How to Dine Al Fresco with Fall Decor

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Fall Harvest Table set with fall inspired dishes and a beautiful floral centerpiece

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Today Kristi from French Creek Farmhouse Blog is hosting Harvest Home Tour 2021. I am honored to be joining 29 other amazing bloggers as we share our fall decor. If you’re coming from Angie’s home at Postcards from the Ridge, Welcome. Don’t forget to visit all the blogs in the links below.

I’m going to share with you how to dine al fresco with fall decor today.

          al fres-co 
          /al 'freskō/
          (especially with reference to eating) in the open air 
          "in the unlikely event of some sunshine you can dine alfresco"
           done or eaten in the open air "an al fresco supper"

If you’ve been following me for a while you know; If you’re just joining from another blog, you can tell by my blog name that we live in a small house. Needless to say, we use our outdoor space to its fullest potential when we can. For us, this means living outside in the spring, summer, and fall.

Beautiful Sunflower in the vegetable garden with the house in the background

We recently hosted our daughter’s wedding in our backyard so I’m reusing one of my favorite things; vintage posts strung with lights over my dining table. I first got this idea from the very talented Leslie from My 100 Year Old Home. Her dinner parties are amazing and I share her passion for entertaining and making everything pretty.

To set the stage, I moved my large harvest table, that “Handy” made, out into the yard. Put metal post holders into the ground on either end. Slipped in my posts and then attached my Edison light strings to the top; going back and forth at different levels.

harvest tablescape with swagged Edison lights draped from vintage porch posts on either side of the table

Preparing the Fall Tablescape

I had already prepared several different versions of my tablescape in my mind. Then did a few dry runs on the dining room table in the house. Using the burlap tablecloth and napkins that I got from my favorite party supply house was for sure part of my plan.

View looking down on the harvest tablescape

I always use a white plate as it just works with pretty much everything. With the white plate, you can just change up your salad plate and charger and have a completely different place setting. Owning a variety of salad plates is also much easier to store than completely different sets of dishes.

I played around with three different salad plates but ended up with a simple Tuscan-style plate that I bought from HomeGoods several years ago. A natural open weave placemat ended up being my favorite for this tablescape.

I have some very large white ceramic plates that I will use as chargers. I decided to keep my place settings very simple.

View of a place setting at the table

Where Tablescape Ideas Come From?

My youngest daughter and I decided to go shopping at Goodwill. I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular, however, I stumbled on a very old french transferware tureen. I immediately knew that this was going to be the centerpiece for my harvest table. After paying my $4.99, I rushed out with my treasure. I knew that I had something special in my possession.

We then stopped at Target for some odds and ends. While we were there we wandered over to the home decor area. I was just snooping around to see if anything might work on my tables. To my surprise, I found the cutest woven pumpkins and decided that the last four in the store were coming home with me.

I also spotted some small cutting boards in the kitchen area and it dawned on me; how cute would it be to have individual charcuterie boards at each place setting. We are huge fans of charcuterie boards in our family so this was a fun idea for the whole family.

Individual charcuterie boards next to each place setting

Once I had decided on the individual boards, I thought that a formal setting of flatware was just going to be too much for the table. As luck would have it a friend who I met on Instagram lives very near to me. When I happened to pass by the street where I would turn to go to her home, my car just steered itself there.

Amy is the queen of beautiful vignettes and she also sells amazing English Advertising Pots in her Etsy Store. You can find her store HERE. If you want to follow her on Instagram she is @thevintagebreadbox – I popped by her house and borrowed some of her pots to add to mine to create the perfect vessel for my silverware.

Setting the Harvest Table

The weather right now is perfect for an alfresco dinner. It cools off in the evening and starts to get dark earlier so we could enjoy the romantic lights.

Once the placemats, charger, napkin, dinner plate, salad plate, and pumpkin were layered, I added antique Fostoria goblets. I bought these goblets for Annie’s wedding and I just love them. Additionally, I placed a Waterford wine glass next to each goblet.

The flatware was placed in the English Advertising pots to the left of the plate.

I arranged some fall flowers that I got from Trader Joe’s and my garden, in the tureen. I then placed the arrangement in the center of the table.

Antique French Transferware Tureen with flowers from Trader Joes and my garden

Lastly, with Emma’s help, we made the cutest individual charcuterie boards and put them to the left of everyone’s plate.

My two favorite things about my alfresco tablescape are my individual charcuterie boards and the English Advertising pots for holding the silverware. It just all came together.

Charcuterie Boards and the English Advertising Jars holding the Flatware

Falling in Love with Fall

When we get this beautiful fall weather in Illinois, we take full advantage of it because it seems to just last for a few weeks, and then it snows!

If you’re looking for the perfect meal to go with this al fresco tablescape, you might want to check out my post on my Beef Bourguignon.

I hope you enjoyed my post on how to dine al fresco with fall decor. It was so much fun putting it together. Please stop by the other blogs to see what they are doing this fall around their homes.

The harvest tablescape at night with the lighted dance floor from Annie's Wedding in the background

It was recently my birthday and we hosted a little dinner party. You can see my tablescape for that party HERE.



I’m thrilled to be joining in today as 30 talented bloggers bring you the best of all things home! Please continue along this inspiring Harvest Home tour, and visit the other participants in each of the following categories.
Pinterest Harvest Tablescape
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  1. Your outdoor tablescape is a dream! I love all the lights around your garden and the table is set up just beautifully.

