Outdoor Table Decor Ideas for Backyard Entertaining

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Discover creative fall outdoor table decor ideas for backyard entertaining with timeless accents, seasonal centerpieces, and cozy touches. Perfect for hosting a memorable gathering with family and friends!

Backyard outdoor dinner party idea with Mackenzie Childs.
*The MacKenzie-Childs products featured in this blog post were gifted to me by MacKenzie-Childs. However, all thoughts and opinions shared here are 100% my own. To learn more, read my Privacy Policy.

With the hot, humid summer weather behind us, fall is the perfect time of year for outdoor entertaining. 

The leaves are changing colors and a crisp breeze fills the air which means there’s no better time to embrace the beauty of autumn than by hosting a backyard gathering for family and friends. 

And you can’t have a gathering without a beautifully styled outdoor table! 

In this blog post, I’m going to share creative and easy to implement ideas for table decor that will make your fall outdoor gatherings one that guests will not soon forget. 

From rustic elegance to cozy charm, I’ve got you covered with tips and ideas on how to set an informal table for entertaining your guests in style this fall.

Outdoor table decorations for a backyard gathering.

*This post contains affiliate links. By shopping my clickable links, I earn a small commission which helps me continue to create meaningful content for you. First time MacKenzie-Childs customers can use code eleanorrosehome15 for 15% off the products featured in this blog post.

Choosing the Right Location in Your Backyard for Your Gathering

Before we begin to talk about outdoor table decorations, selecting the right backyard location for your gathering is an important decision that can influence the overall experience of the party. 

First, you’ll want to consider the size of your guest list. For smaller gatherings, an outdoor dining area or outdoor patio might be ideal, while larger events may require a spacious lawn or deck area. 

Outdoor table decoration ideas for al fresco dining in fall.

Next, pay attention to the natural beauty around your home. Position your table where you can take advantage of picturesque views, whether it’s the colorful foliage of trees or a serene garden. 

I positioned our table in between two apple trees in our backyard. What says fall more than apple trees…right?!

Outdoor dinner party for a special occasion with drinks and food.

Lighting is key too. Opt for a location that gets just the right amount of natural light during your outdoor gathering.

Make sure you have options for added illumination like string lights, tea lights, or candles as day turns to evening. 

Finally, take weather conditions into account. Be mindful of wind patterns, sun exposure, and any potential rain. Have a backup plan in place to ensure your guests’ are comfortable. 

By carefully considering these factors, you’ll be well on your way to creating a memorable and enjoyable outdoor gathering space in your backyard!

Backyard entertaining in the fall with apple pie, a charcuterie board, and sparkling apple cider.

The Table

Choosing the right table for your al fresco gathering is key to creating a welcoming and functional space. 

For added character and a touch of rustic charm, I decided to repurpose an old table to serve as the focal point for our food, drinks, and dinnerware.

Its weathered surface added a unique element to the aesthetic, and it effortlessly blended with the autumn theme.

Use an old table or a outdoor dining table as the base for your fall tablescape.

If you don’t have an old table to use, don’t worry!

A patio table or outdoor dining table are great options that you can easily cover with a table covering if it doesn’t match the aesthetic of your event.

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It’s important to remember that for an informal gathering, it’s not just about the serving table. You’ll also want to provide additional seating or designated spots for your guests to sit and eat at their leisure. 

This could involve arranging cozy seating areas with comfortable chairs or blankets on the grass to encourage mingling and relaxed dining. 

By combining a serving table with thoughtful seating arrangements, you can create a warm and inviting atmosphere that will allow guests to savor their food and enjoy the company of others in the beauty of the outdoors.

Autumnal Table Linens

When it comes to table linens for a fall gathering, the choice of materials and textures can elevate your outdoor table decor.

Choose natural and textured fabrics to embrace the cozy vibes of autumn. Linen or burlap are great earthy, natural options. 

