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

John’s Special Birthday

Written by Patti on July 12th, 2010

Good Morning, Darlings!

This past weekend we were so happy to host a dinner party for my bestie, John. Conjured up by his sweetie, Danny, we planned and plotted to have 10 of his favorite friends gathered to fete our darling birthday boy.

For this occasion I decided to leave the table bare (I tend to forget how pretty it is…) and set it with silver chargers, white plates, white napkins nestled into silver napkin rings and a small arrangement of white and red roses. It was elegant without being fussy.

Simple Is Sometimes Best

John knew he was joining Eric and me for dinner, but didn’t know there would be six others! So he was very surprised when he walked in. Everyone pitched in to make it a fantastic night. Patrick and Andrew picked out the red wines, Rose chose the bubbly and Danny ordered the yummy ice cream cake. Bruce and his Eric (two Erics in the house this night!) took a ton of photos. Holly baked the most delicious pastries filled with brie & caramelized onions and another filled with cheddar & bacon. She also brought dips, bagel chips and yummy baby carrots for dipping. Eric and I were responsible for the main course, which was:

Roasted Beef Tenderloin

Steamed Green Beans Dressed with Butter & Lemon

Au Gratin Potatoes

It was such fun. Eric started everyone with a simple cocktail of Canton liquor (ginger flavored), splash of gin (or vodka, depending on preference) and topped off with peach juice. A couple rounds of these were consumed while we chatted and waited for Danny and our guest of honor.

Eric, John, Rose & Bruce

When John and Danny arrived it was more cocktails and all of the goodies Holly prepared. Patrick set out the red wines (with a descriptive list!) and we opened them to allow them to breathe.

My Co-Conspirator, Danny!

A Bevy of Beautiful Red Wines

One of the highlights of the evening was Eric’s custom wine charms. As in the past, we used tags purchased from the office supply store (remember when we first used them here?) Eric created a special one for everybody. Mine was a heart (awwww, so sweet!), Bruce had a Captain America tag, Danny – a lover of video games – had a charm with a Playstation controller on it, a Rose for Rose – you get the idea. This really puts a fun spin on things. Even when a glass got broken (oops, that was me!), the charm stayed intact. Opa!

The Wine List - With Descriptions. I Loved This Idea!

My Gorgeous Besties, Holly & John

Plenty Of Time To Pose While The Roast Is Resting

A Handsome Trio - Patrick, Andrew & Rose

Finally, dinner was served and we all took our seats. The food was served family-style on platters. Only one problem – when serving 10 guests, the trays get too heavy to pass. So both Erics took a platter and served everyone. Thanks, gentlemen!

Bruce and Eric Are All Smiles Tonight!

Andrew and Patrick At The Table

Another Fab Eric For Me To Pose With - Yay!

BFFs Forever!

Holly and Bruce, Looking Marvelous

All this heavy fare usually makes one want to sit and rest. But not John and me! Nope, we were up for some dancing – to ABBA!

Dance Like There's No One Watching....Even If There Is

While back at the table, Patrick educated the others on the virtues of wine…..

This One With Beef, This One With...More Wine....

As our guests got up and started moving about the cabin, my Eric and Andrew visited out on the front porch, when Andrew told a story about making mint tea for his family. “We have mint”, my Eric countered, ‘I would love to have you make some for us, if you would like…”

Andrew, looking adorable in my yellow apron, did just that.

Too Cute!

And it was delicious with the birthday cake.

Full of Special Wishes For The Coming Year

Watching John Make His Wish

We ended the evening by playing Lets Dance on the Wii…even shy Bruce got in on the action.

Dancing Up A Storm

While our darlings watched, looking most amused.

Oscar Cozies Up To Patrick, Andrew & Rose

In the wee hours after midnight, everyone sauntered home, sated and happy.

Happy Birthday my darling friend! I love you!

xoxo, Patti

Today blogging to ABBA – Does Your Mother Know


9 Comments so far ↓

  1. Maureen says:

    Patti!!!!!! This is AWESOME!!!!
    What a wonderful night! I love this!! Well done, my friend. Well done.

  2. Patti says:

    Aww, thanks, Mo!! Can’t wait to see you!! xoxo, P

  3. danny says:

    What a great night! Too much fun, I cant remember when I have laughed so much. Thank you once again sweetness. Love U..

  4. Mary Anne says:

    Very nice… sweet of you all to do that and I know John loved it. I love the pictures! Ironically, I almost emailed you and Danny last week to see if you wanted to do something; should have known you had it covered, LOL! I can tell it was gorgeous and ya’ll had a great time :o).

    Take care,
    Mary Anne

  5. John says:

    I love you to death!! What an awesome night. I can’t imagine a better way to spend the evening. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  6. Patti says:

    Danny – you were awesome to put this all together! I loved collaborating with you! Love you!

    John – you know how much I love you, you are my darling bff! We are going to keep on celebrating my dear!

    xoooo, P

  7. Patti says:

    Mary Anne – We still have the rest of the month to get together and have another party for our John! Let me know! xoxoxo, P

  8. Eric Rice says:

    Patti…. It was one of those wonderful evenings when everything just seem to clicked… from the beautiful home filled with delightful people to a meal that my food snob friends in Kentucky would just envy! Behind it all, a hostess and host with two very affectionate adorable dogs… great! Next time more milk.

    The other ERIC

  9. Patti says:


    We adored having you and Bruce here – what a wonderful night to celebrate our wonderful friend. Your description is so lovely, thank you. And we hope to see you soon. Promise – full gallon of fresh milk for you!

    xoxo, Patti