Behind the Scenes: Dinner for 14 – The Day Of

Guests arrive in 65 minutes….I can’t wait to tell you all about prep today and the dinner!!! Stay tuned……..


OK, it’s Monday morning.  Yesterday was a day of complete and utter laziness.  I didn’t get out of my pajamas until 5:00 p.m.!  But it sure felt good…..


This morning I want to update you on the prep schedule for the day of the dinner and tell you about the dinner itself.  I’m sitting in my office with a cup of coffee, a glass of Naked Green Machine juice, a bottle of water (I don’t THINK I’m dehydrated, but maybe I am since I feel the need to have so many beverages on the desk) and a bowl of oatmeal.  There’s nothing like a filling, nourishing breakfast to get your day started right!


Saturday morning – the day of the dinner – started early – my eyes opened and my mind began spinning at 6:45 a.m.  By now I know myself well enough that I don’t even try to go back to sleep when my mind is spinning; so I got out of bed and started planning the day.  I consulted my schedule and began penciling more specific steps for each task.

The schedule called for:

  • Pick up chairs
  • Pick up dishes
  • Get a little extra sleep!!!!! Yeah!
  • Set table
  • Set appetizer buffet
  • Set dessert buffet
  • Set bar
  • Make filling and fill macaroons
  • Sweep floors just before everyone arrives
  • Spruce up powder room
  • Make rolls
  • Cook chicken
  • Put finishing touches on all food
  • Primp and pamper and perhaps take a cat nap

I added:

  • Finish cooking pork
  • Make Creme Anglaise for Tiramisu
  • Cut greens from pine trees for dining table, powder room, and buffet tables
  • Roll salami and cheese appetizers
  • Arrange food on serving platters
  • Heat Madeira wine sauce and ladle into gravy boats
  • Get coffee pot ready
  • Set coffee cups at end of bar
  • Definitely take a nap (I even went so far as to schedule the nap from 1:30 to 3:00 p.m. and then work the timeline backwards so I wouldn’t miss the nap)

Jeff woke up around 7:30 and we had a quick breakfast and set to work.  He started making the Creme Anglaise and I started making the filling for the macaroons.  Both were flopping, but we didn’t let that deter us.  Jeff started over and I just altered the recipe until the filling was the consistency I wanted – of course, I ended up with about 400 gallons of it (I see a chocolate peppermint trifle in our future)!!!!

It’s funny, Jeff and I have been entertaining since we were married many years ago (it will be 20 years in August 2013).  We have gotten significantly better at it!  We used to argue and fight and be harried all day and exhausted when our guests arrived; but now that we use a schedule and we work together instead of at odds, it’s much, much easier.

I love the day of an event….setting the table, tweaking the details, smelling the food… just fills my soul and releases my creative muse!  They say the devil is in the details; but to me, it’s not the devil – it is surely God!



By 1:30 I was ready for a nap – at least physically.  I lay down on my bed and tried to fall asleep; but I couldn’t stop myself from mentally going through the list and anticipating how the dinner would progress.  I realized that I had overlooked an important detail.  I didn’t plan any wine glass markers and people would be spending a lot of time uttering, “Is that my glass?”  So as I tried to nap, I was plotting how I could make wine glass markers that fit into the white and silver theme.  I wanted them to be festive, but not take a lot of time.  Because I was determined to lay quietly until 3:00.

I’m glad I persisted in napping, because I finally fell asleep and I know my body and brain needed rest.  But when I woke up, I hopped into the shower, dried my hair and then headed to my craft supplies to start on the wineglass markers.  I needed a little help with executing my idea, so I hollered for Jeff.  He came up to my office and was shaking his head….not surprised, but still amazed that the clock was ticking and I was just starting a new project.  He helped and we got them done in record time.  And they turned out to be a good conversation starter and an attractive way to keep glasses organized!

After the wine glass markers were complete, I finished getting myself ready and headed back to the kitchen.  Jeff hopped into the shower while I set the nibbles out on the appetizer table and just before the guests were set to arrive we had all the food heating and we each had a glass of wine in hand.  Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better, Jeff gave me a gift!  Now all I have to do is decide when I want to go to the Hygea Salt Room for a little rest and relaxation!!!!  Thanks, honey!!!!

Click here for more photos of Saturday’s preparations.  And stay tuned for a description of the dinner!


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