Good day, design friends! Peggi here. I hope you are cruising through a balmy, abundant spring headed for a hot, happening summer. If your plans include hosting, today’s post is for you! Throwing a dinner party might be my most favorite artistic outlet. From choosing a theme and assembling a beautiful tablescape to creating a unique (and delicious!) menu, I absolutely relish every step. I recognize not everyone shares my level of entertaining exuberance though. No problem! Whether you favor a small, casual gathering; a festive, pasta-making girls’ night; or a formal, assigned-seats dinner party, my process works. Click through for scrumptious ideas and gustatory inspiration.
First, let’s talk theme. Regardless of the design enterprise, an overall vision helps guide my choices. As a person who feels compelled to consider every conceivable option, parameters save my time and sanity. Anybody else struggle with focus? I also find that restrictions actually promote creativity. Besides these benefits, conceptualizing a theme is a hoot! Wouldn’t you want an invite to a Harry Styles Meets Cher Bridge Night? A dinner party scheme can, of course, be simpler. Plan your event around a color, an ingredient or a cuisine. We’re really just discussing inspiration, so no need to feel confined. Think riff, not rigid.
Click right on the images to be redirected to the source, or use the numbered links below to shop my finds. Not all are clickable.
01: sunday suppers // 02: green flatware // 03: green tumbler // 04: sweet laurel // 05: striped tablecloth // 06: iris bowl // 07: block print napkins // 08: bird and butterfly platter // 09: flowered plates // 10: sweet laurel savory // 11: ripple champagne flute // 12:splatter dinner plates // 13: woven serving tray
Although I enjoy entertaining all year, today’s roundup says summer to me. The soft colors and cheerful patterns feel fresh and lively. I’d combine every piece to create a magnificent maximalist table, but one or two added to classic white would be equally fab! Sarah has scads of fantastic cookbooks in the shop at the moment, but I chose three that fit my palette. Ha. Keep reading for more thoughts on tablescapes.
While establishing a theme is completely optional, a lovely table setting feels key. It’s the stage for your delectable feast, after all! Naturally, I try to align my dinnerware and decorations with the evening’s motif, but ultimately, I’m just aiming for dazzling. (no pressure) My must-haves include: layered tablecloths, linen napkins, and a playful mix of china and glassware. I also plan coordinating dessert settings and specific serving pieces. No last minute scurrying in search of a salad bowl for this girl. Depending on my whims and whether I’m serving family style or buffet, I also add taper candles, small floral arrangements or other appealing accoutrement. I enjoy a bountiful look! However, if this degree of detail seems daunting, simplify! The goal is a thoughtful, welcoming presentation that makes your guests feel special, not a pre-dinner apoplexy!
Obviously, the most essential element of a dinner party is…the dinner! Whenever I’m developing a menu, I always follow a similar procedure. I start with the one dish I’m most excited to make and build from there. This doesn’t have to be the entrée! I’ve constructed various meals around a stellar celery salad, a delicious date dip, or a luscious apple thyme cake. No matter where I begin, my spread will always include a main, multiple vegetable items (raw and cooked), bread, and a sweet treat. If I’m intent on including an appetizer, I might reduce the number of sides. I can’t have folks too full for dessert!
When seeking specific recipes, I keep the overall interplay of flavors, textures and colors in mind. I want contrast and balance. For example, the celery salad delivered crunchy, lemony, briney goodness, so I paired it with an earthy, creamy lentil mushroom stew. Roasted paprika carrots added a bit of orange and spice. Instead of another salad, I opted for an hors d’oeuvre: polenta squares topped with cranberry pepper relish. Browns, greens, orange, yellow, reds. Incorporating tons of vegetables is clutch for the palette and the palate! Contemplating food pairings based on color and texture may sound strange, but it yields interesting, tasty and nutritious results. Give it a try!
What do you think, friends? Do you enjoy entertaining too? Where are my fellow kitchen adventurers? I know some folks find hosting stressful. We certainly don’t want that! Sharing meals with friends is about joy and community. Nobody really cares if the hot dogs got a little burnt. Speaking of which, who’s got big barbecue plans for the holiday weekend? Until next time.