Anatomy of a Dinner Party: a day in the life of a hospitalityaholic

Your Anatomy Course Starts Here

Written by Patti on December 7th, 2009

Good Morning, Darlings,

Saturday night is our black tie Christmas party for 75+ guests. This week I will share all the highlights and headaches as they happen each day leading up to the event.

But first, something more fun than that. Last night, Morgan, the niece of my bff, Vickie, and her friend Joe stopped by for dinner on their way from Tennessee to Florida. It was so nice to have them here, along with Morgan’s dog Headphones (yes, that’s his name). I made mac and cheese with tomatoes & bacon, homemade bread, salad and hazelnut brownies (same brownie recipe from yesterday, but sub out the peppermint for hazelnut extract). It was a quick visit as they had to get back on the road to get home. After packing them up with the leftovers, I cleaned the kitchen and got a great night’s sleep in anticipation of this week.

Morgan, Headphones and Joe

Morgan, Headphones and Joe

Today I intend to make every list I will need this week. Food Shopping List, Decor List, Beverages List, Cooking Timeline, Set Up List for Saturday (tent, food station and bars).

Here is my starting point for decorations:

Huge Branches

Huge Branches

It may not look like much yet, but take a look at those sparkly branches that Crystal gave me – aren’t they cool? She also gave me some cool ornaments, strands of clear beads, glass drops and boughs of greenery. Tracy, our art director is going to go into Preston Bailey mode and make the whole thing look like a fairy tale. Need to meet with Tracy today. Perhaps run out to Michaels to buy glue and glitter.

I also need to meet with Taruan this afternoon to discuss our party space. We need to have great flow in the house for the amount of people expected and the bar needs to be in a spot where there will be no traffic gridlock.

In other words, we need to transform my living room:

Sweet Homey Living Room

Sweet Homey Living Room

Into this:

My Party Vision

My Party Vision

Okay, so maybe it won’t look exactly like that in our little bungalow, but as Teague said yesterday, “it’s the black tie bungalow experiment”. Well said, Teague.

The one thing I have thought entirely through is our food list. Here’s the menu:

Sausage Balls – Made by RayRay
Spinach Balls – Made by Tracy
Cheese Crackers – Made by Crystal

See, be shameless and ask your good friends to bring one of their specialties – that way you aren’t cooking everything yourself and losing your mind.

On my end:

Olive Straws – Martha’s recipe
Crunchy Farfalle – Martha’s recipe
Dilled Chicken Salad Sliders – my recipe
Chocolate Covered Potato Chips – dip, dry and serve

I am keeping it simple this time. No cook and serve mini pizzas or dim sum this year.

Since I am listing the menu, I will go ahead and give you the shopping list to accompany it:

Olive Straws
Puff pastry – Martha makes her own, but come on – really?
Stuffed Olives

Crunchy Farfalle
3 boxes of farfalle
lemons for zest
Parmesan Cheese

Dilled Chicken Salad Sliders
Chopped Chicken (meet with Lisa to see if we can buy chicken already cubed at Restaurant Depot)
Dill – Crystal brought me her excess dill after making pickles (isn’t she great?)

Chocolate Covered Chips
Chips – Not Cape Cod this time because the chips are too tiny. Maybe Lays
Chocolate Chips

I also have to run out to Ikea and Target to return a couple of items. Since it’s just Monday I won’t beat myself up too much for not being further ahead. I am going to try and just enjoy the process. I have the greatest friends imaginable who all want to be a part of the chaos (God bless each and every one of you).

Tomorrow I will update you on the progress and what happens next!

xoxo, Patti


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. willingtosea says:

    um… LOVE the dog named headphones. and I promise to be better soon so we can get our glitter on!

  2. Morgan says:

    I had such a good time last night! I really wish I could make it up for your party, I can already tell its going to be awesome. AND I would love to be shopping at Ikea and Target with you right now!

  3. I can’t wait to see you and celebrate at your party. And, I just love the vision of your event. That is QUITE A VISION! I already got your hostess gift (well, part of it anyway.)

  4. Patti says:

    @Tracy – you just get better!
    @Kathianne – cannot wait to see you and Brian!