OUTDOOR DINNER: Inspired By the French Bistro


In the summertime I am always looking for inspiration for creative outdoor parties. During my visual hunt I came across the most gorgeous pictures of French cafes and bistros and thought this would be a lovely theme for an outdoor dinner party.

My inspiration for this table design is a beautiful photo of a rustic cafe in Paris France by photographer Tracey Capone. 8×8 prints of this photo are available for sale on her Etsy site. I love how the dark stained wood at the store front is juxtaposed by the bright red bistro chairs. Also, the intimate seating arrangement creates a lovely atmosphere to dine with family and friends.

tracey Capone

Photo Credit: Tracey Capone Photography on Etsy.

Here are a few design tips to consider when creating a tablescape based on the inspiration board:

– The French bistro plate from Shutterfly is a foundation piece for the place settings. For a personal touch, be sure to customize a plate for each guest and include a black and white photo of them. These plates can then double as a seating chart at your dinner party.

– Use French bistro chairs for seating.

– Include a white cup and saucer (to serve coffee or tea) as part of your place setting. You can also include a bread plate from the same dining set.

– Use a placemat with black and white ticking stripes. This is a traditional pattern that is common in the south of France.

– Just like the French bistros and Cafes, write the dinner menu on a sidewalk chalkboard sign.

– Infuse modern and graphic elements into the design as well, for example we used the Erin Gates #6 vase for Jill Rosenwald.

– After the party, consider giving the customized plates to your guests as a memento of the occasion. The plates should be cleaned and then gift wrapped with a thank you card and perhaps recipes from the menu served at the event. We selected the Night Blossoms thank you and menu card from Wedding Paper Divas. The menu card is customizable and can used as a recipe card instead.

Photo Credits: See the links below.

1. Riviera Armchair in poppy by Serena and Lily

2. Bee Décor Footed Water Goblet from Amazon

3. Mikasa Stephanie ‘platinum’ Wine glass from Macy’s

4. Teacup and saucer from Jung Lee NY

5. Erin Gates #6 Vase from Jill Rosenwald

6. Anna Weatherly White / Platinum Charger from Gracious Style

7. French Bistro Plate by Shutterfly

8. Ticking Placemat by French laundry home

9. Salt and Pepper Mill from William Sonoma

10. Azalea cocktail and table napkins, azalea color in by Crate and Barrel

11. Sidewalk sign with blackboard from the Lucky Clover Trading Co.

12. Reed and Barton Blake Flatware from Macy’s

13. Night Blossoms Menu and thank you card by Wedding Paper Divas

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