    1. Thank you so much Kristin. I had so much fun with this project. It was fun touring with you.

  2. I love alfresco dining and loved your creative ideas. Pinned. So fun touring with you today.

    1. Thank you so much Rachel – I had so much fun with this tour!

  3. Nan, Odessa, DE says:

    Where did you find the used posts?
    How did you add them to.the ground?
    Thanks for sharing!

    1. They are vintage and I actually found them on Facebook Marketplace. My husband found metal post holders at Menards or HomeDepot that you just hammer into the ground. I believe they are typically used for mailbox posts.

  4. Your table looks like something out of a magazine and your outdoor space is beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much Sherry! This was a really fun tour –

  5. This is truly magical! So happy to be on the tour with you.

    1. These tours are always so fun. So full of great decorating inspiration!

  6. Oh I love dining outside this time of the year! Your tablescape is beautiful and so inviting! I love a good charcuterie board too, yum! So much early Fall inspiration, thank you for sharing it!

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I had so much fun making this table. Fall is my favorite time of year so the outside inspiration comes easy for me!

  7. So many fantastic details…the charcuterie boards are the cutest! Plus, that tureen was a steal! Love it. So happy to be on the tour with you. Happy Harvest Season! xoxo, Kristi

    1. Thank you Kristi – I had so much fun with this table and it all just came together. I’m sure the individual charcuterie boards will become a standard at our house 🙂

    1. It all just worked! Thank you

    1. Thank You, Renae – Coming from you, that is a real compliment. You are the queen of the tablescapes!

  8. Your idea with the porch posts and lights is just brilliant! I need to try that…I already have the lights, just need to find the posts!! The whole tablescape is really stunning….I’m ready to come over and join you! 🙂 xo, Kristi

    1. Thank you Kristi – It was an idea I actually stole from Leslie @my100yearoldhome I used it for my daughter’s intimate backyard wedding and then again for this. The lights have now become a permanent fixture in our yard for fun outdoor dining. I just love them.

      Thanks for all that you do to pull this tour together. It was so much fun! I can’t wait until next time.

  9. Good grief this is nothing but DREAMY! Like, I want to vacation at that table, girl.

    1. That is one of the perks of living on the water, you feel like you are on vacation every day. Except when the laundry needs to be done and the floors need to be mopped. LOL

  10. This is the most charming table with so many sweet details to love, such as the ironstone jars, the charcuterie boards and of course the beautiful centerpiece. I could sit here and visit for hours!

    1. Thank you Michelle –
      I had so much fun with this table and the little touches you mentioned were my favorite things too!

  11. Your al fresco table is gorgeous!! That centerpiece is stunning and the lights make it all so dreamy.

    1. Thank you for the kind words Angie. I had so much fun with this table. I will definitely do a version of it again.

  12. Okay – what time should I be there for dinner?!? I would love to be a guest at a meal at your gorgeous table. Great job!

    1. Thank you Suzy! It was a lot of fun touring with this group and I loved working on my project. The pictures were actually due on my birthday so we did have friends over to help us enjoy the beautiful table.

  13. This is so beautiful! You are an amazing stylist:) I love the idea of individual charcuterie boards; brilliant! And that tureen was a steal; perfect for your gorgeous arrangement. You may have a smaller house (I do, too), but when you have a gorgeous setting like you do, it’s worth it! I’m in MN, and I totally agree; have to soak up these beautiful Fall days, because they don’t last long:( Fun to be touring with you!

    1. You are too kind! That tureen was a steal. It was on a top shelve and when I found it I knew I had something great in my hands. I should stalk my Goodwill more often. We do take advantage of our outdoors when it is warm. The winters come too quickly and last just a tad too long (as you know). But I love that time of year as well. I had so much fun touring with this group.

  14. This is so beautiful, thank you so much for sharing your ideas, I’ve always wanted to try some outdoor dining like this and now have some real ideas to implement, and YES to individual charcuterie. Also, I am smitten with your stunning english advertising pot!

    1. Hi Laurie –
      Thanks for the kind words. The individual charcuterie and the English Advertising Pots are my favorite parts of the table too. We will be using those individual boards often.

  15. I love love love your outdoor table and dining al frescoe ideas!

    1. Thank you Cindy it was a really fun project.

    1. It was a fun hop. Everyone did amazing things for the fall. I can’t wait for the holiday hop.

  16. I love the burlap table cloth! It is so perfect for all. The lights strung overhead is such a great idea too.

    1. This was probably one of my favorite tablescapes. We are having friends over for dinner next weekend, I’m going to duplicate it for them!

  17. Leslie Watkins says:

    I love these individual charcuterie boards! Perfect! Such a gorgeous outside setting. Beautiful, friend!

    1. I thought that was pretty clever to have the individual ones. They will be something we use a lot around here.

    1. Thank you Jennifer – We use our backyard a lot. It’s definitely where we hang out three months of the year.

  18. What an amazing area to host and eat! Your style brings its own atmosphere and my oh my is it lovely! I’d never want to leave. Everything is stunning. Hope you start linking up at Farmhouse Friday. I’d love to feature your posts from time to time.

  19. Your tablescape and surrounding are beautiful! I love the little charcuterie boards are darling. I found your blog on Share Your Style on Barb’s French Ethereal. I’d love to have you come by & share your lovely posts on Crafty Creators Link Party. It’s open Thursdays at 6am through Mondays at 11:59pm CST. You can also share on our two other parties while you’re there if you’d like. I know my readers would love to find you too!
    Hope to see you there!

    1. Hi Niki –
      I’m so glad you found me! I’m headed over to Crafty Creators right now!