Hello, hope you had a wonderful and enjoyable holiday weekend. Though ours did not happen? as originally planned, we still had? a good time, dinner with friends, an impromptu dinner at our house w/friends,? a boat outing and managed to have some much needed down time at home which is always a treat.? I am,? as I have mentioned lately on top of many other things planning a family graduation dinner party for my son. We are doing it at home and with luck the weather gods will bless us with amazing weather, if I can custom order please let me put my order in now……..70, no humidity, bright blue skies,perfect sunset and no more than about 60 in the evening! I sometimes initially get anxious about planning parties (being very detail oriented can be a curse too)? but then when I surrender to all the work that is involved, I get very excited and cannot wait to begin the process of planning and it is indeed a process! So the “theme” is? a Tuscan night….I see bright pretty blue and yellow dinnerware on a white long table (for 50) with crisp white dinner napkins, votive candles flickering, lows clusters of sunflowers flanking the entire middle of the table, and a great big beautiful Tuscan inspired table brimming with all kinds of delicious and artfully prepared foods, soft music in the background, lots of laughter….this is all how I see it and with luck it will come to fruition! I am beginning to plan out the menu and have met with a caterer (after all I want to feel like a guest too) , so now? I am starting to work on the fun part….the decor! I am using my beautiful melamine dinnerware as an inspiration/starting point and am building from there. I don’t want it at all to feel stuffy but elegantly casual. So below a few of the elements as they are coming together, and you know I will be sharing the special day with you all! This is kind of how my process begins in planning out a party….. Party Inspiration When I begin planning any party, whether its for 10 or 80, I like to think of the vibe/decor/theme I am looking to create. Even if its a small dinner party, I am all about the details…..I always say the way something is presented is almost like receiving a beautiful present wrapped up magnificently. Even its a small bar of soap to see it wrapped up beautifully just enhances the gift in a big way. Ditto when you entertain, to enhance? what you hope will be wonderful food, the presentation is also very much part of the package and certainly creates a very special experience. These were some inspiration pictures I thought of when planning this graduation dinner, often I just pull a single idea from a picture as most of these are big scaled parties/events but something about me drew me in……. Love the idea of one very big long table….I am planning this idea as well This is a smaller version of what I hope to achieve, a beautiful elegant but inviting setting, This is great…love the idea of the rustic but elegant wood trivets as part of the serving pieces, beautiful! This is just stunning, it doesn’t feel stuffy or too formal but is certainly beautiful…love the flowers in the urn Another beautiful setting using wooden trivets This is such a great idea! I love the idea of champagne wine or any kind of drink for that matter displayed in a very large urn…have plenty of those:) Flowers I didn’t have to think of this detail for long…I knew I wanted bright big yellow sunflowers gracing the center of the table, I imagine maybe 20 vases with short packed clusters of them arranged down the center of the table. They are afterall to me, “summers flower” (with some competition of course from my good friend, the hydrangea) Table Settings I am thrilled to be using my beautiful melamine dinnerware from my online shop(had to order more) but they are perfect for this theme, and the colors are gorgeous. When you start pricing out rentals, they make these look like an investment that it would be silly not to make! Besides they set the theme beautifully and against crisp white linens, its a no brainer! Candlelight This is a must have, nothing says party and mood quite like the beautiful glow from candles. I am going to be using small? votives down the middle of the very long table surrounding the sunflowers, easy peasy. I found 48 of these rounded votives for about $30.00 at Save on Crafts, these are also great to have around in general. Linens When you want to set the mood and create an elegant vibe, linens are a must, paper just will not do. I have the most wonderful resource (soon to be added to my online shop) of really nice? quality oversized cotton/linen 22″ dinner napkins that come in about 30 colors. They are priced by the 6’s and honestly again make renting look like just a bad idea. I am going with white as you can never go wrong and these are just perfect! Special Serving Pieces Love my trivets that I carry in my online shop as part of my European Kitchen line, their things are truly exquisite, very heavy duty and built to last! They are as practical as they are beautiful to use as serving pieces. We are going to be using this idea for the buffet table and the large antipasta that will be set up for the cocktail hour. Love these……. Also got in some new pieces which I am very excited about….. So that is a wrap up of things so far and some insight into some of the planning and what goes into it. The food is something that we are working on but clearly a huge part of what is going on here. We are working on a wonderful but simple menu featuring the abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables available at this time. I love what we are planning so far…..and promise to share our special celebration with you when it happens! How about you? Planning any parties yourself? As always thanks for stopping in and seeing what’s new over here….wishing you a wonderful day and speak again soon! Also due to popular demand got another 140 of the gorgeous brass chargers, they are arriving today. Click here for all details. So if you? missed out on the last batch email me at email@example.com, at $6.00 a charger, they are going fast fast fast!