Creating A Beautiful & Simple Dinner Party

I love entertaining and making my guests feel comfortable & welcome. Adding special touches, even in a small way is a great opportunity to show appreciation for your guests and make them feel special. I had a girls weekend planned and wanted to do a fun and more intimate dinner where we could relax and catch up. But I also didn’t want to be in the kitchen worrying about it all why they were visiting. This simple party lets you do things ahead of time you can fully enjoy your guests.

For the theme of this party I went with a summer italian style dinner. I wanted to serve something light and easy.


Here is the menu

Mini charcuterie boards with fruit, cheese & meats
Gazpacho soup
Mixed greens salad
Crusty bread tied with fresh rosemary & served with EVOO and balsamic vinegar dip
Lemon mousse for dessert
To set the table I draped burlap down the center to create a rustic feel and add a little texture to the table. Then I added some eucalyptus greenery to a galvanized trough for a natural element & tucked candles in for ambiance.
I love to layer place settings. This setting has a straw placemat, black charger and then the dinner plate. I added a striped napkin to add a print and a little bit of whimsey. Then I placed the mini wooden board on top of the napkin and placed the bread tied with parchment paper and fresh rosemary at the top of the plate.
I also love to give my guests a little gift at their place setting. I made these little goody bags and filled them with candy, a homemade lip balm, tissue & handcream. I went with a natural color scheme to go with my rustic table theme.

To make the goody bags you’ll need; {all supplies purchased at Michaels Stores}

Mini paper bags
Small paper doilies
Jute twine
Round hole punch
Flower embellishment of your choice
A tag or card with your sentiment
Small goodies to put inside {homemade lip balm recipe below}

Here’s how I made the bags

1-add your goodies first!
2-fold the top of the bag over
3- fold the doilies in half over the top of the bag
4-punch two holes at the top about a half-inch apart through the doilies and the bag
5–thread your jute through the hole, add the tag and tie a bow.
6- add your embellishment to the front of the bag ( these were cute burlap flowers to add more texture to the look.)

Here is the lip balm recipe

To prepare the food, I made the gazpacho soup  & salad earlier that day. I also wrapped the bread and kept it covered to stay fresh. I prepared the charcutcherie boards before the guests arrived. I ha all the food ready and just had to assemble them directly on the table.  Then I made the desserts. Super simple and everything was ready to serve when my guest arrived.

Gazpacho soup recipe:


2 large onions
1 large cucumber, peeled, halved
1 onion, peeled, halved
1 bell pepper seeded and quartered
24 oz. tomato juice, divided
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
a few dashes of hot sauce
1 clove garlic, minced
small bag of deveined, cooked shrimp (size of your choice) These can be omitted if you don’t like seafood
1/4 cup chives, finely chopped
Parmesan cheese for topping


1- Blend 1 tomato, 1/2 cucumber, 1/2 of the onion, 1/4 of the bell pepper & half cup tomato juice in a blender until smooth
2- transfer to a bowl and add remaining tomato juice & the olive oil, vinegar,salt, pepper and hot sauce
3-cover and chill for 2 or more hours in the refrigerator.
4- dice the remaining veggies and refrigerate separate from the soup
5- stir in the garlic and chopped vegis  and shrimp before serving. SPrinkle with chives and parmesan cheese before serving.
6- you can keep any leftover in the fridge up to 5 days.


{This is a very light and fluffy treat perfect for a summer dessert}




3/4 cup crushed graham crackers
2 T sugar
3 T salted butter melted


2 1/2 T fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 T water
1 1/2 tsp unflavored gelatin powder
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup powdered sugar divided
12 oz cream cheese softened
1 (10 oz) jar of lemon curd
Whipped cream, lemon wedges, mint and blueberries to garnish


1- in a mixing bowl whisk together the graham crackers and sugar. Pour in the butter and stir until it is all moistened. Divide the mixture into 8 dessert cups and press into an even layer
2-pur the lemon juice and water into a small bowl. sprinkle with the gelatin over the top and let it set for 5 minutes. Then whip the heavy cream until soft peaks form.
3-add in 1/3 cup of the powdered sugar and add a little yellow food coloring if desired. WHip the mixture until stiff peaks form. In another large mixing bowl, whip the cream cheese until it’s smooth. Mis in the lemon curd and remqining 2/3 cup powder sugar into the cream cheese mixture
4-heat the gelatin mixture to help it dissolve then be sure to let it cool
5-Slowly add the gelatin mixture while mixing the cream cheese mixture and blend it until thoroughly combined. Fold the whipped cream mixture into the cream mixture then add the remaining whipped cream folding it in gently,
6- pipe the mixture into your dessert cups over the crust. Cover and refrigerate 2 hours or make the day ahead. Then garnish as you would like.
The best thing about entertaining is watching your guest relax and enjoy themselves. Being able to interact with your guests and not slaving away in the kitchen is so much better! SO, anything you can do ahead is the way to go. Hopefully you got some inspiration and ideas for your next dinner party!

