Monday, June 4

Italian Dinner Party

My son and his girlfriend Jennica
Italian (Birthday) Dinner Party In Our Barn
My son’s girlfriend Jennica’s birthday was coming up in June, so she asked me if we could have a party in our barn. We hashed over a few ideas, and came up with an Italian Dinner Party theme.

We searched the web for ideas, decorations and food because although I have had people over for dinner, and hosted larger Christmas and Thanksgiving dinners, I have not had a semi-formal dinner party in a barn!
Jennica and I decided to keep it simple: Appetizers, wine, salad, garlic bread, the main dish and desserts.

Please keep in mind this party can also be in your backyard under a shade tree, on the patio or even indoors!
Jennica started out with an invitation list of 16, enlarged it to 20 and ended up with 18 guests for dinner.

She also wanted an after dinner party bonfire for friends who couldn't make it to the dinner.
I used clip art to make the invitations, printed them, then cut them out and glued  onto scrapbooking paper of a green and red print.

Because Jennica is only home from college on the weekends, I was left to my own devices to come up with more party ideas, be them good or bad! 

I decided to use actual china or stoneware dishes, but not my own. Having the dinner party in the barn did not sound good for my dinner plate's health. And I could not expect a bunch of 20 something college students not to break one or two.
We searched second hand stores and yard sales and were able to find 25 plus white china plates of various patterns, but all white and mismatched silverware and wine glasses for the needed amount of table settings .  The total cost for all was under $25.00.

Tables all set and ready for dinner
I wanted to add a romantic feel to the dinner party, because it’s my son’s girlfriend and he was going to give her a promise ring for her birthday.
 (She didn't know about it).
I decided to hang Christmas lights from the rafters, which along with the candles gave the barn a warm glow.

Just a note here: We do not ever allow fire or smoking in our barn, just too much risk since we have straw and hay stored in one stall.
So if you decide to do this, make sure the candles are in fire safe containers and well away from children!
(I know, danger issues)

Italian Barn Party!
Staying with “easy” ideas, we decided on these three appetizers:
Cucumber sandwiches, which are amazing,
Bite-size garlic bread and
Olive/cheese/tomato bites.
These appetizers are extremely easy to make, delicious and look great!

For the garlic bread, after baking, I cut the loafs into small pieces and arranged on a serving dish, which was covered with a red and white cloth.

The olive /cheese/tomato bites were a breeze for Jennica to make:
Just slide a small cube of cheese, a slice of pepperoni and an olive or tomato onto a party toothpick, viola!

We used mozzarella and cheddar cheese, black and green olives, cherry tomatoes and prepackaged slices of pepperoni, and mixed them up.

Recipe for Cucumber Sandwiches


Sliced cucumbers (leave skins on)
1 package Softened Cream cheese
1 package powdered Italian dressing mix
About 1 Tablespoon Milk
Party-sized pumpernickel bread
Dried dill

Directions:  Soften cream cheese to room temperature. Mix in salad dressing mix and enough milk to make the cheese spreadable. Spread on bread, top with sliced cucumber. Sprinkle with dill.
*The taste of these will surprise you, even if you're not particularly fond of cucumbers. Because they have more of a pickle - cream cheese flavor than cucumber flavor.


The mustaches were a hit!

I wanted a little fun added to the party, so again searched the web for ideas.
I came across this website; Poofy Cheeks, and directions on how to make Mario Mustaches.
What a hit these were!
To make, I folded black scrapbooking paper in half and cut out 2 mustaches at the same time, then glued them back to back onto a popsicle stick. (Poofy Cheeks directions are much better than mine).
These don’t have to be perfect, no one will notice if their uneven, (as I found out), because they’re having too much fun with them!

Toss Salads

For the table decorations: We covered the tables with white tablecloths, then used red and white checkered material from the fabric store to add the Italian feel.

