Pretty and Practical Tailgate Tips

To wrap up the football planning week, I thought I’d set up the tailgate essentials and show you how to have the prettiest tailgate. We all know what you need to make a tailgate, but we want it to look good, too!


I’m unpacking all the secrets in this post…..


Let’s start with the basics. You need a good table set up. I absolutely love this tailgate table because of it’s height and size. It stands at almost 4 feet tall, making it a more comfortable height for serving. Tailgating is a lot of standing and this table is more conducive to this atmosphere. It’s shorter and narrower than a typical fold out table. I would suggest getting 2 of these: one for your supplies (as pictured above) and one for all your food. Amazon even sells them in a two pack!

Working our way up, get a good table cloth. The one pictured above is custom. My mother found this gorgeous orange floral fabric and my grandmother hemmed the edges. Having a tablecloth in your school’s colors really sets the tone. And because this one isn’t branded or decked out in the school’s logo, it can be used for other events as well. Dual purpose is always a win-win! You could find tablecloths at lots of places; I love this floral one. It has lots of colors and you could get so much use out of it!


How do you currently corral the items you use every game day? The items like paper towels, napkins, plates, koozies, etc. I bet you keep them in a big tote bag. Allow me to suggest keeping them in a picnic basket! My mom found the one pictured a few years ago and it’s so helpful! It allows me to keep all the necessities in place; I don’t even have to take it out of the car between games. Because it has a lid, nothing is toppling or spilling over as they tend to do in a tote bag. And, showing my “always want it tidy self” here, I have a thing about right angles….stuff just fits better in them. Maybe it’s because I loved Tetris as a child, but right angles make all objects fit better. The basket is even a square so it fits better in the car, too! Further, the flat surface of the top extends your serving space. It adds more height to put some food on display and adds textural decor to your table! Practical and pretty; another win-win! I’ve seen lots of vintage picnic baskets at the wicker home decor store I work at. You can even find some that have the clasps and handles to keep plates in place–how perfect for tailgating! Check out this one on Amazon! I’m loving the shape of this one–almost suitcase like. Check out my instagram to see all the things I put inside ours!


Now this may not be the prettiest, but it is certainly the most celebratory! And that’s important! With the new Coke National Championship bottles out, you should absolutely go get two six packs–one as a souvenir and one to toast the new season on the first game of the season. And it’s coke–kids can partake in the cheers, too!

I know this is all directed to Clemson fans, but any school can partake in a toast to the new football season. Popping champagne is the happiest sound and cheers-ing a new season is fun no matter what’s in your cup.


Some might consider it over the top to add a centerpiece to a tailgate, but it’s really easy! Fill up a tall skinny water bottle at home and put it in your cooler. When you make your ice run at the grocery store on the way to the game, pick up two bunches of alstroemeria and put in your water bottle when you arrive to your tailgate spot. Alstroemeria comes in a variety of colors and you can find them all year long; they are usually only $4 a bunch, too. I added a tiger rag around the lip of the water bottle so that you can’t tell it’s a water bottle. I had a hard time finding one similar pictured, but here’s one that has all different colored bases. It would be great to pick one in your team’s colors!


Because fancy paper products can get expensive, I like to use solid colors. They are reasonable and easy to find. Just head to Party City or shop these on Amazon: Orange Paper Plates, Purple Napkins.

I like to use our old stadium cups to corral plastic cutlery. It shows your school spirit and looks a lot better than the box of cutlery! It also makes it easy to keep the cutlery together in the picnic box. Assorted cutlery.


I do like to get fun cocktail napkins. I think this adds a little spice and I can also use them at home for away game viewing parties. When I see fun napkins, I get them. One of my favorite brands is Caspari. And there are some on Amazon: orange greek key, orange floral.


You may be wondering what in the world is going on below the table. I bet you keep your coolers and trash bag down there. Trash bags are a necessity, but I really enjoy having something with some structure to corral the trash. I’ve had this collapsible bin for years and I love that it can fold flat, but also stand up and turn into a good trash bin. I would highly suggest a Scout trash cache. I can’t find one online at the moment and I hope they are still making them! Here is a link to a very good, large tote from them that could work just as well!

The orange towels are golf towels! I love having real towels nearby. It’s so nice to dry your hands on a real towel after digging around icy water in the cooler for your beverage. There’s no need to waste a paper towel every time! I love using a golf towel because they come with the clippable rings and I can easily attach them to the frame of the tailgate table. Orange golf towel.


I’d love to know more about your tailgate setup! What do you do to make it pretty and practical? Please share your tips in the comments!

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