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Casual Dinner Party

Can something like a loaf of fresh crusty French bread
paired with wedges of delicious cheeses
and a glass of red wine 

make the evening last just a bit longer?

Can it inspire stories and laughter and lingering at the table 
a bit longer in the evening?

The other night I hosted a casual evening get together 
with a couple of girlfriends.

We laughed
we talked about how much our kids have changed over the years
and how much we have changed over the years

and how much we are all so much the same.

We spent the evening reconnecting
telling stories, chatting about this and that and everything
and of course- there was  all.that.laughter
that kept us at the table late into the evening.

It was so much fun and every time we get together
we wonder why we don't do it more often.

I managed to snap a few quick photos about 5 minutes before they started arriving
For me - a casual dinner table setting is perfect. Something that welcomes your guests to sit and enjoy themselves
That isn't so formal that it makes them feel uncomfortable
 but is pretty and elegant enough to make them feel special.
A setting that invites them to relax and enjoy a special evening with friends.
This setting was  just a simple table outdoors on the patio
I brought out the gorgeous Vintage Lace place settings and Alexandra stemware (Mikasa) for a bit of elegance
and antique inspired flatware that is mixed and matched like it has been collected over the years
for a touch of charm.

For the September inspired centerpiece- I wanted something inspired by the little bit of the Fall in the air
while enjoying the Indian Summer weather that we have into October.
So it was a little of this and that- several mis-matched vintage creamers filled with roses & wildflowers
 a few little white pumpkins and a glow of petite candles
all marched down the center of the table

It was a warm evening that definitely invited us to stay outside a little longer
and enjoy the crickets chirping, the twinkling of the stars and the glow of the 'Griswolds' 
 (what we call the strings of lights on the pergola- think Christmas Vacation and Clark Griswold)
while we chatted

I always love getting together for an evening with friends
and especially when it's casual and inviting with nothing on the 'menu' but 
good friends, good food and lots of laughs

It certainly seems like it doesn't happen often enough
but is always so much fun and I am already planning next one!

Hope your week is off to a great start!


  1. Ahhh, this is absolutely fabulous!!! I wish I could sit down and try some of that delicious cheeeeese! :-)

  2. Your centerpiece is wonderful! Love the pretty vases strewn along the middle.

  3. Your table setting is really pretty. I can't think of a more evening.

  4. I like the cheese/bread platter. Looks yummy too. You know when we all visit and see this, we want to join you. xoxo,Susie

  5. I would certainly feel special as a guest at that table. Casual and elegant!

  6. Would love to know what you served at your casual dinner :-) Not that I couldn't live on cheese, baguette and red wine, I could....but curious about the other dishes! This is so very 'casual' is a lot more casual than yours!! Your casual is my 'fancy' ;-)

  7. Everything is perfect. What a wonderful way to spend time with your friends, eating, drinking and talking. The cheese and bread platter looks so yummy. So glad that you had a terrific evening with friends.

  8. Simple, great food always tastes the best paired with a wonderful bottle of wine! You can't go wrong. Looks like you had a wonderful time!

  9. Oh how beautiful and elegant. I bet the wine and cheese were delicious..and oh the bread, I would eat the entire loaf.

  10. Those pictures are absolutely stunning, sure makes me wish I could have joined you - what a wonderful gathering! Only thing missing are the grapes! : - )

  11. What a beautiful evening. You have some lucky friends to be invited to such a beautiful home. Again, everything looks like a fairytale! I enjoy your blog so very much. Never stop showing us all the beauty in your life.

  12. Courtney,
    I had a luncheon inviting my MomILaw and her dear friends, who are also dear friends of mine, for their birthdays. It was such fun! most of them are in their 80s or 90s, and we just had a wonderful time visiting and eating...I want to do that with my friends now too! thanks for the reminder of how much fun it was! September is a good month for reconnecting like the kids do when they are returning to school.

  13. I love the soft pinks with the white pumpkins. Delicious together!-aimee

  14. I love the soft pinks with the white of the pumpkins. Delicious together. -aimee