Diary of a Dinner Party

by Amy Stafford on May 28, 2012

I decided to throw a dinner party to bring together my friends before we all got lost in the summer madness and to celebrate my husbands birthday.

Though I am no expert on how to throw a party I have done it several times and I thought it might be fun to share the party process in a fast forward timeline here with you.

 

How to Plan a Dinner Party

First: Getting Started

  • I picked the date, May 26th.
  • I came up with a theme for the party so that I could pick an invitation.
  • I decided to have a sit down dinner outside so that everyone could enjoy the garden.
  • I made a list of who I wanted to invite.
  • I went to the stationary store M.Hopple which is a locally owned stationary and gift store.  They have a great selection of stationary always on hand.
  • I ordered the cutest invites and got them in the  mail by April 30th.
How to Plan a Dinner Party
  • I try to get the invites in the mail 3-4 weeks previous to the party.
  • The RSVP’s started coming in and I kept a running update on my invite list, so I would know who and who had not RSVP.  It would be a dinner party for 22.

Second: Getting Game Plan Together

  • Two weeks before the party I started writing the menu.
  • Called a few girls that I know to help with service.
  • Called the rental company to order tables, chairs and linens.
  • Got to work on finishing up the spring chores around the house.  I have to say even though throwing a party is a lot of work (especially if you are doing all the cooking) it really gets you motivated to get things done around the house!
          • Mulch put down-check
          • Pots planted-check
          • Windows cleaned-check
          • Patio Furniture cleaned-check
          • Weeds pulled-(mostly) check
  • With that done and the number of invitees firmed up, I finished the menu.  I chose to go with an italian themed menu, cuz everyone loves italian!

Appetizers

How to Plan a Dinner Party

Salad

Main Course

How to Plan a Dinner Party

Dessert

How to Plan a Dinner Party
  • I always like to hand my guest a gift as they leave and this time I decided to make iced sugar cookies in the shape of a daisy to keep with the garden theme.
I will be posting recipes here over the next week

Third: The Final Countdown:

  • I start writing a final week timeline to help myself keep on track and not get overwhelmed at the last few days.  I used an app called Evernote to help me keep all my lists on all my electronic devices, so whether I was sitting in the kitchen or at the grocery store I can access my lists for the party.

Monday
    • Call Florist to Pick Flower Arrangements and choose time for delivery.  I used Del Apgar Florist.
    • Email Rental Company to dd any new additions and confirm time for delivery and pick-up.
How to Plan a Dinner Party

10 Centerpieces for 24′ length of table.  These are so beautiful!

Tuesday
    • Bake Sugar Cookies
    • If you have out-of-town guests coming, make sure linens and towels are fresh
How to plan a Dinner Party

Wednesday
    • Grocery Store run
    • Make Tart Shells
    • Ice Sugar Cookies and bag them up so they are ready for people to take home
    • Pick outfit for dinner party
How to Plan a Dinner Party

Thursday
    • Costco-for larger items
    • Target-candles, bug deterrent
    • Make Filling & Blueberries topping, finish assembling Tarts
    • Clean Patio and Patio Furniture (Move patio furniture to make room for rental tables)
    • Lay out string for temporary Bocce Ball Court
    • Pull out Bocce balls and clean-up
    • Finish last-minute weeding and trimming of spent flowers
How to Plan a Dinner Party

Friday
    • Finish Chocolate covered Strawberries
    • Boil Potatoes, do not cube (store in refrigerator)
    • Blanch Green Beans (store in refrigerator)
    • Make topping for Salmon
    • Make dressing for Potatoes
    • Make dressing for Salad
    • Make Marinade for Shrimp
    • Cut and clean lettuce
    • Make sure grass is trimmed and mowed
    • Start cleaning house
How to Plan a Dinner Party

Saturday
    • Ice water and white wine
    • Make Balsamic Glaze for Caprese skewers
    • Thaw shrimp
    • Finish cleaning house
    • 12 p.m.- Make tomato and Mozzarella skewers
    • 12 p.m – Prep Shrimp Skewers
    • 1 p.m – Prep Salad
    • 2 p.m – Prep Potatoes
    • 2 p.m – Prep Green Beans
    • 4 p.m – Prep Salmon
    • 4 p.m – Grill Beef
    • 4 p.m – Grill Shrimp (refrigerate)
    • 5:30 p.m. – Help arrives give instructions
      • Set table
      • Slice Beef and Keep covered
      • Keep appetizers fresh
      • Dress and Toss Salad
      • Dress and Toss Green Beans
      • As guest arrive, pass appetizers
      • Light Candles on Table and Patio at 7:30
      • Fill Water Glasses on Table
      • Bake Salmon
      • Serve Salad to table at 8:30 (be flexible)
      • Serve Dinner to table at 9:00 (be flexible)
    • Shower and Dress
    • 7:00 Guest Start Arriving, ENJOY!!

The table looked so beautiful!  I used a burlap tablecloth, white and tan napkins, white plates, gold votives and beautiful Sunflowers.

To help fight bugs while we were eating I placed Off Clip Mosquito Repellent Cartridge on the table in between flower arrangements.  Which worked really well.

How to Plan a Dinner Party

Even though the temperature went up to 92 on Saturday by the time 7:00 rolled around the patio was in the shade and the temperature had dropped just enough that everyone was comfortable outside.

Though I did set up a Bocce Ball court, no one played, but they did walk around and enjoy the gardens and everyone enjoyed a cocktail and catching up with each other.

                    


 

 

 

 


When we sat to eat dinner the temperature outside was perfect! :)

How to Plan a Dinner Party

 10:00 p.m. – We Lit Lanterns

I decided to surprise my husband by ordering Night Sky Lanterns to be lit and released in honor of his Birthday.  Very Cool!!  More information on these to follow.
How to Plan a Dinner Party
 Jim and I were very happy to share a wonderful evening with such good friends!!
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About 

You can usually find me in my garden, the kitchen, at the gym or spending time with my family. I love sharing recipes, gardening and exercise tips and stories of my backyard chickens and beekeeping.
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{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

thesalemgarden May 28, 2012 at 7:18 am

I just subscribed to your blog and I’m enjoying it so much! This looks like a perfect party! Thanks for sharing it!

Reply

AmySue May 28, 2012 at 7:32 am

Thank you, everything turned out wonderfully, which is always a relief after all the work! :) Just checked out your blog and subscribed. We have a group of Toms that have been visiting almost daily. I think they hear our roosters and are intrigued. They haven’t gotten near the garden, thankfully! Good Luck with the start of your blog.

Reply

kathy ryan May 28, 2012 at 10:47 am

Amy, What a perfect evening! Had a great time, loved the chickens, that one rooster is soo pretty. Not sure if you should call a rooster pretty but he is! I love this blog, you are amazing! kathy

Reply

PJ Girl May 28, 2012 at 4:52 pm

Your evening looked amazing – fantastic menu, gorgeous table decorations and thoughtful invitations… wish I was there!

Reply

AmySue May 29, 2012 at 7:31 am

Thank you! Everything came together- I was very happy and relieved!!
I love the wicker basket you have planted in your garden, its beautiful-the Dahlia too. :)

Reply

A Table in the Sun May 29, 2012 at 8:42 pm

What a lovely table setting. You have inspired me to host a party in our garden.

Reply

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