Outdoor Entertaining: Colorful Candy Accents

Our house is small.  Really small.  3 bedrooms for 8 people is rough, and having a small dining room makes it impossible to entertain guests.

Thankfully, summer means we can sit and visit OUTSIDE.  Grilling can be done outside.  Eating can be done outside.  It's really the perfect time to have guests over!

This summer and fall, there are some really on-trend things happening in outdoor entertaining.  Most of them, however, revolve around color.  You can see so many of the color trends in everything from the dinnerware to the tableclothes to the throw pillows on the outdoor furniture. Mainstays, for example, has these amazing double chaise loungers that scream bold color.  They also say "I think I'll take a nap for awhile."  They are that super-cozy....

But even if you aren't in the market for a new set of furniture, there are simple, affordable ways to brighten up your outdoor events and give them color.  Take these DIY candy centerpieces, for example.

You'll simply take any plastic or glass mason jar-type container (Alladin makes the unbreakable drinkware pictured -- just $6 for 4), and fill them with your choice of small candies.  Jelly Belly's are my favorite!  Then, use them as stand-alone pieces or put the plastic utensils in them for guests to have at each table.  You can also wrap the tops of the containers with ribbon or paper streamers!

And while the kids at the party will likely LOVE eating the candy when dinner is done, grownups need something a bit more sophisticated.  This cheesecake from Sam's Choice features different flavors, so that the presentation is colorful and everyone is happy.

The most important thing to remember is that outdoor entertaining means fun.  Don't make the party so complicated that you have many things to take care of and you can't enjoy yourself and your guests.  Even disposable plates and cups can be bright and cheery!

And finally, if all else fails, a nice floral centerpiece can add boldness to the same old table settings.  Choose large, single florals, if possible.  This eye-popping sunflower is perfect!

You can try filling a large vase partway with colorful marbles and the rest of the way with water, placing this big bloom alone inside to catch everyone's eye.

What are your favorite colors to decorate this year?  Will your parties be brighter than last year?