The temperatures are starting to drop below triple digits in Arizona and what better way to celebrate the break in heat than with an Outdoor Dinner Party to Welcome Fall. Each year the changing of the seasons reminds me how quickly time passes amidst the chaos of our everyday lives. It's in these moments I realize the importance to pause amongst those we love and focus on how much richer our lives are with them in it. I wanted this dinner to be a celebration to welcome fall and celebrate the friendship of the people gathered around my table.
I have the Bing App on my phone that made it easy to search for dinner party ideas while earning free stuff through the Bing rewards program. You can read more about how I was inspired on my Outdoor Dinner Party Inspiration Post.
To create an Autumn table scape, I chose to use rustic woodland owls and a color palette of warm fall colors. In order to achieve an intimate dinner party vibe I used a mix of candles and lanterns on the table to provide a soft glow.
I added warmth with Espresso Rattan Charger and I brought in fall colors with linens that I layered with Reed & Barton Cole Flatware. I gathered my flatware with jute string for an additional rustic touch.
For place cards I chose small chalkboards and stained the frame to match the espresso chargers. I wrote my guests names in chalk and set them next to the woodland owls.
In my backyard I have a block wall that was completely bare and an eyesore. I wanted to turn it into a focal wall, but the problem was the wall gets zero sun. So I was limited in my options.
I was inspired to build a shelf that I could switch the decor depending upon the occasion. Once the shelf was built, I was ready to accessorize. The main piece I wanted for the shelf was a chalkboard so I could make chalk art and change it depending on the theme of the season or party. However, I wanted the chalkboard to be large and the problem with that is cost…. so I figured out (with a little help from my husband) how to make it. This is the result and I'm pretty excited with how it turned out.
The chalk art was trial and error and I'm not going to lie -- it was labor intensive, but I've figured out a way to make it simple for you. I will share a pdf. that you can upload to make your own chalk art just like mine. I love the sentiment and personal touch the chalk board adds to the overall look of the shelf. It makes all of the time and effort spent on this project worthwhile. Finally, I completed the shelf by framing the chalkboard with the lanterns and succulents on each side. I look forward to sharing this set of DIY projects with you in an upcoming post.
One of my favorite things about the party was the lighting. We strung Edison String Lights on a wire system we created prior to the party. The lights hung overhead like a canopy above the table and created the perfect ambiance for conversation.
In the weeks leading up to the party, Arizona, was hit with the "Storm of the Century". Phoenix received more rainfall in one day (5.5 inches) than we normally do in an entire year. In fact, the mayor declared the city to be in a statewide emergency. On the day of the party we woke up to beautiful sunny skies, but by the afternoon the rain had started to fall. We had already started cooking so we continued with plans for the party. We knew that we were going to have to be flexible and hope for the best.
It didn't just rain, it was a torrential downpour. Hurricane winds….raining sideways... yep in Phoenix…. turns out the night of the dinner party… Arizona was hit with the "second worst of the century".
The rain continued with brief interludes of rest. I set up the table hoping that the rain was finished for the night only to be disappointed moments later when it started again. Lucky for me my guests and close friends helped me move the table from the patio to under the covered porch.
I worked with Geneva, from Geneva's Hand-Me-Down Kitchen to plan the menu for the night.
We wanted a traditional meal that would appeal to all of our guests and represent the flavors of fall.
For our appetizer we chose Goat cheese, Figs and Prosciutto Crostini. Figs are just starting to be in season in Arizona and the sweetness of figs pairs perfectly with the saltiness of the prosciutto.
For the main course we decided to do a Balsamic Roasted Filet. Green Beans with almonds and Roasted Potatoes. Roasted Filet is a always a crowd pleaser and this one was no different, the perfect seasoning that didn't distract from the taste and tenderness of the beautiful cut of meat. Green Beans are a humble side, but were jazzed up with bacon and almonds.
The perfect pairing for beef is potatoes. We chose a trio of baby red, purple, and yukon gold potatoes. They were roasted to perfection with a slight crust on the outside and creamy on the inside. Geneva used the same herbs on both the beef and potatoes to carry the flavors throughout the entire plate.
There is no better dessert to represent the flavors of fall than apple crisp. Honey crisp apples are in season now and they have the perfect balance of sweet and tart. Crunchy oat topping and vanilla ice cream were all this dessert needed.
Each component paired together beautifully for the perfect fall dinner. Our guests raved about the meal, every plate was cleared, with requests for seconds (and thirds). I was secretly hoping for leftovers, but to my dismay there was nothing. Only requests for recipes!
In the upcoming weeks -- Geneva will guest post on the blog and share some of her secrets and recipes from the night of the diner party!
Despite the battle with the weather the dinner party was a success. The most important part of the evening was the people who surrounded the table and the memories that were made.
A big thank you to Wayfair.com and Bing for your partnership and making this evening possible. It was a fabulous dinner party and one that we will repeat again soon!