The best backyard gatherings are always filled with laughter and good memories. We all know there's nothing worse than guests standing around, silent and awkward. The way to ensure this doesn't happen is to give your guests something to do upon arrival. Here are eight interactive table centerpiece ideas that break the ice and add the special "wow factor" to a variety of summer party themes.
1. Here's To the Poets & Painters
If you're throwing a fete for artists and intellectuals (or hopefuls), scatter the dining and conversation tables with poetry and photography books. The literature and artwork is sure to start a curious conversation when coupled with comfortable outdoor couches and chairs.
Use easels and hanging lights to display notable words and prints. Present leather-bound notebooks and sharpened graphite pencils at each place setting so everyone can create their own masterpiece.
2. Seasonings & Spice
Working well for just about any festivity, from Indian Festival to Mexican Fiesta, allowing your guests to customize their food and drinks according to their own palate preferences is a surefire way to please even the pickiest party-goer.
On dining tables, vases full of fresh herbs that can add flavor to beverages and entrees. Presented in bowls or jars, spices will add just the right amount of kick for each guest's taste.
3. Stone Cairn Stacking
Stones are a wonderful element in any natural centerpiece. If your backyard bash is all about loving on nature and the great outdoors, challenge attendees to a balancing rock competition.
Other Zen Activities
Under large patio umbrellas, set up hammocks for a relaxed party vibe.
4. Show Off Your Charcuterie Board
Stack small wooden boards on outdoor side tables and present a smorgasbord of enticing treats down the center of the dining table. Inviting guests to fabricate their own appetizer will be sure to become a memorable (and tasty) part of your summer soiree.
Choose a variety of bread, cheese, fruit, nuts, slices of meat such as prosciutto or salami, and some olives or sun-dried tomatoes. Honey is also a nice touch.
5. Lego Living
Have your family build some fun creations to use as centerpieces and then pile extra blocks around them. Before you know it, everyone will be in on the fun.
If the kids are busy building, the adults will have a chance to sit back and converse together for hours. Just be sure to provide plenty of outdoor soft seating.
6. S'more Cooking
Fire is a sensational centerpiece and a Fire table is a fabulous addition to any backyard get-together. Just add s'more stuff to get this party started.
Everyone loves a good ghost story. Brush up on your tale-telling beforehand and invite others to share their own. Play spooky night games like Ghost in the Graveyard or Flashlight Tag.
7. Sand Castles
For a backyard beach bash, bring the coast to your backyard. Pile kinetic sand (which is more fun with less mess than normal sand) on tables with mini buckets and shovels, then sit back in your lounge chairs and enjoy the scene of sandcastles dotting the tablescapes.
DIY Magic Sand
For a homemade version of kinetic sand, all you need is baking soda, baking powder, and dishwashing liquid.
8. Build-Your-Own Bouquet
Let your guests be in on the botanical action when they build their own centerpiece bouquet. Not only will it cut down on the party prep time for you, but this idea also provides guests with a take-home gift.
Just as flowers need a little finesse to create a beautiful arrangement, so does your garden furniture placement. Give the biggest space to the dining table and chairs. Set up tables and decor in front of doors and stairways you don't want to be accessed, or to create the ideal space for people to stand and mingle. Keep drinks on a table away from the entrance. With these incredibly fun and interactive centerpiece ideas, your backyard bash will be the most memorable one yet. Now let's get this party started!