Backyard outdoor dinner party idea with Mackenzie Childs.

I used this linen tablecloth on our fall table with these linen napkins. Because I wanted the focus of our fall table to be the classic patterns of the MacKenzie-Childs pieces, I chose a tablecloth and napkins in neutral colors that would work as a backdrop for those items. 

Note: Quilts or blankets can become unique tablecloths. Their cozy patterns and warm textures are a great way to add a homey and eclectic look to your outdoor gathering. Simply drape a clean quilt or blanket over your table for a charming, informal look. This not only adds a layer of warmth but also contributes to the overall fall theme. 

However, you could also use soft cotton or flannel table linens in warm, autumnal hues like deep reds, burnt oranges, or rich browns for a pop of color. 

Mixing and matching different textures and colors in your linens is an easy way to add depth and interest to your table. 

Shop Fall Table Linens

Outdoor Table Decoration Ideas

Creating a seasonal centerpiece for your informal fall table is an opportunity to infuse beauty and the essence of the season into your outdoor gathering.

Seasonal centerpiece on a backyard table with pumpkins and candle sticks.

I wanted the centerpiece for our backyard table to include natural elements mixed in with a few statement pieces to create a rustic, elegant feel to our gathering.

Don’t forget that you can shop your yard for stems or branches you can incorporate into your table for free natural decor. 

I found olive stems with olives attached while grocery shopping at our Trader Joe’s and could not pass them up. So, I used those on our table.

I simply placed the stems into this pitcher, along with some dried seed pods I found, and tied a brown velvet ribbon around the pitcher handle for a little touch of fall color.

Fall tablescape with pumpkins and seasonal elements.

Next, I placed small white pumpkins and Mac-Kenzie Childs pumpkins around the pitcher. And, to finish the table centerpiece, I placed 3 candle holders in different sizes for ambiance. 

Remember, outdoor table centerpieces doesn’t have to be in the center of the table! 

I created the centerpiece for our table off to the side so that food and drinks could be placed on the rest of the table for easy serving.

Shop Mackenzie Childs Sterling Check Fall Collection

Tableware for an Outdoor Gathering

For our informal fall outdoor gathering, I chose to use these sterling check enamel plates from Mackenzie-Childs.

These plates are the perfect example of practicality meeting style. They combine the durability needed for outdoor dining with the unmistakable charm and craftsmanship that Mackenzie-Childs is known for.

Outdoor decor ideas for a fall table with enamel plates and pumpkins.

The best part of using enamel plates for your outdoor dinner party? They are virtually indestructible.

Enamel is lightweight and easy to carry, making them ideal for picnics or gatherings where guests may want to move around.

Plus, the easy cleanup means you can spend more time enjoying the company of guests and the beauty of fall, rather than worrying about fragile tableware.

Shop MacKenzie-Childs Sterling Check Tableware

Incorporate Quintessential Fall Elements

I can’t think of any other seasonal elements that scream fall more than pumpkins and apples! 

Natural elements like pumpkins and apples for an outdoor dinner party

Scatter pumpkins of varying sizes and colors throughout your table arrangement. 

They can also serve as charming candleholdersvases for fresh flowers, or even as standalone decorations instantly infusing your table with the warm, earthy hues of autumn. 

Apples can also make a whimsical and edible decor element. 

Decorative fruit bowls on a fall tablescape in an outdoor dining space.

Place them around the table in decorative fruit bowls or as individual place settings for guests to enjoy. 

The addition of these quintessential fall elements not only enhances the visual appeal of your table but also engages the senses. Adding the scents and colors of the season to the table will create an unforgettable autumn experience.

Party Hack

Consider hosting a pumpkin carving party as a fun and interactive fall activity for your informal outdoor gathering!

Provide a variety of pumpkin sizes and carving tools, and encourage your guests to unleash their creativity. It’s a fantastic way to engage everyone in the festivities, and it adds a unique and personalized touch to your decor.

