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Outdoor Buffet Entertaining Idea: Serving Guests

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When using paper plates when entertaining, try this easy idea that will help guests when serving food buffet style.

Are you planning to host family and friends for a BBQ or two over the summer? 

I am planning exactly that, along with millions of other Americans on the 4th of July.  I love to entertain outdoors – it is much more casual and carefree and always buffet style.

No formal tables to set or china to wash afterwards – just easy, fun, summertime living.

4th-of-July-Decorating-Ideas when serving guests at a backyard BBQ buffet style.

My go-to outdoor entertaining idea to help guests coordinate all the items on the buffet table is to tie the utensils to the plate.

This is practical as well as pretty and makes one “easy-to-carry” package instead of guests fumbling for each utensil, plate, and napkin and then a drink.

Easy-Outdoor-Entertaining Ideas

I found the gingham plates and napkins at The Dollar Tree. I decided to add a bit of contrast and use red and white polka dot napkins with the plates instead of all gingham.


To assemble: 

Using a hole punch, punch a hole on one side of a plate.


Then run a piece of ribbon through to tie the flatware and napkin on.

Fourth-of-July-Entertainng Ideas

Place them upright in a large basket or box to hold them so that…

Outdoor-Tablesetting-Ideas using Paper Plates

…it is easy for your guests to grab one thing at the start of the buffet table instead of five.


Now I am almost ready for the 4th – which is only 2 weeks away.  I have to get the grill clean. Anybody have an easy trick to do that messy task?

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  1. How Brilliant!!!! I hate when you sit down & then realize you forgot your napkin or utensils. I am sitting here jst shaking my head…having a “well ~duh!!!” moment :0) I am totally doing this this summer for our family reunion!!!! Thanks for sharing!!

  2. For cleaning the grill, put the racks and any other parts that come out in a big garbage bag, spray with oven cleaner. Let them sit overnight and then spray them off with a hose. Most of the gunk should come off with little or no scrubbing!

    1. Thanks Lorianne – what a easy to do idea that will make cleaning the grungy racks almost clean themselves. Thanks for taking the time to share the trick. XO

    2. Oh I so love Diane….. she is just genius…… I mean really.

      I wanted to thank you for answering my question I was going to ask Diane.

      I am still curious as to how this works on the body of the charcoal grill I have…….. please understand that I have been planning this… just scared it will take the enamel off…….. guess not?

      Anyway, I am a coward and I already have the oven cleaner to to this…… say go?

  3. Love this idea! We are having the family over for a cook-out on the 4th and I’m definitely doing this! Thanks!

  4. Great idea Diane. I am helping with grandchildren graduation open houses the next two weekends. I am going to suggest this. We could use school colors for the ties. Now . . . just to find the time to put them together?

    1. Hi Lynne-

      Making them goes fast. Just punch out the holes first, then cut all the ribbon pieces and thread it into the plates. Once you have all that completed – tie the utensils and napkins on. Goes much quicker this way then completing one at a time.