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Table for Ten for or Party for Two? Set the Mood for Al Fresco Dining

Dining Al fresco can be the highlight of the summer season with a few simple tips! Take advantage of our amazing Oklahoma sunsets and mild temperatures during mid-April and May.

First, SET THE MOOD: Keep it soft, subtle and simple. Background music is a key element. This would be the time to take advantage of Pandora. Suggested Stations: Norah Jones, John Mayer, James Blunt, Love Songs Radio or Steve Tyrell.

Second, THE GUEST LIST: A few guests works best! Unless you plan to have a catered event, keep it to 10 or less.

Third, FOOD & DRINK: Don't overcomplicate! A simple grilled menu; grilled meat, grilled vegetable and fresh salad will keep it manageable and non-fussy. You should serve wine and or a signature drink. (Consider a bar cart for guests to serve themselves. This will help keep the conversation flowing)

Fourth, THE SPACE: Whether your front yard, back yard or somewhere in between, create a space that has some of the same comforts of indoor dining. Comfortable seating, fresh linens, nice silver and glassware. Dishes can be fun, so mix and match or use your grandmother's best China... whatever the case, it should reflect the vibe you're going for. For breezy nights, consider draping a few throw blankets over chairs.

Fresh flowers are usually a hit with those who don't suffer critically from allergies! Beautiful arrangements from your own garden or store bought will add color and class to your gathering.

Fifth, LIGHTING & AMBIANCE: Be prepared for the sun to set! String lights, lanterns, lamps and candles will enhance the mood and keep the good mood going.

Sixth, THE BUGS: Keep the critters at bay with a few helpful tips that are worth a try! Bay leaves will repel ants. Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint are all herbs and aromas that mosquitos will loathe. Mix up this concoction and don't be shy about spraying it around your perimeter. Just test it out beforehand!

Seventh, SIT BACK, RELAX and ENJOY!!!

Sources and photos:, The Scout Guide, Veranda, Southern Living

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