Table decorations

Spaghetti with meat sauce and salad
Decorations on the tables included clumps of grapes, basil and oregano plants I purchased from Home Depot and re-potted, vases of fresh flowers, candles, large glass jars full of dried pasta noodles and jars full of bread sticks, clusters of tomatoes, chilled bottles of Ohio’s Mon Ami wine and Mario mustaches for all.

Dinner was Spaghetti with  meat sauce, toss salads and garlic bread. 

For salads, I cut up lettuce, used packaged shredded vegetables and cherry tomatoes cut in half. I think dressing is the key to a great salad so: Olive Garden’s Salad Dressing supplied by Jennica’s grandmother.

We set up our Camp Chef Grill in the barn to boil the noodles when it was time to eat.

Brownies w/ powdered sugar & strawberries

For dessert there was a selection of:
Homemade Blackberry Cobbler, (one of our favorites) Italian Cream Cake and Double Chocolate Dessert with Strawberries, although I don't think any of the chocolate dessert made it pass dinner.

After dinner more of Jennica and Daniel’s friends arrived to enjoy music, we moved tables for dancing and ended the party late in the night roasting hot dogs and marshmallows over the campfire.

Jennica is already talking about having a 4th of July party!

It's lots of fun having a themed party!


More ideas for hosting an Italian Dinner Party:

Homemade Italian Meatball recipe

Toinette's Homemade Limoncello

Growing your own garlic

Hosting an Old Fashion Dinner Party

The kids having fun helping with decorations
Even the doggies got in on the fun!


Dana Koogler said...

What a marvelous idea! Thanks for sharing it. Simple elegance!

Kelsey Poofy Cheeks said...

Awesome!! We used to own a barn in the country and have bonfires - I really miss those days! Looks like everything turned out perfect. I'm sharing on my FB page :)

Jennifer Gibson said...

Love it! It looks like great fun!

Kim said...

Hi Elizabeth! I have been stopping by and stopping by but every time I go to leave a comment someone or something interrupts me. lol Love everything you did for your son's girlfriend's party! The decorations look fantastic and so does the food. Made my tummy rumble. Have a great weekend!

Jennica Haller said...

Hi Elizabeth I Finally checked out your blog and I must say I am very impressed although I know that everything you do turns out to be amazing keep doing what you do best.....everything lol Love you xoxoxoxox.


Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks for the encouraging comments everyone! Much appreciated,

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Jennica, with great comments like that you're going to make a wonderful daughter-in-law, : 0 )
Love you, Elizabeth

Kelly Hunt said...

So beautiful!

Anonymous said...

Very nice article, exactly what I wanted to find.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks, glad it helped

Anonymous said...

Hi! Do you use Twitter? I'd like to follow you if that would be ok. I'm undoubtedly enjoying your blog and look forward to new updates!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Sorry, no I do not use Twitter, suppose I should? And thanks, glad you're following

Anonymous said...

Before the internet and google search, I would have had to hire a party planner. Fortunately, thanks to finding blogs like this one and others, I don't have to. Great ideas for an Italian dinner party, just what we were looking for for our party!

Anonymous said...

This post is remarkably helpful and supportive for me to have a dinner party. Very useful, thanks

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

I had to just wing it when I threw this Italian Dinner Party so I'm glad my experience helped make your party planning a little easier! Ciao

Anonymous said...

Excellent write-up. I definitely appreciate your website, lots of ideas I can use. Stick with it!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thanks, I'm happy my blog helped in some way! Stop back often if you can and thanks for the comment.

Anonymous said...

I feel that this is so much important info for me. And I'm happy found and am reading your article. The website style is ideal and the article is excellent with so many ideas for a dinner party. Will give it a try! : D

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

That's great! Hope your party turns out fantastic and it's lots of fun!

Anonymous said...

Hi there I'm Kevin, and this is my first time to commenting anyplace. I just wanted to say when I read this post I thought to myself I could recreate this dinner party! Just love the ideas and photos, really helps a lot. Thanks for a cool idea!

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Wonderful, glad this post has inspired you! Let me know how it goes.

Anonymous said...

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Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Thank you! Glad some of the information is useful!

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Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...


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