The season of gathering is upon us. A casual outdoor fall gathering is a perfect way to celebrate the season with loved ones. Bring on the sweaters, blankets, and bonfires!
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There is so Much to Love About a Casual Outdoor Fall Gathering
I saw a quote on Pinterest the other day that made me smile because it’s so true. “Fall is a Southerner’s reward for surviving summer.” -James Farmer. By mid to late summer in the south, spending time outside can be downright brutal. The tremendous heat and humidity that engulf the south in the summertime make it hard to enjoy the outdoors. Therefore, on the first day of fall, you can hear a collective sigh of relief throughout the south as those who live here rejoice in the arrival of cooler and drier air. It marks the best time of year to spend time outside.
Sure, it’s always fun to get dressed up during the holidays. However, on the farm, we love casual gatherings the most. This time of the year it’s all about flannels, sweaters, boots, jeans, blankets, candles, bonfires, delicious food, family, friends, and lots of fun. There is just so much to love about this season! Inviting family and friends over to enjoy the beautiful fall weather outside on the farm is such a treat.
Find the Perfect Spot
The pond is our favorite outdoor spot on the farm to gather with family and friends, especially in fall. Of course, it’s a beautiful backdrop, but it’s also a great entertaining space. It’s got horseshoe pits, a picnic table, a fire pit, and lots of space for everyone to gather. There’s even room to set up and play some cornhole.
Set up a Casual Outdoor Fall Gathering
Setting up a casual outdoor fall area to entertain is always so much fun. Think layers. You know, kind of like how you dress in fall, in layers. Have a couple of places that people can gather. Places where they stand, sit, eat, and play.
Although the picnic table is always by the pond, I also like to add some outdoor chairs and smaller tables close to the fire pit. This area becomes very popular once the sun goes down and the air gets chilly. There’s nothing like an outdoor fire in the fall. Adding pillows and blankets to make things comfortable and cozy for guests is always a good idea too.
Keep it Simple
Casual is another word for relaxed. Relaxed and at home is always how I want our guests to feel at the farm. They should feel like our home is their home. Therefore, I always try to keep things simple, nothing fancy, particularly when it comes to casual gatherings. Keeping it casual means that kids can grab fishing poles out of the barn, throw some horseshoes, play cornhole, or run around with the animals. All the while, adults can catch up with one another or join in on the fun with the kids.
Another way to keep things relaxed and casual is to have a potluck. I love potlucks! Typically, we provide beverages and some appetizers like this delicious white bean hummus. It’s always a crowd-pleaser. Then, I ask guests to bring something to share.
Potlucks allow for the evening to take its own course. Keeping things casual is always fun and I find that’s when some of the best memories are made. The best part about a potluck is that guests can eat when they’re hungry and go back for more whenever they want. I also love potlucks because it’s less prep work for me which means more time to enjoy the season. It is not unusual for me to walk away with a couple of outstanding recipes that people are willing to share when we have a potluck too. It’s the best!
Here are some of my favorite recipes that I’ve gathered from potlucks and that I’ve made for pot lucks:
Decorate with Intention
There is no need to go overboard with decorating for a casual outdoor fall gathering. It’s all about enjoying good food, conversation, and laughter while spending time with the ones you love. It’s amazing what some candles, twinkle lights, a few pumpkins, seasonal flowers, leaves, and pinecones can do to create a lovely ambiance for you and your guests to enjoy.
For this gathering, I made a fall floral arrangement from seasonal flowers. I turned a pumpkin into the vessel to display the arrangement in. It was so easy and it turned out beautifully!
Here is how to do it: Cut around the stem of the pumpkin, remove it and scoop out the seeds. Once the inside of the pumpkin is clean, fill a glass with water that fits inside and arrange the flowers in it. Voila!
The centerpiece was a huge hit! Then, I decorated the rest of the table with candlesticks, flameless candles (key for outside entertaining- they don’t blow out in the breeze), a simple garland, twinkle lights, and natural elements that I found around the farm.
Cherish the Special Moments
By keeping things comfortable, cozy, and simple you can cherish all the special moments created at a casual outdoor fall gathering with your loved ones. Don’t sweat the small stuff.
I hope some of these tips and tricks were helpful and that when you find yourself planning your next casual outdoor fall gathering it’s easy and more enjoyable after reading this post.
There is so much to be thankful for all year round. During the fall season though, I am especially thankful for moments created to truly celebrate all the wonderful things in life, including family, and friends.
Thank you for joining me today!