Our backyard has been feeling the love this summer with all of the barbecues and casual picnic style meals I’ve been throwing! Warm nights that linger on with friends laughing and sipping on their cocktails late into the evening is my favorite part about this season. (Just as the sun sets and you really start to get into those juicy conversations–to be specific!) Backyard happy hours as I like to call them have become my summer go-to. Very little pre-planning is required which is always nice especially after a busy week–you can plan it rather last minute, throw together a cheese board, and pop open a bottle of wine. In an effort to make these backyard happy hours feel extra special I’ve been incorporating a couple of easy touches to create just the right vibe.
A welcoming scent (I was inspired by this Epic Everyday BuzzFeed video to use herbs from our garden). I mixed sage and lavender with some greenery from our yard into a few floral arrangements that I sprinkled throughout the house and into the picnic lounge setup. I love having the option to cut greens straight from our yard which gives your floral arrangements a seasonal feel and also saves you from spending money on overpriced blooms.
Chill playlist to set the tone for the evening. Whenever we’re hosting we like to have our speakers playing both inside and out for those wandering through the house and into the back.
Bring the inside out. I love creating a picnic style setting. Incorporating floor pillows makes the meal feel extra inviting and cozy. My latest obsession has been layering cactus silks to create a dreamy bohemian vibe (I picked these up from Kechmara Designs). And once the sun sets be sure to bring out those candles!
Simplify the food. When it comes to the food and drinks I like to keep things as easy as possible. Either asking guests to bring a dish or simply creating an easy cheese board. Since the groceries and alcohol can quickly add up I’ve been excited about the cash back benefits of my new American Express Blue Cash Everyday Card (3% savings on groceries which really helps if you like to entertain as much as I do! Plus 2% cash back at U.S. gas stations; 2% cash back at select U.S. department stores and 1% cash back on other purchases). If you’re creating a signature cocktail keep the ingredients simple–2/3 steps at most so you don’t overcomplicate things for yourself. Or better yet, ditch the cocktail when it comes to picnicking and have everyone bring their favorite summer beverage.
Use those special dishes. The easiest way to upgrade any at-home dining experience, especially a picnic, is with special dishes and cocktail glasses. I’ll take any excuse to pull out the pretty stuff! Also, be sure to bring out the coasters which are handy when setting your drink on uneven grass.
Thank you to American Express for collaborating on this sponsored feature!
Photography | Michelle Drewes