DIY Al Fresco Entertaining, Featuring Erin Gleeson from The Forest Feast

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The beauty of al fresco entertaining—derived from the Italian, meaning "in the fresh air"—is that you don't need to pack your bags, buy an expensive plane ticket, and get your passport documentation in order to transport yourself to a villa in the countryside. With just a picnic table, a few choice pieces of decor, a fresh cocktail, and two simply divine appetizers, it's quite easy to establish a dining experience not unlike one in the rustic fields of Europe.

In our latest DIY video, we collaborated with Erin Gleeson, the blogger behind the gorgeous, watercolor- and delicious recipe-laden site The Forest Feast, to create the total al fresco entertaining experience. A tablescape featuring in-season summer flowers, golden candles, and an unusual moss table runner played the perfect complement to Erin's lovely drink and hors d'ouevres, producing an outdoor fête so picturesque, you'd swear you were in Tuscany.

Learn how to create the ultimate al fresco dining experience below, featuring a tablescape designed by nousDECOR in-house interior designer Rebecca Martin, and how to make a cucumber spritzer, asparagus straws, and guacamole deviled eggs, original recipes by Erin Gleeson of The Forest Feast, featured in her stunning, eponymous new cookbook The Forest Feast, available here.

Setting the Table

First, we started by setting the table—which began by arranging the flowers. According to Rebecca Martin, our in-house interior designer, there's no reason to be scared of combining flowers of different colors, as she explained on set:
"All flowers go together. That's the glory of it."

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Next, vases of different sizes create a visually-interesting and stunning array.

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A set of silver-hued candlesticks...

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...are unexpectedly perfect with golden candles.

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Finally, the addition of moss created a unique and stunning table runner for outdoors. But we weren't finished yet!

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making hors d'oeuvres

Next, Erin started whipping up the cocktail and appetizer recipes that would really bring the al fresco dining experience to life.

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An invigorating cucumber spritzer—simply made with seltzer, white wine, some mint and an impressive sliver of cucumber—starts the evening off on the right note.

Asparagus pastry straws are unreal-good, look beautiful, and are so easy to make!

Guacamole deviled eggs are exactly what you'd think they are—absolutely delicious. A hint of avocado in a deviled egg recipe is exactly what was needed to upgrade the traditional appetizer to another, much more summery, level.

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The final spread was the ultimate in casual, elegant al fresco entertaining—fresh, organic decor and simple, gorgeous and delicious recipes made for the perfect outdoor experience. Who needs to go to Italy when you can practically DIY it, right?

Grab your copy of The Forest Feast today and start prepping for your outdoor dining experience this summer. Then upload it to nousDECOR to inspire others!

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