Outdoor Entertaining Tips to Try This Fall

Summer has officially come to an end, and like many of us, you may already be welcoming the new season (and cooler temps) with open arms! Let’s face it, there’s something magical about fall in Nashville, the crispness in the air, the changing colors, football season in full swing… whatever aspect is your favorite, we just love this time of year and will take it as an excuse to exercise our southern hospitality! With that said, here are a few simple outdoor entertaining tips to try this fall!

1. Comfy seating all around. Assess your current outdoor seating situation. Is your arrangement conducive for intimate conversations? Do your outdoor chairs have comfortable cushions? Be intentional about your outdoor seating. Have multiple seating areas if possible… try arranging comfortable seating around a firepit, perhaps a large cozy sofa facing an outdoor TV for prime football viewing, or adding new cushions to the outdoor dining chairs to invite your guests to linger a little longer at the table.

2. Use decor from indoors. Elevate the outdoors by bringing a little bit of the indoors, out! Display a bouquet of flowers or seasonal cuttings in a vase, drape blankets over chairs, bring out some taper candles. Little details can go a long way.

3. Set up a self-serve mobile drink station. A self-serve drink station/bar serves two important functions: 1) it helps guests feel right at home and 2) it saves you from having to run around all day/night serving drinks instead of enjoying the party alongside your guests! Be sure to offer a variety of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink options. Here are some things you’ll want to stock the bar with:

  • Water and other non-alcoholic beverage options
  • Ice
  • Vodka or Gin
  • Whiskey
  • Tequila
  • Tonic Water & Club Soda
  • Lemons & Limes
  • Wine & Beer
  • Drink Stirrers and Straws
  • Glasses

4. Don’t serve everything at once. Plan to have “waves” of food appear. Simple appetizers for when people arrive, the “main” meal, and then snacks and desserts a bit later! This helps keep things interesting and satisfying for your guests but also stress-free for you!

5. Make a signature drink. Add a little extra personality to your get together by making a seasonally flavored signature drink. Create something that looks and tastes good and add dimension with fruit, herbs and festive stirrers. From spiced apple cider to clever creations with pumpkin, nutmeg and other fall flavors, the drinks you create will give your outdoor bar a memorable seasonal flavor!

6. Light of the party. We can’t stress this enough, lighting is so important! When the sun goes down, how will you light your party? Lighting gives you full control over the mood and ambiance so make a plan about when the sun goes down. Overhead lighting on dimmers can provide the perfect amount of lighting without killing the vibe, yet they can be turned on in full brightness for cleanup and safety when needed. String/bistro lights, tea lights, tiki torches, candles, these little bits of illumination can all play a part in adding a touch of magic to your backyard oasis.

7. Offer entertainment for the kids. If you are hosting a family-friendly event, it’s a good idea to offer entertainment for the younger crowd. You can keep things simple with coloring stations, bubble wands, playdough, or other seasonal activities.

8. Games for adults. It’s not just the kids who love a good activity to keep things lighthearted! Lifesize Jenga and cornhole are always good crowd pleasers to have on hand

9. Keep the bugs away. Just because we are ready for the change in seasons, doesn’t mean the bugs got the memo! Have a plan for when those pesky bugs make their appearance, because if they are biting, it will be hard for everyone to enjoy themselves! Light citronella candles and have incense sticks and bug spray on hand.

10. Festive decor. Make the most of the season and utilize autumn color pallets to help make your party a little more festive. Choose blankets and throws in warm fall colors, place lanterns with candles strategically around the entertaining space, use pumpkins, mums, and beautifully colored leaves to add texture and warmth to tables and bare corners.

Even though summer has ended, there’s just something about the promise of change and the hint of cooler weather that makes us want to cozy up and hang around family and friends. With these simple tips, fall entertaining will be easy and enjoyable for all!


From lighting to furniture, and all the accessories in between, the team at Graham’s Living is here to help! Call to schedule an appointment with one of our lighting + outdoor living specialists, or swing by the showroom. We look forward to seeing you!