I’m excited to be partnering with Seven Daughters wine to bring you a series of posts in the coming months that revolve around my favorite subject: DIY. And today marks the first post in the series.
Much to my dismay, summer is almost over. But before we say goodbye to those long days in the sun, I thought it was only fitting to give this season one last farewell. While also giving a little shout out to the upcoming season. Kind of a transition party… Summer, meet fall. Fall, meet summer.
And what better way to do that than with a little dinner party. Right?
So, today I’m sharing my 7 DIY entertaining hacks for throwing a great dinner party, in partnership with Seven Daughters wine. Think DIY decor, clever custom touches, (super) quick recipes, and plenty of drinks. All with the summer to fall transition in mind. Sound good? Let’s jump in.
Here are 7 DIY entertaining hacks to get you through your next dinner party in style.
1. Make it Comfortable. I used an irregular size table for the party, which means my tablecloth hung quite low, over the chairs. To make things comfortable for guests when they sit down, I duct taped the tablecloth underneath to be the proper height (tucked up and away so guests can scoot their chairs in comfortably. Don’t worry! You can’t see the duct tape at all, its completely hidden. Ah, the power of duct tape.
Also, it might be a good idea to remove unnecessary / excess items from the table. Feel free to use the entire room, to keep things from feeling too crowded or overwhelming. I used a bar cart to keep appetizers handy (it’s on wheels, so I could roll it over to the table when necessary). And I kept desserts on display over on the buffet credenza to add to the decor.
2. Improvise. Use a large pattern blanket as a rug underneath the table at dinner for a pop of pattern that grounds the space. Bonus! After guests go home, you can pop the blanket into the washer and clean up any spills or stains from the party. It’s a lot easier than trying to clean an expensive rug (or floors with carpet).
3. Create a focal point with a simple centerpiece. Using fresh flowers or succulents, you can create a simple DIY centerpiece to add interest to the table, without being too formal. Use short vases and vessels from around the house or try this DIY concrete planter idea for something more modern and minimal. And don’t forget this tutorial for a simple fresh flower centerpiece as well, if you need some inspiration.
4. Quirky details. A few out of the box details are always memorable for guest. So, I made DIY edible name plates out of pie crust for each person. I used store bought pie crust (that you bake yourself), to make things easy, and cut out the letters with one inch alphabet cookie cutters. Pop them in the oven for a few minutes (these will cook fast because they’re so small) and add them to each place setting after they’ve cooled. Viola. Edible place cards. Yum.
I also added leftover pie crust letters to the tiny petit four treats that guests took home with them as a late night snack. Just leave a stack of glassine bags next to the tray and guests can take them on the go.
5. All about texture. I love incorporating different textures and textiles, so I used a simple linen tablecloth and contrasting DIY painted napkins. The grey napkins I wanted to use were a little too plain, so I painted stripes on them with white fabric paint to add interest. Each one has a slightly different pattern and I’ll reuse them again and again.
The knotted DIY garland that hung over the table adds a little bit of height and it’s a little playful. To get the look, just knot a long strand of thick yarn every 1-2 feet, and hang. Similar to the knotted garland DIY I made a while back.
6. Keep the menu easy. I like to do heavy appetizers and a lighter meal because it’s easier to prepare ahead of time and you can spend more time with guests, and less time in the kitchen. My go-to appetizer lately is a fig and honey goat cheese crostini. So good!
Just cut up a baguette into half inch slices and pop them in the oven at 350 for a few minutes (you want them to be toasty but not too hard). Wait for them to cool, add a soft goat cheese and a couple of figs and then a little bit of honey. This is a super easy one for guests to make themselves, right at the table, if you run out of time before people start arriving. Tip: If you don’t have a honeycomb stick, dip the handle of a spoon or fork into the jar instead. It works just as well.
I also created a DIY menu display, that I propped up on the buffet, next to a piece of art. I typed out all of the menu items and arranged them into a triangle. Then printed it, cut it out, and attached it to decorative paper that was then framed.
When it came time for dessert, there were a few choices…an apple layer cake (which was so good) and two mini pies. I decorated the cake with an edible DIY cake topper: champagne grapes and leftover figs. This is a super easy, and delicious, way to dress up a store-bought cake.
7. Plenty of drinks. I think the key to a good party is having lots of options in the food and drink category. I already touched on food, so as far as drinks are concerned, I like wine for a laid back meal with friends. Seven Daughters has a great selection, so I had all of their varietals available for guests. We mostly sipped on the Rich Red Winemaker’s Blend and Chardonnay.
Of course, it’s always a good idea to pair wines with the food menu. So, keep that in mind. Be sure to have non-alcoholic beverages as well, for those that don’t drink.
So those are my DIY dinner party hacks. Now that you’re prepared for your next get-together, here are a few more photos from the shoot…
What are some of your tips (or tricks) for entertaining? Any DIY hacks to share?
This post is in partnership with Seven Daughters Wine. Thank you for supporting the brands that make this site possible.