The Christmas season often means we are attending cocktail parties or hosting alfresco cocktails on the deck or verandah.  Planning is the key to hosting a successful party, and whilst the guest list, menu and music playlist are all important, so is decorating your space to create the right atmosphere.

Alfresco CocktailsCreate an atmosphere from the minute your guests arrive with a welcome sign and drink on arrival such as these pictures from Style Me Pretty.    

Alfresco cocktails

Set up a bar area so your guests know where to get another drink from or can help themselves.  Here Alice Mary events have set up a Pimms bar using old wine barrels and a pretty bunting sign.  Use whatever furniture you can to create a bar area.  On the right an old industrial shelf makes a bar from Country Living.  Include glasses, drinks, trays, swizzle sticks and straws.

alfresco cocktails ice bucket

Use ice buckets to keep drinks cold.  Instead of using a plastic esky, try using large galvanised buckets or something pretty and unusual such as the blonde wood footed timber drinks holder from Pottery Barn.  Store bottled drinks such as this image from Wedding Chicks, or make up jars of cocktails such as these margarita jars from

Alfresco cocktail party drink dispenser

Drink dispensers are a great way for your guests to get their own drinks.  Fill them with assorted drinks and place them on the bar with glasses nearby.  Make sure your guests can easily fit a cup under the pourer, either at the edge of the table like this image from Adore Home Magazine or pop the dispensers up on a decorative box like this image from The Wedding Chicks.

Alfresco Fairy Lights

Fairy lights are a great way to create mood for your alfresco cocktail party.  String them around the trunk of a tree like this image from Weddington Way, or string them across the party area, either from the roof or between trees like this image from Style Me Pretty.

Alfresco candles and flowersFinally, use candles, tealights and flowers throughout your area to create a beautiful alfresco setting.  Make your flower arrangement go further by filling your vase with lemon or lime slices such as in this flower arrangement by Parties for Pennies.