Happy Entertaining


August 8, 2018

  1. Ruth Davis says:

    Very nice posted pin. I love it. Very natural and simple and of course very rustic. Thank you for sharing.

    • says:

      Hi Ruth
      Thank you so much for the kind comments, I’m so glad you enjoyed the post and for visiting the blog. Hope you’ll visit often!
      Happy New Year,

    • says:

      Hi Ruth,
      Thank you very much I appreciate that.

  2. Melissa says:

    Wow, just Wow! Thank you for sharing such a wonderful inspiration and detailed list for this wonderful table setting. I found this originally on Pinterest and have since bookmarked your site for future delights! I have also passed your site link to my family and we all love your inspirations. Please keep up the wonderful posts.
    Many thanks,

    • says:

      Hi Melissa,
      Thank you I am so flattered and appreciate the comments so much! I have a fun tablescape post coming tomorrow so stay tuned!
      Thanks for following and sharing my blog with others!

  3. Martha says:

    Every part of this is creative and fabulous! Where does one find the small charcuterie boards?

  4. Andrea says:

    Where did you find the small cheese boards?

  5. Dani says:

    How did you stain the mini cheese boards? 🙏🏼 I loved it!

  6. Dani says:

    How did you stain the mini cheese boards? 🙏🏼 I loved them!

    • says:

      Hi Dani,
      I used a minwax gel stain in American walnut. Then sealed with a polycrylic .
      Thank you, glad you enjoyed the post,

  7. Michelle says:

    Love!! Where could we find the striped napkins?

    • says:

      Hi Michelle,
      The striped napkins are from Target. Sorry my link feature is not working for some reason. If you follow me on Instagram, you can go to the link in my profile bio and select, “shop my Instagram” . scroll until you see a table setting with the napkins and it will take you right to the source. Hope that helps. Thanks so much for following along, hope you’ll come back often.

  8. Jo says:

    Extremely impressive table and food. You have a great eye for detail. Great job.

    • says:

      Hi Jo,
      Thank you so much for the kind feedback. Really appreciate it and hope you’ll come back often.

  9. Wendy says:

    I am obsessed with this! Where did you purchase the beaded dinner plate and black plate underneath?

  10. Wendy says:

    I am obsessed with this! Where did you purchase the beaded dinner plate and black plate underneath?

    • says:

      Hi Wendy,

      The beaded plates were from an old home based company called Southern Living at Home. But they are no longer around unfortunately. I have some very similar ones linked in the shop section of my website if that helps. The black chargers are from Hobby Lobby.

      Thanks so much for following, glad you liked the post.


  11. Alina says:

    This us so beautiful!!! Love it! Where are the plates from??

    • says:

      Hi ALina,

      Thanks so much for your feedback and following along. The plates are actually old. I got them from a home based busines several years ago called Southern Living at Home, unfortunately they are no longer in business. Total bummer because I would love more.

      Here are some source links to some similar

      [show_shopthepost_widget id="3901969"]



    • says:

      Hi Alina, I don’t think that link worked so let’s try this

  12. Mary says:

    Just gorgeous! I really love your silverware. Can you share what it is?

    • says:

      Thanks so much. It’s from an old home based decor business called SOuthern Living At Home. Unfortunately they are no longer around.


  13. Nancy says:

    I love to entertain as well. The table looks amazing as I feel that is totally part of the entertainment. Where did you get the mini wooden charcuterie boards? They are amazing and so cute.

  14. Colleen says:

    Just found this! Loved how you included all the details including recipes
    Do you mind sharing where you got the mini (cheese/meat) boards?

    • says:

      Hi Colleen,
      Thanks I’m so glad you enjoyed the post. I purchased the cutting boards on Amazon. I used to have a link for them but I can’t find them anymore. Maybe they aren’t available anymore, sorry.
      Appreciate the feedback and stay well.

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