Chauncey Boothby, an interior designer based in Rowayton, Conn.

Or you could spread out blankets and have a picnic just about anywhere, Mr. Stark said: “It’s the romantic ideal and perfect on a lawn, under a tree or on the beach.”

“The twist is when you don’t use disposable tableware,” he added, “but bring a certain elegance to it” by using proper china and glassware.

You don’t need a theme for a dinner party, but it can help — perhaps something as simple as celebrating a favorite color palette, certain types of flowers or vegetables, or a notable date.

Kim Seybert, a tableware designer in New York. “Is it the Fourth of July, Labor Day, a birthday party or something else?”

Corrie Beth Hogg) and created place cards resembling three-dimensional tomatoes.

But your table setting doesn’t have to be that elaborate: A sculptural vase, purposely imperfect plates and glasses, or a unique pitcher or platter is enough to get most people talking. After all, guests are there to socialize and have fun.

Once your outdoor space is ready, don’t forget one of the most important things: Hosts ought to enjoy themselves, too.

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