The perfect ending to a perfect day – DINNER ON THE DOCK is a lovely idea.
We hope our DINNER ON THE DOCK inspires you to take your next get-together outdoors. It’s all about creating a special evening where you and your guests get to really relax and enjoy a fabulous dinner outdoors.
As we set out to create our special evening, Carol and I had one overriding hope in mind – keep things simple. As you read this treatment and watch the attached video, remember that it need not be a complicated affair; repurpose your dock to accommodate the dinner, set your table using your favourite dinner service and prepare a delicious but uncomplicated meal.
Here are a few things that we incorporated into our plan with great success.
This idea started back in June when Carol and I were sitting on the dock at the end of a shoot day and she casually asked me, “Have you ever done dinner down here?’ Although I’ve had a quick, casual bite, I had never done a full sit-down dinner on the dock. I instantly knew this was a great idea – leave it to Carol to always keep me on my toes!
Although every dock is different, I suggest you begin by removing everything. I took away the chaise lounges, Muskoka chairs, side tables and planter boxes, plus the sun umbrella and stand. Removing everything from the dock was an “ah ha” moment for sure – suddenly I had a brand new room at the cottage, outdoors with no walls.
Setting up the dock for this dinner was super easy. I rolled out an extra carpet onto which I placed a spare coffee table topped with a slightly larger overlay of repurposed barn board. Setting up a low table like this, where guests actually sit on the carpet, is conducive to a very relaxed and casual feel. Of course, you can also recreate this idea using a portable dining table or a folding table and chairs.
Consider other items that can enhance the experience and add a nice touch – we included a basket with rolled cashmere blankets in case someone got chilly, a few lanterns for when the sun went down, a portable audio system and an ice bucket.
Setting the table was easy; I used some things I already had on-hand but augmented the table settings with a number of fabulous things found at HILL HOME in Toronto. Head to 371 Eglinton Avenue West to visit their store. We’re also happily following them on Instagram too and suggest you do the SAME!
We loved their VERA WANG marble motif dinner plates and glassware, their absolutely gorgeous linen placemats and napkins, and all the service pieces and accessories. It made it easy to give the table a casual feel that also felt chic and very current.
Carol and I decided to serve some of our favourite Weekend at the Cottage recipes from the past few months. We started the dinner with our CHILLED GAZPACHO SOUP which we made first thing in the morning, giving it lots of time for the flavours to mature.
Serving GRILLED BEEF TENDERLOIN as the main, partnered with GARLIC SMASHED POTATOES and GRILLED BABY ROMAINE SALAD, was an ideal choice as the recipes are so straightforward but remarkably flavourful.
Ending the meal with our PEACH PIE WITH CRUMBLE TOPPING was brilliant; we could not have been more satisfied or proud of the entire evening.
We often say a change of scenery is as good as a rest, and in terms of dinner party ideas, this proves it. Prepare delicious food, create a warm and inviting setting, and enjoy your meal with some dear, treasured friends. Then lay back and spend some quality time enjoying the evening sky with some stargazing. It’s a perfect ending to the perfect weekend at the cottage.
DINNER ON THE DOCK – it doesn’t get much better than this!
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