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.
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.
- 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!
- 25 marinated mini-grilled shrimp skewers
- 25 mini-Caprese salad skewer
- Chopped Italian Salad (using the greens from the garden)
- Pistachio Crusted Salmon
- Grilled Beef Tenderloin
- Italian Potato Salad
- Lemon Green Beans
- Blueberry-Cheese Tart
- Chocolate Strawberries rolled in Pistachio
- 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.
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.
- Call Florist to Pick Flower Arrangements and choose a time for delivery.
- Email Rental Company to dd any new additions and confirm the time for delivery and pick-up.
- Bake Sugar Cookies
- If you have out-of-town guests coming, make sure linens and towels are fresh
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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.
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! 🙂
10:00 p.m. – We Lit Lanterns
6 comments on “Diary of a Dinner Party”
What a lovely table setting. You have inspired me to host a party in our garden.
Your evening looked amazing – fantastic menu, gorgeous table decorations and thoughtful invitations… wish I was there!
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. 🙂
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
I just subscribed to your blog and I’m enjoying it so much! This looks like a perfect party! Thanks for sharing it!
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.