Summer Entertaining with a Jenni Kayne Veteran
It’s time to move outdoors for the summer, and we’re ready for warm evenings spent on the patio, grilling and relaxing with friends and family. Easy outdoor entertaining is at the heart of our philosophy of merging house and garden, and it's a passion we share with California lifestyle brand, Jenni Kayne. We recently sent some of our favorite entertaining essentials to the brand’s president, Julia Hunter, to help get her set up for summer and chatted with her to get her tried-and-true tips on making outdoor entertaining a breeze.
terrain: What is your favorite aspect of entertaining at home during the summer months?
Julia: I love being outside and celebrating the summer with casual evening barbecues and spending time with loved ones. It’s a nice reminder of how special it is to live in California when we can just head up to the rooftop and enjoy the sunset together with an easy meal.
terrain: What are some of your favorite ways to make your evenings spent outdoors feel especially summery?
Julia: We love to listen to Paul Simon or Hawaiian music when we’re outside to really pretend we are on vacation. The grill is our best friend in the warmer months, so we love to do grilled veggies like brussels sprouts and corn. We also get great fish from the farmers' market and make an easy salmon dish with lemon and herbs on the grill.
terrain: Are there differences in how you prepare, plan, or put together an outdoor party versus an indoor one?
Julia: I think the vibe of outdoor entertaining always feels more casual and relaxed. It’s so nice to enjoy a breeze or the sunshine in a social setting—being in nature takes some of the pressure off of needing to feel like everything should be perfect. If we’re not cooking on the grill, we try to do buffet style so everyone can make their own plates and join at the table.
terrain: Are there key aspects to outdoor entertaining that you think people sometimes overlook?
Julia: I think it’s easy to skip setting the table nicely when you entertain outdoors because the whole experience feels more picnic-like and casual, but spending time thinking about what you want to include on the table ahead of time will make the event so much more memorable for your guests. I try to plan for dinner to be seated at the table with beautiful dinnerware, colorful flowers, nice linens, and flatware, and then have dessert seated on our outdoor couches with cozy blankets and tea.
terrain: How do you like to prepare for a party? What are some things you do before a party that help you enjoy your time once your guests arrive?
Julia: I learned from Jenni that doing as much as possible ahead of time will set the tone for a more relaxed and enjoyable get-together for both me and my guests. I try to set the table the day before and get greens and flowers ready the morning of the event. I also make parting gifts ahead of time and have them displayed on the seats or on a table when guests arrive—I think it’s a fun and personal part of hosting.
terrain: Are there certain items you stock up on for the summer entertaining season?
Julia: I love lanterns and citronella candles since they are both beautiful and functional. Besides bad weather, the one thing that can throw an outdoor event off is bugs, and citronella is a natural way to avoid that problem!
Thanks, Julia! If you're on the hunt for your own perfect outdoor dining experience, be sure to shop our new furniture collections!