07/08/2019 09:00 EDT | Updated 07/08/2019 09:00 EDT

Essential Items for Dining Al Fresco

Nothing builds memorable summer moments more than cozy dinners outdoors with family and friends. Warm weather is limited for Canadians so taking advantage of these next few months means spending as much time outdoors as possible – including eating all your meals out in the open air.  

Hosting a dinner al fresco may sound daunting but it can be quite the opposite. A backyard or patio is more versatile than your dining room, allowing you to change the ambience and atmosphere by switching up the décor, lighting and music. In celebration of what we hope to be your best summer yet, we’ve partnered with Coca-Cola to share the essential items for outdoor dining.

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The right light

You don’t need an elaborate lighting strategy but it is important to create a bright and welcoming environment with the right lighting. Try different sources of light for a layered effect. Candles, tiki torches and fairy lights strung up in trees or to a trellis can make your guests feel like they’ve been transported into their favourite romantic movie. If you’re a design buff, Moroccan lamps can really elevate the dining experience and impress your guests.

Coca-Cola

Refreshing drinks

Hydrated guests are happy guests. Step up your hosting game by setting up a self-service bar, stocked with glasses, ice and cans of Fresca Sparkling Soda Water which come in three flavours your guests will love: Peach Citrus, Grapefruit Citrus and Black Cherry Citrus. These beverages are unsweetened, with zero sugar and, of course, zero calories but are completely satisfying to anyone looking to quench their thirst on a hot summer night.

There are also three new smartwater sparkling flavours that will surely impress everyone at the table. You won’t find flavour combos like strawberry blood orange, fuji apple pear and raspberry rose anywhere else, so stock up on each before your guests come over. And when you’re not sipping on summer mocktails, stay hydrated with vitaminwater. Across the rainbow of flavours, each bottle boasts 100% daily value of vitamin C and other nutrients to keep you going all day, with 0 - 130 calories per bottle. 

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Comfortable seating

Comfort is key when hosting a large dinner outdoors. If you want your guests to stay and chat well into the night, make sure you have enough chairs, cushions, benches and bar stools for all. Kudos if you have plenty of seasonal patio chairs that offer sufficient back support. If a whole new patio set isn’t in the cards, buying just a few cozy cushions and decorative pillows can make a world of difference. Look for items in bright hues or bold patterns to add pops of colour to the setting. 

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Appropriate background music

Ambience is made up of more than just lighting and décor. Music is a huge part of creating a lively outdoor gathering. Music isn’t essential for dining indoors but al fresco dining demands a great playlist. Hide a Bluetooth speaker amongst the décor and curate a dinner appropriate playlist. Ensure your volume level is quiet enough that you can still hear your guests talking over the table unless you’re going for a late-night party vibe.

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Oils to keep bugs away

When it comes to an outdoor soiree, pests are public enemy number one. Eating while swatting at mosquitoes and trying to avoid the sting of an aggressive wasp can quickly ruin the vibe. Keep uninvited guests at bay by picking up a few bug lanterns and positioning them artfully around your dining area.
If you have an essential oil diffuser, utilize it by adding a pest repellent oil like citronella or lemon eucalyptus. Lavender and peppermint are also known mosquito repellents. This can be placed either at the centre of the table or a side table nearby.

Make the most of summer with Coca-Cola  and Fresca Sparkling Soda Water.