Monday, November 21, 2011

Impromptu Dinner Party

Last night we had our families over for dinner, and for the first time in the 4 years we have been in our house, we decided to do dinner outside. I have always wanted to have a beautiful dinner party on our patio, but in Florida, 90% of the time, the nights are humid and buggy. But last night was a perfect night and we had many reasons to be thankful to all be together.

With an hour to set up, I first brought out our two 6' folding tables, that we got at a Black Friday deal last year for $29 each, and our 8 folding chairs that we use ALL THE TIME for various get togethers.  To round out the seating for our 11 guests, we used our wicker bench (found for free in an alley behind our house) and our desk chair with pillow.

Next, I covered the tables with two green Ralph Lauren tablecloths that I bought at HomeGoods 6 years ago for $7 each. They are used pretty much every Christmas (I now have red ones too!) and every holiday in between. Green is actually a neutral color, so they go with everything and every occasion! Don't judge me, the hostess did not have time to iron them. But in an hours time, most of the wrinkles had fallen out, and because it got dark before guests arrived, I didn't worry about it. Typically, I would iron them, or wash them and take them straight out of the dryer. Quick Tip: If in a pinch, use some Downy Wrinkle Releaser on them as they lay on the table and smooth some of the wrinkles out with your hand.

The napkins I bought on super clearance years ago too at Bed Bath and Beyond. They are a brown polished cotton, and I got all 12 for $6 (thats 50 cents each!).  The flatware is a special fun set that I bring out occasionally from Neiman Marcus. I purchased it on sale, but even at regular price it is a good deal for 12 placesettings ($105!).

The stick table runner is a few years old from Plum Party, but you can find a similar one here or here. Sicne it gets dark right around 6pm when we were having people over, I decided to light up the table with lots of candles. My husband thought it was a little too romantic for what we needed, as we were only cooking hamburgers and hot dogs, but I still loved it. I gathered all the glass Waterford and antique bowls that I never used, and several little glass candle holders and filled them with water and floating candles from IKEA, and citronella tea lights from Pier 1. The 'D' pewter napkin rings were from our wedding registry at Williams Sonoma, and match our everyday flatware, also from our registry.

As the sun was setting, we turned on the globe twinkle lights around our yard (which are up all year), and started a lovely dinner. I think it came out pretty perfect for being thrown together in an hour.

Check back this week for a few last minute tips for Thanksgiving! Happy Turkey Week!

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