The prettiest tablescapes for your fabulous outdoor feasts

The inspiration, shopping lists and best tips for beautiful, breezy al fresco dining

The inspiration, shopping lists and best tips for beautiful, breezy al fresco dining

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Is there anything more vibrant and romantic than dining al fresco in the warm evenings of late summer or the crisp, fresh air of the early fall? The window to entertain outdoors for Canadians is short but oh so sweet, so let these most gorgeous tablescapes inspire your next gathering. From colourful eclectic to chateau chic, we've rounded up the inspiration, the shopping lists and the best tips for creating a beautiful and breezy occasion for all.

Seaside casual

You may not be able to tablescape beachside, but you can take some serious inspo from this beachy dinner party. It's laid back and gorgeous, and we love that the floral is not overly styled. To achieve a similar vibe at your own outdoor dinner party, aim for neutrals with pops of colour from soft florals.

You can get a super summery casual feel with a table that's low to the ground, or skip the table altogether and dine on a blanket or a rug. For tableware, this look calls for all white everything, and some vintage-inspired glassware. Think California cool over East coast nautical - you can even throw in some pastels. Rattan lanterns will add a beachy vibe and some light to your table as the night wears on. Natural textures with wicker, striped linen napkins and lots and lots of greenery from your local farmers market will complete the look.

GET THE LOOK: Dinner plate set, $63.60 at CB2; Napkin set, $72 at Anthropologie; White porcelain basket, $59.95 at CB2; Wicker candle holders, $38 at Anthropologie; Rose gold flatware set, $39-$399 at West Elm; Fishnet woven runner, $29 at West Elm; Light pink glasses, $2.49 at Ikea, Etched tumblers, $6 at MagnoliaMarket.com.

Chateau chic

We can't all dine al fresco at a French chateau. But we certainly can take inspiration that kind of covetable outdoor dining experience. For this style, think elegant meets rustic meets vintage. It's an opportune time to pile the table with grandma's vintage plates and show off those antique serving dishes. Add some elegance with candelabras and let them provide some ambiance as the sun goes down. Add colour with simple bowls of pears and lemons, and some greenery with bunches of fresh herbs in a vase or pitcher. For texture, use wooden serving boards, antique metals, and of course, the quintessentially French linen napkins. Keep things casual by piling dishes and cutlery, and serving food family style. Don't be too fussy about matching, it lends a rustic/casual feel to the tablescape. And to finish it all off, add cheese, wine and baguettes.

GET THE LOOK: Dinner plates, $10 at VdeV; Linen napkins, $3.99 at Ikea; Wine glasses, $9.25, at VdeV; Copper tray, $18 at VdeV; Olivewood cheese board, $24.95 at Crate&Barrel; Bastille taper holder, $44 at Anthropologie; Glenna cake stand, available late August at Anthropologie; Two-tiered serving tower, $66 at MagnoliaMarket.com; Wooden serving stands, $38 at MagnoliaMarket.com.

Colourful eclectic

This playful tabletop is all about colour.  It's perfect for brunches and birthday dinners. To get this cheery look, opt for pops of brights and pastels, and mix in lots of fun patterns. Pick a main hue - we love the pink from this inspiration pic - and go from there. Floral is a key element in this tablescape, so be sure to pay a visit to your local farmer's market or florist for some in-season blooms. Rose gold goes so well with this bright and colourful arrangement. Incorporate vintage plates, and different shapes of tableware. No napkin rings? No problem. We love that this table is styled with knotted napkins. It's very trendy right now, and oh so practical. Add a bit of greenery to each place setting, but using leaves as place cards.

GET THE LOOK: Gold flatware set, $119 at CB2; Pink dinnerware set, $34.99 at Ikea; Small drinking glass, $7.50 at VdeV; Wine glasses, $9.25 at VdeV; Olivewood cheese board, $24.95 at Crate&Barrel; Garden side plate, $16 at Anthropologie; Melamine dinner plate set, $40 at Anthropologie; Orange striped table runner, $85; White ash coaters, $29 at West Elm; Striped napkins, $65 at Anthropologie.

Tropical vibes

This tropical table setting is sophisticated and easy to replicate without having to commit to going full-on tropical. The white and blue colour scheme, with pops of gold lends a fresh feel to the place settings. Add a tropical vibe with fresh florals, and simple greenery in vases that function as centerpieces. Look for monstera leaves, white drumstick allium and white anthurium. Play with tropical golden motifs such as palm trees and pineapples - which happen to be very on trend right now, so they're easy to find. To add a touch of elegance, opt for classic white plates, and blue drinkware in various hues. Incorporate some natural texture with teak wooden charger plates.

GET THE LOOK: Gold flatware set, $119 at CB2; Gold accent hurricanes, $12-$52 at Anthropologie; Gold palm tree taper candle holder, $72.95 at CB2; Textured dinner plate set, $40 at West Elm; Blue wine glass, $12 at Anthropologie; Small cobalt vase, $12 at VdeV; Round cobalt vase, $14 at VdeV; Cobalt old fashioned glass, $6.95 at CB2; Dessert plate, $8.50 at VdeV; Golden pineapple table runner, $68 at Anthropologie; Gold place card holders set; $14.95 at CB2.

Moody grey

This dinner party look is all about ambience. As summer draws to an end, and the nights get a little longer, light the candles and let your guests linger over the table into the night. Think lanterns, tapers, and many, many pillars - and hope for a night that's not too windy. Simple, clear glassware will help reflect the twinkling light. Keep the colours muted and opt for light blues to add to the moody feel of the table. This look is perfect for dinner parties with friends, or even just a romantic dinner for two. Floral also plays a key part in this decor. Incorporate spanish moss, and dried florals in muted greys to achieve the texture and moody tone of this tablescape.

GET THE LOOK: Blue dinner plates, $19.99 at West Elm; 3-piece white vase set, $21.95 at CB2; White beeswax taper candles, $10.50 at Home Smith, Classic pillar candles, $5 - $15 at Home Smith; Bastille taper holder, $44 at Anthropologie; Blue cloth napkins, $6.95 at Crate&Barrel.