This party is inspired by freshly squeezed lemons, the Amalfi coast, grated parmesan over handmade pasta and the striped umbrellas of sun kissed beaches.
Looking to get in the mood?
We recommend these reads:
A Room with a View by EM Forster
Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
Beneath a Scarlet Sky by Mark Sullivan.
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More than just a meal, a dinner party is an excuse to spend time with family and friends. Keep the party going long after dessert with these suggestions.
Wine is always a good idea, but signature cocktails can really set the mood. Choose one or more from below to start the party off right.
White: Chardonnay Suave or Pinot Grigio
Suggested service in all purpose or designated wine glasses. There are 5 glasses of wine per bottle, and we typically estimate 3-4 glasses per person (to be safe). For 8 guests this means about 6 bottles split between white and red, depending on your crowd’s preferences. If your guests lean more toward wine than other alcohol or cocktails, increase these amounts.
Suggested service in champagne flutes or Collins glasses
These cocktails should be served upon making, but you can set up a station!
Ingredients for 6 cocktails
- 3 cups chilled Prosecco
- 6 tablespoons chilled vodka
- 2 cups frozen lemon sorbet
- 5 teaspoons chopped fresh mint leaves
- Pour the Prosecco and vodka into 2 Champagne flutes, dividing equally. Spoon a scoop of sorbet into each flute. Sprinkle with mint and serve immediately.
CINQUIEME ARRONDISSEMENT DEL GIN CORNER
Suggested service in Collins glasses
Prep all ingredients, but make cocktails individually.
Ingredients for 6 cocktails
- 18 tablespoons London dry gin (Beefeater)
- 9 tablespoons elderflower liqueur (St-Germain)
- 9 tablespoons simple syrup
- 9 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 9 egg white
- 5 tablespoon red wine (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo or Cesanese)
- Combine the gin, elderflower liqueur, simple syrup, lemon juice and egg white in a metal shaker. Dry shake with the metal coil from a Hawthorne strainer for 15-20 seconds.
- Add ice to the shaker and shake vigorously for another 15-20 seconds. Strain into an empty shaker with no ice and dry shake vigorously for 15-20 seconds more.
- Transfer to a Collins glass with ice and, using a bar spoon, gently float the red wine by pouring it over the back of the spoon in the center of the glass. Given its weight, the wine will automatically sink below the foam, creating a pretty layered effect.
Service in wide mouth glasses
If you’re worried about time, you can pre-prep and place in the freezer, but best made upon guest arrival (or shortly before)
- 1 cup fresh sliced peaches, peeled and pit removed
- 2 cups peach juice
- 2 cups club soda
- 1 pint raspberries for garnish
- Fresh mint for garnish
- Add sliced peaches and peach juice to a blender and blend until completely smooth.
- Add club soda and blend for a few seconds just until mixture comes together.
- Pour over ice and garnish with raspberries.
If you’re not inspired by what you have at home, we’ve created a few suggestions. The goal with the décor is to be fresh, stylish and all things la bella vita.
Navy hemstitch from Clever Delights
Ice cube molds
Citrus slice from Fairly Odd Novelties
Glass from Ukcoco
We love, love, love fresh flowers! If florists aren’t open in your area, pick up some bundles at Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods. Below are a few suggested varieties. Try tucking a few sprigs of fresh herbs into your place settings for an aromatic addition.
Determine whether your arrangement will be on the dinner table (and therefore need a lower center of gravity for ideal cross-table conversation) or on the bar/ kitchen island (which can be a taller piece). A good rule of thumb is that your arrangement should be at least the same height as your vase.
Remove any extra foliage from the lower ⅔ of the flower.
Beginning with the greenery, trim stems diagonally (this allows for more water) and place immediately into the vase of water. By angling the greenery stems diagonally into the vase, you’ll create a “grid” to anchor your blooms.
Evenly distribute the bigger blooms (called “mass” flowers) using odd numbers and vary each bloom’s height. If they haven’t opened up, try clipping the stems and placing in warm water for 20 minutes or spinning the stem between your hands (as though you’re warming chilly fingers).
Add the secondary smaller flowers (called “filler” flowers). Then finish with the most delicate blooms, or spectacular statement stems.
Turn the arrangement and tweak from all angles to ensure every seat gets a good view.
For Something A Little Different, Try…
Let the games begin with pops of bright color and graphic, geometric patterns (polka dots, plaid, stripes). A playful jumpsuit, flirty dress, or colorful button-down guarantee your fashion for the night will be a win. If you’re looking for something new to mark the occasion check out our recommendations below.
