Outdoor Entertaining

Being outdoors is relaxing anytime. The feel of a soft breeze and the scent of fresh air lowers your heart rate, reduces stress and gets you in the mood to have some fun. That’s one reason that outdoor spaces make great spots to spend time with loved ones. Whether you decide on an informal occasion complete with grilled chicken and vegetables or strolling in elegant attire with cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, your home’s open-air backdrop lends a special quality that’s unforgettable. At west elm, we do our best to contribute to your resounding successes. Look at how outdoor entertaining dinnerware, serveware and decorative pieces can help create the ambience you’re seeking.


Shapes, colors and textures have a big effect on the way your party feels. A smooth acrylic platter provides a different atmosphere than a vibrant ceramic bowl, for example. When you have a theme in mind for a special occasion, little details like serving pieces or drinkware play their part to transport guests to the location of your choosing. A Spanish courtyard, Mediterranean terrace or New York art gallery are just a few style ideas. When dinnerware fits the mood of the celebration, it amplifies everything. That’s why serving homemade salsa and tortillas in colorful bowls reminiscent of a Mexican pueblo is so awesome. It’s not just about the taste, but it’s also the festive atmosphere you create.


Our acrylic drinkware is chic and modern. Highball glasses, stemware and double old-fashioned glasses are smooth and brilliant. We take care so they closely resemble glass pieces – with elegant contours outside and curved surfaces on the inside – but without having to worry as much about breakage. They take the idea of shatter-resistant dinnerware to the next level.


Is acrylic or glass better for outdoor parties? That depends on your personal preferences. Some people like the weight and feel of sipping wine from a glass goblet. Others like the laid-back nature and easy cleanup of acrylic stemware and barware. Another important consideration is who is coming to dinner. A family with children often appreciates having shatter-resistant drinkware and dinnerware on hand. That gives them peace of mind since they don’t need to worry about little kids getting injured if something drops. This allows you rest easier as well. Plus, when the party comes to an end, dishwasher-safe acrylic pieces practically clean themselves.


Trays are awesome for any kind of outdoor entertaining. If a friend comes over to visit, your patio or apartment balcony is a terrific place to spend some time talking and reminiscing. It gives you some privacy and a pleasant ambience. How do trays help here? For one thing, they save you from running back and forth from the house. Coffee cups, creamer, sugar, stirring spoons and even sweet treats like biscotti and cookies all fit neatly on a single tray.


When you have a number of guests, trays are versatile serving pieces that work with almost anything: canapés, mini pizzas and many other mouthwatering offerings. By placing several drinks on a tray – instead of carrying two at a time – you’re able to spend more time with friends, so you get to enjoy the party just as much as everyone else. That’s the whole point of entertaining: having fun with people you appreciate.


There are tons of different tray types and shapes, from rustic wood designs to semi-reflective lacquered finishes, so trust your instincts on this one. It’s OK to think outside of the box and go with bold designs if that’s your signature style. Anything that gets you excited is good for the party since it adds lots of emotion.


Because outdoor entertaining is such a popular way to relax with loved one, things like dinnerware, drinkware and bar tools make great presents too. A friend with a flair for the grill usually appreciates grill tools, a chef’s apron or an ice-cold mug for cooling down while they cook. Bar enthusiasts feel a little like a professional bartender with a copper shaker or double jigger. Alternatives to ice cubes – like shiny stainless-steel cubes – make a huge impression and are even eco-friendly.