Getting Your Summer (Rat)TAN On

Summer entertaining brings to mind several materials that embody outdoor dining, one of those being rattan. I love everything rattan from furniture to dinnerware, and it’s become very popular, so there are plenty of places to find reasonably priced pieces. As you know, we’re all about making entertaining as stress-free and simple as possible around here (yet still breathtakingly beautiful), so I decided to include some disposable tabletop décor in this shoot as well. When I discovered these paper Cabbageware plates from Caspari, I knew I had to buy them. Cabbageware pieces make me so happy, and I’ve recently started collecting porcelain Cabbageware that I hope to grow into a full collection over the years. There are so many resources for this via antique stores, online shops like, and even newer options from But if you like the look and don’t want to start a full “real” collection, then head over to and get yourself some of the paper version.

I don’t mind actually purchasing pieces I know I will use over and over again that can mix with a variety of décor, so rattan chargers were a “must” for me this year. I found these round chargers from World Market for $36 for a set of four, which is a great price for them. I’ve already used them multiple times for dinners with my everyday china and also with various paper plates. By mixing them with paper plates, you get a more expensive look, and since food never touches the chargers, clean-up is a breeze. Win-win.


Along with rattan, I’ve seen a lot of bamboo flatware used in entertaining shoots recently, which is a classic southern look. You can end up spending a pretty penny on them if you go with something that will last you years to come, but if you’re looking for something that gives you the “look for less”, the flatware you see here is from Amazon. Now, it’s not the best-looking option out there (check out Ballard Design or Pottery Barn for nicer options), but it does the trick for casual outdoor entertaining. I also like that they aren’t the exact same color as the rattan chargers, so that there’s not too much dark brown on the table. You can find them here. (Oh, and ignore the random steak knife included in the set- very strange, but welcome to Amazon).

For the rest of the décor, I wanted to use the Cabbageware as inspiration for the color palette. I selected a trellis pattern linen (rental) from Graceful Tables and vintage green glasses (rental) from Please Be Seated. The bamboo folding chairs, also from Please Be Seated, are rentals and almost every rental company carries this style of chair. They’re my favorite outdoor rentable chair to use and are super affordable as far as rental chairs are concerned. I love using these bamboo chairs instead of basic white or wood folding chairs since they not only coordinate really well with the rattan chargers, but they feel like a chair you might personally own.

My friend Grace Ann of Grace & Paper Designs created place cards with a vegetable detail border, and my pals at FLWR Shop made the most gorgeous green and white centerpiece for the table that included both flowers and vegetables. It added a touch of whimsy to the arrangement, and played off the design of the plates.


Last, but certainly not least, the CAKE. Okay, so by now you may have noticed that I include a cake or some kind of baked confection in almost all my shoots. That’s because, “a party without cake is just a meeting.” I stole that quote from Julia Childs. Anyway, it’s true. When the décor for my summer supper started coming together, I called one of my favorite pastry chefs, Beca Lew Skeels of She’s the master of organic greenery design on cakes and baked treats, and I used her for the cactus-themed birthday party I hosted for my husband the year before (see post here). She happens to be a vegan chef, which totally makes me feel better about eating a whole cake, or 20 mini cupcakes. After all, it’s vegan, so it’s healthy, right? Anyway, she created the most whimsical and fun chocolate cake covered in colorful icing vegetables and greenery. I love her aesthetic, and it was perfect for our more casual, outdoor table setting. It was so beautiful that it could’ve easily served as the centerpiece, which is also a great way to save money since the cake then serves two purposes. In our case, we had cake and beautiful flowers. I’m a “more is more” kind of gal almost all the time when it comes to entertaining. More flowers, more food, more booze… you get the idea.


Shop some of my favorite rattan pieces below!


Whitewashed Plicker Lazy SusanBackyard Beverage Serving SetNito Beverage Dispenser BaseLarge Rattan Coffee and Tea CarafeRattan Oval Tray with HandlesRattan Bread Serving BasketRattan ChargerSquare Rattan ChargersTava Napkin RingArtesia Honey Rattan Flatware CaddyArtesia TrayArtesia Honey Rattan Napkin RingWillow Woven Picnic Caddy


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