My apologies for the photo formatting.  I’m still trying to figure out why/how to place a group of pictures together without WordPress re-formatting the groupings AFTER it posts as it has below.  Arrrg!

Hubby and I, as parents of the groom-to-be, are planning an engagement party for our newly engaged son #2 and his lovely fiancé.


I thought since I’m thinking of little else, I’d share with you the steps I generally follow when planning a party larger than 10, which is the largest number of dinner guests my dining room table can comfortably seat, so usually we invite a few couples over and keep dinner simple.  This will be a little more involved if for no other reason than we expect a few less than 50 guests for hors d’oeuvres and libations in celebration of the engagement.

First we had to decide on a date.  I knew I wanted to host it while daylight savings time is still in place (giving us a bit more daylight into the evening) and didn’t want to interfere with Halloween weekend.  The date we selected is October 22nd and that gave me a little more than 1 month to get things done.  Phew! We also had to consider the availability of our groom and bride to be.

I’ve been to an engagement party for a dear friend’s son recently and decided to follow her lead with a cocktails  and (heavy) hors d’oeuvres menu. This made the details of the food more manageable for me.  I’ll be able to supplement the homemade appetizers with a few store bought favorites (thank you Costco and Trader Joes).  I will make sure most of the appetizers are mostly one-bite size and will use only cocktail napkins.  Reminder to self, have a few discreet trash cans available tucked in corners out of mainstream sight, to facilitate guests discarded napkins, picks and plastic glasses.

via Party Resources

After we had decided on a date I began our guest list.  We need to keep it to no more than 50 guests.  Our cottage has managed that number before and although it’s cozy with people, I think it could easily border on cramped once we go over that number.  I had to ask the happy couple for their list and then I began shopping invitations.  I wanted to try ordering invitations from one of the online sources (I’ve seen so many great looking invitations from a wide variety of online companies) and we all agreed on a style I found on Tiny Prints.  We’ve ordered the invitations and they will be here with about a week to address them  (in order to give folks a 3 week advance notice of the date of the party).

via Tiny Prints

I’ve lined up 2 servers, one young lady I work with and another that has served at events for another organization I belong to.  This is a bit of a luxury, but when it’s a cocktails and hors d’oeuvres, having help with final food prep and tray-passing is so nice.  It allows the hostess to enjoy the party!

The menu I’ve chosen will be fairly simple but will include several hors d’oeuvres that are substantive with chicken and beef, a variety of cheese based bites and some snacks that are tasty and easy to eat.  I want my guests to feel like they’ve had plenty to eat.

Cheese platter ~ {thank you, Julie!}

Teriyaki Flank Steak Skewers

Herb-marinated chicken tender skewers

Tapenade crostini

Salami bites

Feta with carmelized onion bites

Mushroom turnovers

Brandied sausages

Mixed nuts ~ Sourdough pretzels ~ Black pepper potato chips

Chardonnay ~ Cabernet Sauvignon



Pink Margaritas


Dessert (heart cookies) ~ {thank you, Glenys!}



These little bundles of joy are asparagus, arugula, baby greens salt and pepper wrapped with prosciutto.  I will toss the greens (lightly) in a vinaigrette before the wrap.  It’s a little salad wrap.








The meat ball recipe I use includes Jimmy Dean sausage links with a sweet sauce that envelopes each bite; brown the sausage and allow to simmer in a blackberry brandy, chili sauce, soy sauce and molasses.  {Email me if you’d like this recipe}.



The little salami bites are a recipe I found when visiting my friend on Bainbridge Island.  Fill each salami round with a spread of boursin herbed cheese and add a row of capers, roll and secure with a pick…super easy and very tasty.








I plan to use pumpkins and fall flowers on the dessert table, bar table and the kitchen island.  This time of year makes flowers and other table enhancements easy for me, it is certainly of the my favorite seasons.   We plan to have our Kooboo chairs out on the grass and we’ll push the patio table to one side to give the patio more room for guests that want to stand and visit.



I’ll try to  remember to take some pictures after we’ve set up for the event for a future post.





























I’ll have the patio table pushed to one side with a cloth and flowers and pumpkins.  The Kooboo chairs will be situated in the backyard in groupings, to encourage guests to mix and mingle.

We’ll have our French doors wide open to encourage movement with the guests.  You know how some parties bottle neck in one spot and you can’t get folks to move around?  I’m hoping to avoid that by setting the bar up in the atrium and having the USC game on in the family room and then with seating and standing space in the back yard we’ll hope for plenty of milling around, visiting and general good cheer.

I’ll move this furniture to the backyard as well and we’ll set the bar up here…folks can grab a beverage on their way in (the atrium is one the left side mid-way in the entry.

 This is so exciting!  I’d love to hear any last minute tips from you!