It’s our annual tribute to dining alfresco in cottage country – DINNER ON THE DOCK 2019 is inspired entertaining.
Sometimes a quick rethink about the way we do things can lead to extraordinary results. Such is the case with our nod to alfresco dining, our annual DINNER ON THE DOCK 2019, where we create a welcoming environment in an idyllic setting. Click HERE to read all about its popular debut last year.
Whether you stage your special occasion on a dock, deck, terrace, patio or simply a wide berth of lawn, expect to be amazed. Entertaining outdoors is always special, and hosting a party for your family and friends in a memorable setting guarantees a great time for all.
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Before I walk you through our DINNER ON THE DOCK 2019, I’d like to draw attention to a very special enhancement we made this year. We reached out to our dear friends at William Ashley China, who provided us with all of the gorgeous china, glass and silver used to produce this story. I’ll list the names of the various patterns we selected below, but head HERE to visit their website. They have the best of everything for your entertaining ideas.
Without further adieu, here are our key points to recreate DINNER ON THE DOCK 2019.
Preparing an outdoor space for a get-together like this often involves nothing more than the repositioning of furniture. In our case, it involved relocating deck chairs and replacing them with a proper dining table and chairs. If you need help with the heavy lifting when you go to recreate this idea, call in a friend to help (just make sure they’re also invited to the dinner!)
This year we decided to do a more formal setting so we needed to bring down a table and six chairs. The table was easy to move and fit the bill perfectly when I added the leaves, expanding out to seat six comfortably. I used my pressback chairs from the sunroom – again, easy to cart down to the dock.
Additional enhancements included four large lanterns, one for each corner of the dock, to add ambient lighting. I also placed out a simple console table to one side to use as a beverage station. Setting up a table like this with back-up beverages and serviceware means fewer trips to the cottage mid-meal – a great idea.
Although we often place out woven or fabric placemats for summer entertaining, I like the look and feel of a linen tablecloth and matching napkins. This gives the table a plush feel and reduces noise when cutlery and glassware are being used. Consider adding a clipping of fern fronds or some other garden greens to each napkin as we did. It adds a pop of colour and the fresh greens work with our outdoor theme.
The table was set with china, glass and silver, all available through William Ashley China. The striking blue-toned china is from Royal Crown Derby Art Glaze Dinnerware and we used two patterns: Pressed Mulberry and Candied Sky. I love the way the various pieces played off the colour of the sky reflected off of the lake – stunning.
GLASSES & FLATWARE
The glassware is modern, simple and chic – William Ashley Prestige – used for red, white and water. I also fell in love with the coupe glasses from this collection, used first for our BLUEBERRY SPARKLE cocktail served from the LSA Rum Jug and Stirrer. Those same glasses then doubled as dessert bowls. Glasses that work for two purposes? Always a great idea!
The flatware also fit our sleek and modern style – silver-plated Linea Q by Sambonet. It has a nice weight and the elongated shape is tasteful and very chic.
The final few details on the table are all about light and colour. Pillar candles covered with glass bell-domed covers that stay lit even with a gusty breeze – nice! I then paired the lanterns with simple florals of pale blue hydrangea blossoms from my garden. The look is simple and elegant.
The menu for this year’s DINNER ON THE DOCK is all about “less is more” – less time in the kitchen, more time down at the dock with guests. We started with our SIMPLE SALAD paired with our SKILLET CORNBREAD RECIPE, with the butter for the cornbread served at room temperature in a small nappy in the Candied Sky china pattern.
Main course is our FILET MIGNON WITH LOBSTER AND SAUCE BÉARNAISE served with our HASSELBACK POTATOES and oven-blistered tomatoes. I’ve made this meal a number of times since and it always gets rave reviews, it’s so completely and utterly delicious. I also like how easy it is to coordinate and serve.
DID SOMEONE SAY DESSERT?
Dessert for this year’s dinner is ANNA OLSON’S OVEN BAKED S’MORES. If you haven’t made them yet, well, you just gotta! Something about the way Anna reworked this quintessential cottage campfire treat into something so fabulously decadent. Serving it in elegant coupe glasses with silver spoons as we did – well that’s just an upscale way of rounding our the perfect menu for an evening alfresco such as this. Perfect!
Hopefully, you’re now inspired to host your own DINNER ON THE DOCK. With a bit of planning and perhaps a bit of help from your friends we know you’ll have great success.