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

Easter Dinner With The Family

Written by Patti on April 5th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

I hope that your Easter was sublime. Ours certainly was. BFF Vickie came into town and that always constitutes a party. We decided on a small dinner party for eight – basically the family Eric and I have fashioned for ourselves. And since Vic had missed our fab Christmas party, we decided to go all out. Was it budget busting? Not at all. Let everyone help and you have got yourself a great time with a tiny price tag. And my special finds and money saving tips don’t hurt, either.

Care To Join Us? Come On In!

Sometimes you get lucky.  The tent was a gift from John’s former roommate, MaryAnn, who was moving and never used it. She just gave it to me. For free!  I was one happy camper. The breezy side panels were borrowed from Crystal and the tie backs were remnants from my sewing box.

For the table we put together a wooden table from Ikea and a folding table. Then, we first laid two white tablecloths as our base (both bought at the Goodwill for $3.60 each). Next, we took the ice blue tulle leftover from the Christmas party and put that over the solid white tablecloths. Our organdy tablecloth completed the look. I loved how the ice blue just barely peeks through.

Next component – paper flowers. Now, I made these from Martha Stewart’s website, but somehow they didn’t look at all like her crafts. Ah, no worries, no one will notice. Vickie, just grab them and let’s take them out to the tent.  Hey, wait! All of the flowers bunched together look swell….maybe we should just wire them together and well…you tell me what you think.

Our Paper Flower Chandelier

We were really happy with this delightful mishap.  Cost of the flowers – $5 for tissue paper, $1 for floral wire.

The table was set with my heavy white plates, hammered silverware, buttery colored linen napkins and napkins rings I have had for years, purchased at Pier One. Vickie had flown in chocolates from Orlando to make up gift bags for everyone and we put them in cello bags I always keep around and tied with ribbon remnants.

Tulips purchased at the Farmers Market for $6 per ten were perhaps my most extravagant buy at $30. But you cannot fake fresh flowers and they bring immense joy to a table setting, don’t you think?

Goodwill Topiaries and Big Lot Chickies!

Sweet moss topiaries were found at the Goodwill for $6.50 each and the chicks in the pots were $1 for a bundle at Big Lots. Because there seemed to be some space in the topiary, I wrapped it with my old pearls that I never wear.  Chairs are from Ikea. I also draped a shawl on each of the ladies’ chairs in case they got chilly in the night air.

For the food?  Remember I was going to make leg of lamb? Well, that didn’t pan out, I could not find a leg of lamb anywhere. So Eric and I put our heads together and decided on a turkey, which Eric dry rubbed and grilled.  Cost of the turkey – $14. I also found asparagus at the Super H for .99 a bundle and carrots for .69 a bag. The asparagus would be grilled as would the carrots (in butter and fresh dill).  The veggies were wrapped separately in foil packs to be put on the grill – thus, less kitchen cleanup = happy hostess!

John contributed the most delightful sides – spinach stuffed zucchini and a leek, artichoke and potato gratin. Holly made a scrumptious apple pie and brought rolls and ice cream.  Crystal brought the most delicious deviled eggs I have ever had the pleasure to devour.  Danny and Holly brought wine, as well. Let your friends help. They want to help and it helps your budget. I adore giving parties, but it gets pricey. This is the best of both worlds.

You know what we need? More pictures! Cue the photography:

Tulips Anchored in Stemless Wine Glasses With Citrus - Vic's Idea!

More Shots of the Flowers

Looking Down The Table

One Precious Place Setting

The Close Up

Do you remember our wine charm idea from the Popeyes Chicken and Wine Tasting? Just little paper tags you tie on to the glass. Well, Eric surprised me by creating wine tags especially for Spring. Aren’t they the best?

Just A Few of Eric's Wine Charms- Love Them!

Cost of wine charms = Eric’s fabulous imagination.

We also made cake balls. I don’t know if I would do these again…they were crazy sweet and kind of a mess (even though Eric and Vickie provided all the manpower). They looked pretty, though.  Also gracing the table was a lemon/pomegranate sorbet served in hollowed out lemon halves sitting in white Easter grass in my milk glass wine glasses.

Vickie and Eric Icing The Cake Balls

Sorbet, Anyone?

Milk Glass Awaiting The Arrival of the Sorbet

Let’s take a look at all that food!

Crystal's Wicked Deviled Eggs Topped With Fresh Pork Rind - Gone in 60 Seconds!

John's Delicious Stuffed Zucchini

Holly's Struesel Apple Pie.....Mmmmm, Pie!

I think that might be all the food photos I got. Someone opened a bottle of wine and it was time to sit down and eat…well,  almost!

John Opens Wine While Eric and Teague Enjoy Those Devilish Eggs!

Eric and Teague, Cutting Up

Oscar, The Party Boy

Eric and I Take a Moment for a Hug and a Snapshot

Vickie and Holly Enjoy A Beverage Before Dinner

Vickie and Danny Find Their Seats

Eric and Vickie Applaud Everyone's Efforts

Dinner was devoured, drinks were lingered over, dessert was served.

Teague Offers Up Cake Balls While Holly is Trying to Get the Ice Cream Served

That photo cracks me up. Especially since Holly is the kindest soul on the planet.

Is Vickie Really Thirsty or Is This Part of the Clean Up? You Decide

I hope you and yours had the best Easter. We sure did at our house.

xoxo, Patti


4 Comments so far ↓

  1. Matt says:

    Wow! ‘Looks like a great dinner party. And the photos look incredible! Kudos!

  2. Holly says:

    Line of the night – “Ya’ll – all the pictures make it look like we are in a tent!” 😉

    It was a great night! Thanks!

  3. Patti says:

    Thanks, Matt!!

    Holly – out of the mouths of folks drinking wine….

  4. JehanP says:

    Looks like you guys had fun, I look the table..very chic! And the food looks yummy!