You look at those magazines in the grocery aisle, or scroll through Pinterest thinking “No way could I ever pull off a dinner party like that”. I’m here to tell you friends. You can. And no you don’t have to call Martha, or Joanna. You’re completely capable. It might take a bit of shopping around your house, grandmothers house, garage sales, or if you’re really adventurous, local repurposed stores, but what you’ll pull off will be breathtaking, and inspired. And a memory that will last a lifetime.
Where it looks like it could be intricate, it really comes down to simplicity. Simple and minimal is in folks. Thank goodness.
I myself have been the guilty party of looking at the picturesque out door dinner parties, wishing I was instantly transported into those scenes. They are the epitome of beauty. My friend and I were at our local market, staring at the gorgeous flowers, waiting to be arranged and presented to anyone. Inspiration struck. “Lets throw an outdoor dinner party tonight!” I said. Off we went.
We went shopping for our goodies. Cheese platter and drinks. Cheese from our local cheese vendor: Aperitif. Fruits for decoration and for eating (because a twofer is always a win): Trader Joe’s mandarin oranges, and organic pears (small and adorable). Flowers: Horrocks and Trader Joe’s eucalyptus, but if wildflowers are in season, for pete’s sake, use those. You simply can’t beat wildflowers. *As long as it’s legal!* Or flowers from your garden. Is it weird that I highly dislike cutting flowers from my garden? I’m terrified that I’m going to kill the plant. I am the grim reaper of all plants, by the way.
Here’s where the heavy lifting starts. Bear with me. It’s worth it. Choose a table that you have in your house, wood, painted, formica, whatever, lift it up and take it out. Don’t use your Lifetime card table. Class it up. It might be heavier. Suck it up.
We used my great aunt’s table that I grew up with in my childhood home. I grew up eating cereal off of it. We were separated for about 20 years, and my aunt inherited it to me. I love it. It’s simple and classic. Look around your house and see what you can find. Use your imagination.
The china is my Great Grandmother Bailey’s. It is my ultimate. It went years without being used because people were terrified of breaking a piece. The story goes with my great grandmother that if one of the house keepers broke one, they should pack their bags. Nice lady right? My face turned white when my mom told me that as she gave me the set. She looked at me and said “We have barely used this. It’s wasting away. What good is it if you can’t enjoy it? Use it.” And used it has been. –Bust out your best china. What good is it doing sitting in your cupboard? Enjoy it while you can! The Queen of England is probably not coming to your house. (Though I’m still holding onto hope that Duchess Kate is….) If you don’t have a set a china, you can easily find sets at your local thrift store, or estate sales. If they don’t match, eclectic is in. Just don’t use paper or plastic. Have a picnic with that stuff. This is your garden hors d’oeuvre party.
Milk glass is a vintage wonder that is popular again. These are the real deal though. Thanks Grandma Lake! I. Love. Them.
The cheese board. You want to have contrast between soft and hard, mild and sharp. If you have brie, have a blue or goats cheese. Cheddar goes with gruyere. Having a range of flavor keeps things interesting, and meets most peoples taste preference. If you’re using a local cheese vendor, ask them some of the profiles of the different cheeses that would pair well, and contrast. Add fresh fruit, or dried fruit to add even more interest. Add some nuts for texture. Jason found these little sweet drops. They’re a little pepper that has a sweet and slightly spicy flavor. Plus, they’re so incredibly cute. Prosciutto or salami folded into fourths, and fanned create a fancy design with almost no work. Present on a cutting board, or a large platter. Go simple for an effortless elegant look.
Never underestimate what the outdoors can offer. Find a perfect spot to set up and enjoy the evening with your friends. Feast and be merry!! And view the whole gallery below!