made me realize that, a) we have a pretty great set-up and, b) there were a few essentials we still needed to complete the table and make it even more enjoyable for the months to come.

Outdoor Dining Essentials

Table & Chairs

The first thing you need is somewhere to actually sit! We bought a table and some chairs from Target a few years ago and it’s held up pretty well. It’s made of wood so it’s aged a bit with the dry weather here. If you’re looking to buy a set, I will actually say I wish we had metal—it’s easier to clean and maintain and for dry climates like ours, it will last longer. Wood gets so dried and warped here—lesson learned! Whenever we need to replace it, we’ll go with metal.

Another tip here for a more collected and interesting set-up—don’t buy a matching set. Some matching sets look great, others look too matchy-matchy. Find a table you like, then find coordinating chairs to go with it!


While a tablecloth is not totally essential, especially if you have a gorgeous wooden or teak table like this, they can be helpful at dressing up your table and also covering dust. Our table gets dusty easily and I do wipe it off, but even after it can still feel a little icky. Throw a tablecloth over it and you’re set! Just make sure to measure your table before so you buy the right size—you want it to drape over the sides, but not all the way to the ground.


For glassware, you can use real glass, or opt for acrylic that won’t break—when dining with adults, I don’t mind using glass, but if your kids are prone to spilling, acrylic might be a better option. I included some fun classic and colorful options for both styles of glasses here, including my favorite vintage-inspired wine glasses that I can’t get enough of!

Enamel-Coated Plates

Instead of using ceramic outside, I love sing enamel-coated plates—they have a metal interior which makes them heavier than plastic so they won’t get easily knocked off the table or blown away. They also make your table look fancier and more pulled together without being fancy. Plus, they’re super easy to clean—just pop them in the dishwasher and you’re done! We have these check plates and these floral plates from Mackenzie-Childs and I still can’t believe how much we use them.

Hurricane Vase for Candles

This is high on my list after our latest outdoor dinner—even the slightest breeze will blow out your candle. Placing your candles into one of these glass hurricane vases allows you to get that gorgeous glow and is a lot less likely to get blown out—plus they add a level of sophistication to your table as well.


Depending on the time of year, I’ll opt for either a citronella candle or unscented pillar candle. If you live somewhere with lots of bugs, definitely grab citronella candles. It’s not super buggy here in Denver, so either works.

Electric Lighter

This electric lighter is a household essential in my book—it’s rechargeable and so easy to use. We’ve had one for years and I give it as gifts (with a candle too) often. It’s like a fire stick, but you can use it over and over again—no worrying about running out of fuel.

Cordless Lamps

One of my favorite items for an outdoor table. These are also great for seating areas if you plan to hang out and have dessert or drinks after the sun sets. You charge them with a USB cable and then just tap them on! The come in a bunch of colors and finishes and I promise—you need these! I love mine SO much!!!

Wine Chiller

If you’re serving wine, keep it close by and chilled with a wine chiller. I personally love this marble one as it’s elegant and can be used indoors and outdoors! For larger parties, a trough-style bucket is a great way to keep drinks in view and also chilled for easy access for your guests.

Twinkle Lights

If you don’t have any lighting over your dining area, consider stringing some bistro lights across the area where you’ll be hanging out. They add just the right amount of warm glow at night. We just bought a few strands of these to hang over our outdoor lounge area and I can’t wait—a project for me to tackle this weekend!

Wireless Bluetooth Speaker

Last, but not least, a wireless bluetooth speaker can be a great addition to play light background music to set the tone. Personally, I love the sounds of nature, but it can really create a mood for your evening depending on the type of music you play.

These essentials will make dining outdoors easy, simple and elevated all season long. Now, we just need a menu for our next dinner party!

BTW, grilled peach, tomato and burrata salad with mint, and grilled harissa chicken wings.



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