Display the carved pumpkins around the outdoor space to create a magical ambiance. A pumpkin carving party adds an extra layer of enjoyment to your gathering and is bound to be a hit with guests of any age.

A Seasonal Menu

What’s a party without delicious food?!

Elevate your outdoor gathering by serving a variety of seasonal foods that celebrate the flavors of autumn.

Fall inspired charcuterie board for entertaining family & friends.

On our fall table I served a charcuterie board with homemade apple butter for dipping, apple pie baked in this MacKenzie-Childs pie plate, and pumpkin muffins.

To wash it all down, sparkling apple cider. A fall sangria, warm apple cider, or hot chocolate would be delicious drink options as well for this fall party.

Sparkling apple cider is a great way to enjoy the taste of fall.

My favorite approach to an outdoor gathering is potluck style, where each guest can bring their favorite fall dish to share.

This not only takes the pressure off you the host, but also adds a delightful element of surprise to the menu.

Encourage everyone to bring a dish that incorporates the flavors of pumpkin or apple or to put a twist on classic fall dishes like hearty soups, roasted root vegetables, apple pies, or savory stuffing.

Homemade apple pie is a delicious dessert for fall gatherings.

To keep things organized, I created a potluck sign-up sheet that you can download and print, here. This way, you’ll ensure a diverse spread of dishes that cater to all tastes.

Serving seasonal foods not only makes your gathering feel cozier, but also creates a sense of community as guests bond over shared creations, making your outdoor event memorable and delicious.

Additional Tips & Tricks for Hosting a Fall Outdoor Party

Hosting an informal fall gathering in your backyard can be a delightful way to celebrate the season’s beauty with family and friends. Here are a few more things to consider to create the warmest and coziest atmosphere for guests.

  • Keep an eye on the weather forecast and have a backup plan in case of rain or unexpected temperature drops. Tents, canopies, patio heaters or a patio umbrella can help ensure your guests’ comfort.
  • Provide comfortable seating options like cushions or outdoor pillows for guests to relax in. This will encourage them to linger longer, enjoying the crisp fresh air.
  • Incorporate dried cornstalks or hay bales as part of your outdoor decor to create a rustic themed ambiance.
  • Set the mood of the outdoor dining experience with a playlist of autumn tunes and consider adding lawn games or a bonfire to keep guests entertained.
  • If you have the space, a fire pit can be the ultimate fall gathering centerpiece. It provides warmth, a place for roasting marshmallows, and a cozy atmosphere.
  • Provide blankets as both table decor and party favors. Guests can use them to keep warm during the event and take them home as a thoughtful keepsake.
  • Ensure the outdoor area has outdoor lights for evening gatherings, and have essentials like a first-aid kit on hand, especially if you have a carving party.
Tips & tricks on how to throw an outdoor party for a memorable experience.

Shop MacKenzie-Childs Collections

To bring a touch of timeless elegance and whimsy to your outdoor fall gathering, I encourage you to check out MacKenzie-Childs.

Their exquisite enamelware, distinctive patterns, and quality craftsmanship are perfect for adding a touch of sophistication to your fall tablescape.

Backyard outdoor table setting with MacKenzie-Childs products.

Whether you’re looking for charming plates, unique serveware, or delightful decor, MacKenzie-Childs offers a wide range of options to elevate not only your outdoor entertaining experience but your home decor as well.

Browse their collection and discover the perfect pieces to complement your style. First time MacKenzie-Childs customers can use code eleanorrosehome15 for 15% off their purchase!

Shop MacKenzie-Childs

Create an autumn inspired tablescape with apple cider, apples, and pumpkins.

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I look forward to sharing more of my home with you and inspiring you to have a well loved home! Follow me on FacebookInstagramPinterest, and LIKEtoKNOW.it.

xoxo, heidi

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Backyard outdoor dinner party idea with Mackenzie Childs.
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