Savvy Outdoor Entertaining Essentials

Designer Ashley Whittaker shares tips from her chic and relaxed afternoon gathering at Roseview farms in Millbrook, New York


20487_ashley_v1_-76421. KEEP CALM AND CARRY ON

I always used to make that one last-minute thing that would put me over the edge. No more. I’d rather relax and have fun at my own party, but the food will still be delicious and the setting, beautiful. Today I’m serving catered chicken potpies, which are perfect for transporting because we can bring them out piping hot and they’ll be warm when we sit down to eat 40 minutes later. Plus, what could be better than meat, pastry, and vegetables all in one pretty package? Add a salad and a loaf of bread, and we’re good to go!


Even in a rustic setting, I’ll incorporate interior elements that give some formality to he table, such as a chintz cloth. I’ve also brought my chairs and table from home. The effort makes guests feel special.

Fall is a magical time of year in Millbrook. It’s definitely something to celebrate.  -Ashley Whittaker

20487_wagondetail_v1_77563. INCLUDE A BIT OF THE UNEXPECTED

In this case, we’re hauling in a party wagon that serves a practical function to get things to the remote “dining room,” but also provides decorative interest that feels at home in the horse-farm setting. People absolutely love gathering around it to fix their plates and cocktails.


I love flower arrangements that look un-orchestrated, and I’m a huge collector of anything that could possibly be used for them. I’m particularly drawn to vessels whose original purpose was something else, such as antique biscuit boxes or silver pitchers.

By Karen Carroll | Photography by Monica Buck | Styling by Nan Whitney

Savory Chicken Pot Pie

Create your own chicken pot pie straight from Babette’s kitchen