Tomasa Gingham Print Gown by Silvia Tcherassi
Sunray Picnic Dress in Moss Pearl Dot by Zimmermann
Acacia Erizos Printed Linen Midi Dress by Agua by Agua Bendita
Brightside T-Shirt Knit Dress by Zimmermann
Acacia Arrecife Printed Linen Midi Dress by Agua by Agua Bendita
Sunray Long Sleeve Midi in Moss Pearl Dot by Zimmermann
Curuba Embroidered Linen Mini Dress by Agua by Agua Bendita
Sparkle Stripe Sweater Dress by Kate Spade
Super Eight Ribbon Midi Dress by Zimmermann
Rust Taffeta Midi Dress by Self-Portrait
Huntingdon Open Back Jumpsuit by Reformation
Belted Ruffled Jumpsuit by Self-Portrait
Halterneck Wide-Leg Jumpsuit by Eres
Ruffled Trim Margaux Jumpsuit by Three Floor
Tied Front Jumpsuit by Nicholas
Arrecife Anis Printed Linen Midi Skirt by Agua by Agua Bendita
Super Eight Trouser by Zimmermann
Anis Erizos Midi Skirt by Agua by Agua Bendita
Silk Wide Leg Pant in Tan Pearl Dot by Zimmermann
High Waisted Shorts by Club Monaco
Silk Track Pant by Zimmermann
Camp-Collar Linen Shirt by Thom Sweeney
Slim Striped Linen Shirt by Club Monaco
Short Sleeve Striped Shirt by Simon Miller
Slim Cotton Oxford Shirt in Blue White Stripe by J.Crew
Washed Button Down Shirt in Tea Stripe by Bonobos
Pebble Bag by Aranaz
Woven Smoking Slippers with Tassel in Warm Sepia by J.Crew
Crystal Earrings by Oscar de la Renta
Demi Slides by Malone Souliers
Printed Silk Scarf in Toffee Poppy by Zimmermann
Beaded Hanging Clip Earrings by Oscar de la Renta
Double G Platform Sandal by Gucci
Poppy Platform Sandals by Gianvito Rossi
Raffia & Wood Ball Earrings by Oscar de la Renta
A FEW OF OUR FAVORITE FOLDS
Fold the napkin in half diagonally. Starting from the point of the triangle, roll towards the long edge. Finish by tying this rolled up napkin into a knot.
Fold a square dinner napkin in half, then in quarters. Fold the open corner’s top layer to meet the opposite corner. Turn over the napkin, fold it into thirds, and turn it back over. Tuck your polished cutlery into the pocket. Add a place card or printed menu to the vignette, if desired.
Lay your napkin flat on the table, pinch the very center and lift it up. Then slide the pinched portion through your napkin ring and adjust the folds.
Below is EVERYTHING else you need for a successful event!
Printer and appropriate paper for menus and place cards
*Don’t forget to print these things!
Flowers and vases
Lighter or matches
Inserts for votives or other candles
Table Settings (we recommend 1 or 2 extras of each, as things like slippery fingers or unexpected guests have been known to happen)
- Appetizer plates, cocktail napkins and or skewers for hors d’oeuvres
- Salad and dinner plates (which can be combined if necessary) and bowls, if your menu requires
- Salad fork, dinner fork, spoon and knife for each guest
- Water glasses
- Wine glasses
Serviceware, like platters, bowls, serving spoons, etc. depending on what your menu requires
Carafes for prebatched cocktails and water
Extra service spoons (in general, always helpful)
Enough chairs for all guests
Wine and bottle openers
Paper towels and cleaning supplies
Extra hangers for guest coats or bags
Additional linens, like placemats or table runner
Charger underneath dinner plate
Place cards holders, if you’d like to assign seats
Wine bucket and ice scooper
Hand sanitizer and face masks
It’s no fun to walk into a quiet party. We created a custom playlist for this curated evening (along with 2 other existing playlists from Spotify if you’re looking for a different vibe), to set the right tone.
10 DAYS BEFORE PARTY
Review the optional list of items to order and decide whether you’d like to purchase anything (Pay close attention to delivery dates, as supply chains may be interrupted)
Create your guest list, send digital invitations using our printables and consider any dietary needs of your guests
Ensure your guest list complies with local (COVID) gathering restrictions.
5 DAYS BEFORE PARTY
Ensure all of the items you ordered have arrived
Select the menu items you’d like to serve and review the cooking equipment and
suggested service / display
2 DAYS BEFORE PARTY
Ensure your speakers or music projection system is in working condition
DAY BEFORE PARTY
Tidy the kitchen, dining area and guest restroom
Ensure you have enough ice either premade or purchased
Prep anything from the menu that you’d like to avoid doing tomorrow
Check in with guests and confirm what time they’ll arrive
DAY OF CHECKLIST
It’s the big day! Below are our tips to help start your party in the best, least stressful way possible.
Open the windows and allow some fresh air into your home
If you haven’t already, ensure all beverages are chilling
Set the dining area with plates, napkins, glassware, flatware and stationery, along with any other optional items.
Create your floral arrangement.
Decorate the table with your floral and decor.
Run and empty your dishwasher – there’s nothing worse than having to do dishes with guests watching!
FOUR TO SIX HOURS BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE
Time to cook!
ONE HOUR BEFORE GUESTS ARRIVE
Finish any menu preparations
Light candles (don’t forget the restroom!) and ensure guest entrance areas are lit
Start the music
Take the chilled alcohol out of the fridge and ensure the first bottles of wine are opened
Take your hors d’oeuvres out of the fridge and set for guests
Snap a photo of your dinner table and tag #BluebirdinaBox on Facebook or Instagram for a chance to win a free party Box.
SAMPLE PARTY TIMELINE
6pm Guest arrival and cocktails begin
7pm Guests sit for dinner and First Course is served
7:30pm Main Course is served
8:15pm Dessert is served
8:45pm Evening continues with cocktails and conversation