Create a romantic surfside setting in keeping with the ocean's softest hues.

By Julia Dowling Rutland and Lacey N. Howard
May 16, 2003
Howard L. Puckett

As waves rush to shore and the sun fades, it's time for an intimate dinner. Like candles glowing in the night, stars peek through the deepening darkness. Summery linens and slipcovers, sparkling silver, and well-chosen accessories lend sophistication to a portable table and chairs. With these few tips, turn the dinner into an evening to remember.

Place your two chairs side by side, facing the water, for equal viewing pleasure.

On breezy nights, weight the tablecloth with clusters of sea glass.

Group small, blown-glass vases on a cake stand to create a centerpiece with visual interest.

Reflect the colors of sea, sand, and sky when choosing dishes and other tabletop items. Pale blues and greens mingle well with neutrals.

Forget CDs-the waves will provide mood music.

Let the simplicity of white flowers give the table subtle elegance.

Use hurricane lanterns and garden torches with glass inserts to sustain flickering flames despite ocean breezes. Add shimmery accents so candlelight can dance.

Keep a warm throw nearby in case the evening turns chilly.